Being an Open Access provider

Finding the Courage: A Road Less Traveled By

The inherent conflict between running a private eye care practice and working with vision plans is well-documented, but what options do you have as a provider when you want to fight back?
Published 6.3.2024

Imagine you're out for a walk and you encounter a fork in the path; one path is muddy and the other is covered in a dense fog. The muddy path is hard to traverse and it feels like moving a mountain with every step. But it's a familiar path, one you've been on for years or even decades. You're used to the mud and used to being covered in it. The foggy path is unkown to you, you cannot see more than a foot in any direction once you step into it. But you've heard tales of adventure, of peace, and of success just on the other side of that fog.

When given this choice, most people would reluctantly choose to continue treading the familiar, albeit muddy path. It's impossible to know for sure what's on the other side of the fog, whether tremendous success or a setback.

Think of struggling through the mud as working with vision plans: it can be an enormous challenge, but many ODs decide that sticking with what they know and understand is a better option than trying to find a brighter future and getting lost along the way. What you may not realize, though, is that this isn’t uncharted territory, many ECPs have followed a logical series of steps to find success without vision plans, and it’s accessible to anyone brave enough to take a step outside of their comfort zone.

Clearing the obstacles

“Working with managed care is the only way I get new patients,” is a common refrain from ECPs that don’t realize that they have options.
While many ODs do rely on the patient volume and new revenue that insurance companies bring to their practice to keep their practice running; it's important to remember that those Vision Care Plans also own competitors to your business and patients are just as likely to be routed to those instead. These patients also represent more work for practices trying to squeeze more appointments into tighter windows of time, all while the insurance companies wield more and more control over the supply chains and margins.

It's no secret that most ODs feel like accepting vision plans is a necessary evil in today’s eye care marketplace, but is it really?

Working with vision plans represents a reliable, steady flow of patients and the prospect of life without that assurance and the work it will take to make the change can be scary. It’s okay to acknowledge that fear. But stop and think about what not making this change to your practice represents instead: see more patients, hire more staff, work harder than ever to make less than ever per patient.

There is a better way.

Stepping into the Unknown

As you walk through the fog, you’ll realize that the path is still under your feet and you can see further than you had initially thought. Sunlight begins to peek through, helping you see more and more of your surroundings. Everything gets a little greener as you begin to see your goals get to within reach. Your anticipation begins to build as you’re about to join your colleagues already enjoying their new lives without vision plan dependance weighing them down. Real practices have already achieved what may have seemed impossible once upon a time.

A New Day at East Main Vision Clinic

Located in Pullayup, WA, Dr. Joseph Day found that the restrictions set upon his practice by managed care providers caused him to lose around $170,000 of revenue in a single year. This is not uncommon for providers, but it offers no consolation to a practice bringing in more and more patients every year to fight declining reimbursements and restrictive fee schedules, spending less and less time with each patient and still seeing their revenue stagnate.

Faced with an unpleasant realization that unless they made a change, things were going to get worse and worse for his practice, Dr. Day and his team started to envision a world where the practice would be free of vision plans. With the help of Anagram, they radically reinvented their care model and the way they communicate with their patients, spending more time on every exam and helping patients submit their own claims as needed.

The result? East Main Vision Clinic’s revenue per exam increased by 20% in the year saying their goodbyes to managed care.

A sweet stroll at Eye Candy Optical

Dr. Kandi Moller, owner of Eye Candy Optical in Gig Harbor, WA, thought she had already figured out how to run her practice on her terms after leaving a career in corporate optometry, until she realized that working with vision plans greatly inhibited her freedom.

She began to understand that true freedom meant taking a more drastic step: Turning her back on managed care and seeking a specialty that increased her revenue per patient and created a new source of appointment volume. She unlocked her new future with the NeuroVisual Medicine Institute (NVMI). NVMI provided her training, resources, and support in identifying patients with binocular vision dysfunction (BVD) — a condition an estimated 20% of the population suffers from — and helping manage their symptoms using therapeutic microprism technology.

After just one year after starting with NVMI, Dr. Moller’s new specialty has netted her a 300% increase in per-exam revenue.

Lighting the Way: Your Partners in Practice Freedom

While Dr. Day used Anagram to help build a better practice for himself and his team and Dr. Moller used the training plans and practice resources made available by NVMI, they have something in common: They both relied on proven systems established by reliable partners to follow a path to a better practice model that served their patients and their businesses better. They had a treacherous road to follow, made easier with support and partnership.

The lesson? The choice to move on from vision plans isn’t like walking into the unknown at all; you’re not alone, there’s a path to follow, there are partners who want to help you down the path, and most importantly of all: it can yield incredible benefits for those who walk this road.

What Stands Between You and a Brighter Future?

Fear of trying something new, of leaving your comfort zone, departing from the only model that many ECPs know — it’s okay to feel uneasy when you’re considering making a dramatic change. But pioneers like Dr. Moller, Dr. Day, and you don’t allow themselves to be limited by fear; they set down a new model, one that puts practitioners back in control of their fortunes.

Click here to learn more about NVMI

Matt Rosner
Matt Rosner, Director of Growth | Neurovisual Medicine Institute
Matt Rosner leads the global adoption of advanced binocular vision treatment with microprism lenses through the NeuroVisual Medicine Institute. He helps optometry practices differentiate themselves, reduce reliance on vision insurance, and attract new specialty patients. Matt's collaborative approach empowers optometrists and practice owners to achieve greater clinical satisfaction and financial success.

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