All of us in Optometry are mostly concerned about medical inclusion! We do however need to have a competitive vision care practice too as this may be KEY to medical inclusion!
We very often forget this fact! When I was at the Florida IECP conference and ever since, I heard the comment that we ODs had ONE ADVANTAGE that could make us invaluable to ACOs. That advantage is that we can draw HEALTHY Americans into our office on a regular basis. They don’t come for pathology, they come for “Blurred Vision” and because we can look at the retina and take a good history, we can identify early signs of systemic pathology. The MDs never get to see these people and they cannot provide preventive care if they don’t see them!
Now remember, this is because we sell glasses (and contacts) and can be competitive! VCD Labs, by keeping us competitive, not only helps fund IECP to keep us all together and growing but it keeps us in the vision game so we CAN be in the Medical Game!
It is a NEW ERA! The game has changed the rules have changed! We still don’t know how to play. I don’t think anyone does! However, we know how to build roadways based on potential traffic needs. The commuters are age 15 –> 45 who never see PCPs unless they are dying! Optometrists have to have a dream! We have to take a risk! We have to go in some direction based on a good “gut feeling” or else be led by someone who makes all the profits by abusing us yet again.
If preventive care is good for patients, than it is good for optometery. Dr Hom says that for every year a pre-diabetic keeps of 10% of their body weight loss, they saved an ACO $30,000! What if he is right? The biggest risk pool is the O-B-E-S-E kids coming out of school and the adults who are getting there with their kids. We can capture them by caring for blurred vision! How we turn this into the ACO connection, that is yet to be created. On the other hand, sitting there and waiting means you will be an employee.
If you build the fields of dreams, the players will come! We know how to build the road! It has been done in Long Island and elsewhere to support Laser Centers. Lets do it now for Medical Inclusion, and sell lots of glasses, Just as Ami Does, to get the medical patients into our offices!