It’s not your fault

April 2, 2014

The day before SECO in Atlanta, Chief Optometric Editor Ernie Bowling joined me to sit in on Allergan’s Pathways in Medical Optometry Boot Camp.

The day before SECO in Atlanta, Chief Optometric Editor Ernie Bowling joined me to sit in on Allergan’s Pathways in Medical Optometry Boot Camp.

Speakers John Rumpakis and Scot Morris discussed the differences between medical and vision plans, how to bill to both types of plans, what to expect with ICD-10 changes (now that’s not as urgent, given Congress’s vote to push back until 2015-see our cover story), and more. Drs. Rumpakis and Morris encouraged attendees to visualize what they wanted their practices to look like in 5, 10, or 20 years as well look at their practices through their patients’ eyes.

There were plenty of nuggets delivered. See our Twitter feed for these pithy words of wisdom- I managed to tweet 90 times during the day-long presentation!

But by far the biggest takeaway for me was this: It’s not your fault.

The patient’s vision care insurance pre-paid discount changed? It’s not your fault.

The reimbursement structure for that plan changed? It’s not your fault.

The antibiotic/glaucoma/rewetting drop didn’t work as you’d hoped? It’s not your fault.

As a group, optometrists can be too quick to jump on the grenade, with their practices taking the fallout. ODs are in a hurry to accept perhaps not blame but responsibility when it really isn’t theirs to assume. Does your cardiologist offer to cover the cost of the second hypertension med when the first one didn’t move the needle? I’m betting not.

As Dr. Rumpakis shared, optometrists are the lowest-priced providers of eye care and are deathly afraid of charging for their own services. The average optometrist charges 80% of Medicare while the average ophthalmologist charge 250%.

I’ve often wondered why this thinking pervades the profession. I have some theories of my own, but I’d love to hear yours. E-mail me at gbailey@advanstar.com.ODT