Malpractice management

Congratulations to OM and to Dr. Sherman on the new department, Malpractice Management. Optometrists sorely need this information, but because it falls under the practice management category at continuing education (CE) meetings, these courses are poorly attended.

As CE director for the annual SECO meeting, I regret that more practitioners don’t take advantage of this kind of information. Dr. Sherman has a great deal of experience in reviewing cases, and I look forward to future editions. My only caveat to practicing O.D.s is that “the standard of care” for any entity isn’t what Dr. Sherman, or myself, says it is, but what’s actually practiced in your community. Keep up the good work.

Kirk L. Smick, O.D., P.C., F.A.A.O.

Chairman, Continuing Education,

SECO International

Our own worst enemy?

Dr. Kattouf (“Attracting More Private-Pay Patients,” August 2001, page 28) and Dr. Gerber (Letters, October 2001, page 8) missed another reason why O.D.s are self-defeating. They continue to prescribe lenses from companies that make their products available to online suppliers and diverters.

There’s also a lack of enforcement against online suppliers who fill orders without valid prescriptions or with whatever lens they have in stock. What practitioner doesn’t have a horror story like this?

I believe that Arizona, the state in which I practice, requires these “businesses” to obtain a license. If state boards watched and regulated businesses as closely as they do practitioners, all they’d have to do is enforce legislation to require that business licenses be revoked or denied after a certain number of violations.

Some of us have relied on a few companies that stipulate and enforce policies against diverters. We should all support them. Nothing will get the attention of the other companies as quickly as loss of revenue from suspended or revoked business licenses as we begin ordering from companies that have us as their main interest.

Next time you receive a phone call asking you to donate money to a political action committee or a candidate, insist that the caller pressure state legislators and associations to end prescribing by mail-order houses.

Nothing gets the attention of candidates, legislators and state associations as quickly as decreased funding.

John L. Hill, O.D.

Tucson, Ariz.

Giving back to the community

I compliment you on October’s compassionate and well-written Viewpoint about coming to terms with the events of September 11 th.

Last year, I became the first general chairman of Rotary International’s Avoidable Blindness Task Force under president Frank Devlyn of Mexico’s Devlyn Optical. The task force distributes information on avoidable blindness and helps put those who need resources in touch with those who have them.

Frank set a goal of 1,000 new projects. We finished the year with 1,100 Matching Grants through the Rotary Foundation. We did 77,000 cataract surgeries, provided glasses for the needy around the world, carried out programs for trachoma and river blindness in Africa, and many other programs.

I appreciate the great job you do.

O. Doyle Dannenberg,

O.D., Escondido, Calif

Private-pay patients

Dr. Gerber (Letters, October 2001, page 8) wrote that the numberone reason why private O.D.s see fewer privatepay patients than commercial O.D.s is because they allow it to happen by accepting more insurance.

All of the other healthcare providers also accept insurance. It’s here to stay. It’s true that if you’re not on the plan, you won’t get the patient. I know of many unprofitable doctors who say that they won’t accept insurance.

Seeing five private-pay patients per week isn’t profitable. Thinking that an optometrist can make a living today taking private-pay patients is unrealistic. I don’t participate in one plan in my area, and even though the patients insured by that plan like me and my services, they don’t choose me as their doctor.

Ken Bova, O.D., Uniontown, Pa.

How to Reach Us

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Mail: Letters, Optometric Management 1300 Virginia Drive, Suite 400 Ft. Washington, Pa. 19034

Fax: (215) 643-3902 or e-mail: om@boucherl.com.

Copyright Boucher Communications, Inc. Dec 2001

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