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7 Fundamentals of Effective Merchandising

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7 Fundamentals of Effective Merchandising

PECAA_Portraits-020The holiday shopping season is already in full swing and now is the time to take a look at your practice’s optical department and make sure it’s designed to attract customers and maximize sales. PECAA’s own retail and merchandising expert, Doug Martin, discusses how you can easily create a beautiful and functional retail environment that will keep your patients coming back. Plus, learn the seven fundamentals of effective merchandising – a list of simple techniques that you can implement in your own practice right away.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

First impressions are everything and you only have one shot at making a positive impact. To ensure you are capturing your customer’s attention, for the right reasons, from the very beginning, there are several things you can do:

Exterior & Interior: Show me what you do – When someone drives by your office, it should be clear what type of business you are and what you sell. You can easily attract people to your practice with branded window images and clings. Many of the vendors you work with offer these types of marketing materials at no additional cost. Take advantage your window space facing the road or high traffic areas to clearly communicate what you have to offer inside. Keep their impression positive once they enter by having a clean and inviting front desk and waiting area.

Differentiate: Tell me what you do – The overall practice environment and optical displays are extensions of your brand, so they must clearly communicate the message about your practice. Is it luxurious? Value-oriented? Full service? Unique? Make sure your customers know the answer when they walk through the door. Again, you can use branded marketing materials in your optical department or in your waiting area to tell the story. Your optical displays are key in communicating your brand and it’s important to put a lot of thought and planning into your merchandising, guided by the question, “What does this say to my customers?” A good display tells a story, stops the customer’s eye and gets them to interact with the frames. Use tools like fixtures, lights, props, signage, point-of-purchase materials to guide them in.

People make decisions intellectually, but buy emotionally.

It’s important to tell a story of why a particular frame makes sense for the individual customer. If you talk to your customer about why they need something not just what they need, they will be more likely to make a purchase based on an emotional response instead of a practical one. You can also use your practice’s brand to encourage customers to make an emotional decision to buy. If they connect with your brand on an emotional level, it gives them a reason to choose you over a competitor.

Customers vote everyday with their charge cards.

Are your customers picking up what your putting down? If they connect with your brand, have a positive shopping experience and are presented with frames that meet their needs, they will make a purchase and likely return for more.

What gets measured gets improved.

The optical department typically generates 45% of the overall practice revenue – but it can, and should, be a higher percentage. One way you can increase your optical sales is to consider the frames and products you purchase and choose to sell. You should always make purchases according to your practice’s strategy, branding and your customer’s needs. It’s also important to create a “selling culture”, measure your sales and set goals. Try setting a sales goal for one month and then track the sales for each optician. Identify under-penetrated areas like anti-reflective coatings or multiple pair sales and try to boost those particular areas. You’ll be more in control and responsive to your customers, plus you’ll increase revenue!

The Seven Fundamentals of Effective Merchandising

There is no “right or wrong” way to merchandise, but there is “good and bad” ways to design your space. When designing an optical display, there are seven rules to follow. Incorporate these techniques in your displays and see the difference not only in the aesthetics of your space but in the way your customers interact with the products.

1. The Pyramid Principle

Create height in the center of your display to create a focal point for the eye and leave space around the perimeter. Try this by stacking frames in a pyramid shape.

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2. Odd Not Even

The brain is programed to be attracted to items grouped in odd numbers – it’s more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Always use an odd number of frames in a single display.

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3. Repetition, Repetition

Repeat concepts to create strong merchandising statements.

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4. Texture

Use interesting texture as the backdrop or foundation for your frame displays.

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5. Less is More

Keep displays simple and uncluttered so the eye can focus on what you’re selling. This is especially true when it comes to luxury and high-end brands. Don’t overcrowd your display with decor, let the product speak for itself.

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6. Lifestyle Merchandising

Leverage the power of the brand. Create a display that tells a story and shows how the frame fits into a particular lifestyle by grouping it with other accessories like a handbag or scarf.

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7. Don’t Break the Architectural Lines

Present frames in a way that is consistent with the space in which they are positioned. Don’t create artificial walls or barriers which prevent the customer from moving around or interacting with the frames you’re selling.

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These seven simple techniques can be easily implemented in your own practice right away. Just a few small changes can make a big difference. Take a look at your optical department today and try to identify ways that you can incorporate these basic fundamentals. You might be surprised to see the impact they can make to your optical sales!

 


 

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Want to take your optical to the next level?

PECAA recently wrapped up our fall Optical Merchandising Workshop series, with events held in four cities throughout the U.S. These popular one-day workshops feature hands-on courses designed to give attendees a better perspective on merchandising, help creating compelling displays and managing inventory in order to maximize profitability. Plus, all attendees receive free CE credit!

“The information provided at the workshop was outstanding! We have already implemented strategies to allow our patients to better experience what we have to offer. Thank You PECAA!” Patti Bushnell, Practice Manager, Eldorado Vision & Optical, McKinney, TX

Do you want to receive information on PECAA’s future Optical Merchandising Workshops? Add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you posted on our 2017 spring workshop schedule.

 

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Overwhelmed by MIPS? Set your practice up for success!

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Overwhelmed by MIPS? Learn How You Can Set Your Practice Up For Success!

 

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The landscape of managed healthcare and quality reporting is ever-changing and as we approach the end of 2016, now is the time to ensure your practice is up-to-speed on the latest requirements. PECAA, along with our Premier Vendor Partner RevolutionEHR, are here to provide you with the information you’re looking for as these important changes take place.

Wondering how MIPS affects you and your practice? With the Quality Payment Program final rule fresh off the press, join Brett Paepke, OD and Director of ECP Services for RevolutionEHR, for a discussion of how MIPS originated, how it will affect your reimbursements and influence access to patients in the years ahead.

How does MIPS affect me and my practice? Dr. Brett Paepke answers the following FAQ’s:

What is MIPS?

I think to effectively answer what MIPS is, we need to take a quick step back at where it originates. First, the piece of legislation known as MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) was enacted to modify the way that doctors are paid. We know that up until now, doctors have been paid completely on volume where the more patients they see and the more services they provide, the more money CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) sends their way. MACRA does away with the traditional approach to annually adjusting the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and, instead, creates something called the Quality Payment Program (QPP) which bases reimbursements more on quality instead of quantity. The QPP creates two “paths” for provider participation: alternative payment models (APMs) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS is that path that over 90% of eligible clinicians will follow in 2017 and that’s why it has been the focus of so much discussion.

How does MIPS alter reimbursements?

MIPS creates a composite score for each provider based on their performance within four categories, three of which are variants of individual programs we’ve heard of before. In 2017, the first performance period for MIPS, a composite score would be built as follows:

• Advancing Care Information (formerly known as Meaningful Use) – 25% of MIPS composite score
• Quality (formerly known as PQRS) – 60% of MIPS composite score
• Improvement Activities – 15% of MIPS composite score

Composite scores can range from 0-100 and, naturally, the higher the better. All providers in the country would have their composite scores added together and the average determined. That average would be known as the “performance threshold”. Each individual provider’s composite score would then get compared to the performance threshold to determine how that provider’s reimbursements would change. If their composite score is above the performance threshold, they’d receive an increased reimbursement and vice-versa. The further away from the performance threshold their score is, the more significant the upward or downward revision would be.

In 2019, a provider’s reimbursements could vary +/- 4% based on their performance relative to others and that will scale up each year to +/- 9% by the year 2022.

Is it true there are no longer individual penalties for PQRS, MU and the Value-based Payment Modifier?

Beginning in 2019, that’s correct. 2018 is the final year that providers would experience separate penalties for each program based on their performance two years earlier. In 2019, reimbursements would be adjusted up or down based on a provider’s actual 2017 performance within the MIPS categories.

How will I report for MIPS?

Providers will have the ability to report via different methods for each category if they desire. For example, an optometrist could manually attest to Advancing Care Information in a similar fashion to how they did for Meaningful Use, yet submit their PQRS/Quality data via claims. Each category will allow providers a list of options for submitting their data.

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Will everyone be subjected to MIPS?

Providers that are new to Medicare Part B participation in the performance year would be excluded as would those who saw less than 100 Medicare Part B patients or generated less than $30,000 in Medicare Part B allowable charges.

Also remember that MIPS is only one path of the Quality Payment Program with the Alternative Payment Model (APM) path being the other. Not everyone will experience MIPS, but CMS anticipates less than 10% of providers would qualify for the APM path early on. That’s because 1) there aren’t a whole lot of advanced alternative payment models out there at present, and 2) a significant amount of patient volume need to flow through the APM for provider to qualify for that path. In other words, simply being involved with an advanced APM doesn’t qualify a provider for that path. They need to also exceed a certain threshold of patient volume or revenue.

Is it true that CMS has added flexibility for reporting in 2017?

Yes, with 2017 rapidly approaching and there being widespread concern about how quickly the Quality Payment Program is being implemented, CMS has decided to allow providers the option of submitting data for varying lengths of time in 2017. The longer reporting period chosen, the greater the potential increased reimbursement in 2019. This is a significant change from the initial proposal which would have required a full calendar year of data from all providers.

How else might MIPS information affect me?

By law, MIPS information will be made available on Medicare’s Physician Compare Website. Physician Compare will allow the general public to search for providers within a specific zip code or city, see their MIPS composite score and how they performed within the various categories (Advancing Care Information, Quality, Resource Use, Clinical Practice Improvement Activities).

Now would a potential patient look at Physician Compare and make their decision entirely on MIPS performance? Probably not, but it’s another thing they could use in their decision making process. The other consideration is that if the information is readily available and makes it easy to “rank” providers in a community, it’s not that big of a step to think that a 3rd party could eventually draw a line across the middle and say “the providers above the line are doing the things we value, so these are the ones you can choose from”.

So much time is spent discussing the direct impact on reimbursements that we shouldn’t neglect how quality data could ultimately be used to influence access to patients.

 


 

Want to learn more on the Final Rule and how quality reporting will impact your future reimbursements? Join RevolutionEHR for a webinar!

MIPS: The Final Rule And You
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 | 6:00pm Pacific/9:00pm Eastern
Presented by Brett Paepke, OD, Director of ECP Services, RevolutionEHR

 

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Your involvement in managed health care systems will depend on your participation in quality care reporting initiatives. Many ODs aren’t yet fully aware of the various reporting expectations outside of Meaningful Use and PQRS.

Join Dr. Brett Paepke, RevolutionEHR Director of ECP Services, as he discusses the current and future quality reporting landscape and how your participation today will impact future reimbursements and access to patients.

The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) final rule will be discussed and particular attention will be paid to how certified EHR technology can make your participation easier.

Register to save your spot, you will receive a confirmation email shortly after registering.

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Think About Your Eyes Promotion Extended

Important ICD-10 Update Starts October 1st

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Important ICD-10 Update Starts October 1st, 2016 – Is Your Practice Informed & Prepared?

By: Teri Thurston, Billing & Coding Manager

On October 1, 2016, a large number of new ICD-10 codes will go into effect allowing a greater degree of specificity for many conditions that eye care providers frequently manage.

As your PECAA Billing and Coding resource, I find it important to share the effects this will have on your practice. I am pleased to share a short video and document, provided by our Premier Vendor Partner, RevolutionEHR that I found to be valuable.

Dr. Brett Paepke, Director of ECP Services of RevolutionEHR gives an excellent review of the new diagnostic codes. It will be important to be familiar with the new code changes on October 1st to avoid claim denials and ensure proper documentation.

WATCH VIDEO

DOWNLOAD RESOURCE DOCUMENT

I hope you find value in the education provided to prepare for these changes. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out directly to me by email at teri@pecaa.com or phone 503.670.9200.

Exclusive PECAA Member Benefits for Vision Expo West

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PECAA is a proud supporter of International Vision Expo West! We are pleased to present these exclusive benefits for you and your staff to enjoy during Vision Expo West in Las Vegas!

Complimentary Exhibit Hall Registration

Visit VisionExpoWest.com/PECAA or use your customized code to take advantage of complimentary exhibit hall admission ($150 savings)

Exclusive Education Discounts

More than 320 hours of education for every role and experience level, are focused on 3 core competencies — disease diagnosis and treatment; clinical application of products; and healthy business solutions. View 2016 Education Highlights

10% off Education (1-5 hours)

(Does not apply to specially priced sessions, programs, Standard Packages, or Total Office Packages)

Book your travel arrangements!

Get ahead of the high prices by booking your travel early! We’ve negotiated travel discounts and secured a limited number of reduced-rate hotel rooms to make your trip to Las Vegas affordable. Book Your Travel Now

PECAA’s Education Picks:

Business Solutions
Find the Business Solutions courses that are essential for your practice. Now organized
around five key areas of focus: Leadership, Customer Experience, Human Resources, Data,
and Profitability & Growth, these designations help you zero-in on the topics you need most.
It’s easier than ever for you and your team to choose among more than 100 hours of targeted
business education. Mix and match, or go in-depth to focus your learning and bring
back actionable solutions you can implement immediately.
The Power of Promotions – Bill Gerber | 09.15.16 | 9:45AM – 10:45 AM
How to Deliver Efficient & Effective Patient Experiences – Joy Gibb | 09.15.15 | 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Building Loyalty With Internal Marketing – Michael Rothschild | 09.17.16 | 4:00PM – 5:00PM
The New Rules of Optical Retailing – Bill Gerber | 09.15.16 | 11:00AM – 12:00PM

5 Reasons Why Branding is Important to Your Business

The eye care industry is ever-changing and in a competitive and dynamic marketplace, branding has never been more important. A brand is so much more than just a cool logo, it’s a way to build the value of your practice, motivate your staff, acquire new patients and increase profitability.

What is a brand?

Simply put, a brand is a visual and emotional representation of people’s perception of your business. Everything from your practice name, logo, colors, service, reputation and employees contribute to your overall brand identity. You only have once chance to make a first impression and your branding will set the tone for how patients perceive your practice from the very beginning. Here are 5 reasons why branding is important and how it can help your practice grow and stand out among the competition:

1. Build Recognition

logosOne of the most important elements of your brand is your logo. When you see a “swoosh” or the “golden arches” you automatically associate them with Nike and McDonald’s, without ever seeing the company name itself. You’re also likely to remember past experiences and your feelings toward the company. A powerful logo will help your patients recognize your practice right away among the competition. Make sure to include your logo on all communication pieces that patients interact with. Everything from your website to your business cards need to be branded with your logo.

2. Create Trust

A professional appearance builds credibility and trust among patients. People are more likely to choose a business that appears polished over one that seems sloppy or unprofessional. Everything from the signage in your window to the cleanliness of your waiting area is an extension of your brand and will create a level of trust. Our brains are hardwired to have an emotional reaction to things we see and those reactions, whether good or bad, will influence purchasing behavior.

3. Inspire & Retain Your Staff

A strong brand can inspire your staff and give them a feeling of belonging. When your staff understands your mission and connects with your brand they will be more likely to achieve goals and stay with you long-term. Your staff embodies the spirit of your brand. Their overall style and attitude needs to communicate the story you want to tell. Finding the right people who fit into the culture you’ve created is key.

ads4. Increase Profitability

Delivering an excellent experience in your practice will help retain existing patients, encourage them to spend more and increase your profitability. Your brand identity will contribute to the “feel” within your practice. Whether you want to evoke a feeling of luxury or affordability, create a setting that speaks to the message you want to send. If you connect with the patient’s needs and wants, you can sell more and increase profits.

5. Attract New Patients

Eye-catching graphics and a professional logo will capture attention and attract new patients. Whether it be online, through printed advertisements or simply the sign above your door, it’s important to maintain a consistent look and feel. Plus, great branding encourages referrals. If a patient has a great experience at your practice and connects with your brand, they are likely to tell their friends. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising source and is only possible when you’ve delivered a memorable experience and a lasting impression.


PECAA’s professional logo and design service can help you create a compelling brand. Our in-house Graphic Designer, Jason Karl, is available to work with you one-on-one to create custom branding for your practice, including logo design, print ads, postcards, business cards, digital ads, and more!

Ready to get started?

Join now and save 20% on a PECAA Design Services Package which includes logo design plus 2 additional items (typically business cards and letterhead).*

*Regular discounted package price is $499. Printing expenses are the responsibility of the Member. Brochures are specifically excluded from “additional items.” Open to new and existing Members. Discount not available on or to be combined with other offers.

To learn more or get started with a project, contact Jason at 503.670.9200 or at: pcom.cloudroots.net/branding-design-print-services

Back To School Design & Social Media Package

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Back-to-School Design & Social Media Package

Back-to-School season is here and it’s the perfect time for your patients to get their annual eye exam! PECAA’s back-to-school design and social media package is a great way to attract new patients to your practice plus encourage your existing patients to make their annual exam appointments.

For a limited time, a FREE special back-to-school design and marketing package is being offered to new (and current) PECAA Social Media users!

What you get:

√ Choose from 1 of 4 FREE PECAA back-to-school graphics to be customized with your practice logo. You can add it to your website, in social media, or on printed materials such as flyers and mailers.

√ Get 3 FREE additional custom social media posts; each posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

√ Place a Facebook Ad and we’ll waive our admin fee (a $100 value)

Promotion valid now through September 2, 2016, and limited to the first 50 Members. Promotional value estimated at $200.00. Requires 3-month service commitment to PECAA’s social media services, billed at $119/month or at a discounted rate of $99/mo when packaged with PECAA Web Services. New social media users should allow up to 2 weeks from sign up to date of first posting. Requires Member to grant PECAA administrator access to Member’s social media accounts. Design includes pre-designed graphic and inclusion of Member logo; additional customization is $75/hour. Member responsible for cost-per-click for Facebook ad ($100 minimum) which will be billed on Member’s PECAA invoice.

Get Started Today!

To take advantage of our back-to-school package, contact Janice Pimentel at janice@pecaa.com or call 503.670.9200.

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Interested in Over $16,000 in Additional Revenue? Let’s Talk Facebook Advertising

Thumb Up SignA strong digital presence is key to business success.

In today’s marketing world, a strong digital presence is key to business success. Social media has become an essential tool in leveraging your digital presence and a way to tap into new revenue streams.

Already have a Facebook page for your business? Excellent, you are off to great start. Are you utilizing Facebook to its fullest potential? PECAA’s Social Media Team is here to help you attract new patients to your practice – driving revenue growth and practice profitability.

With 1.49 billion active monthly users, Facebook has more users than Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp combined.¹ In the US, 72% of all online adults are active on Facebook and they spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the platform. ²³

Connect with the right audience.

bigstock-Pie-Charts-Composed-Of-People-108707330 [Converted]Simply put, Facebook is too big for you to ignore. This huge volume of traffic allows Facebook to gather numerous demographic and behavioral data which you can use to aim your advertising at the right audience and truly connect with prospective patients.

Imagine the number of people living within a 5-mile radius of your practice. For most practices that will be tens – even hundreds – of thousands of potential patients. Now imagine that you can segment all those people based on proximity, age, education, interests, or activities. You can now take this carefully constructed list of prospects and deploy a Facebook advertising campaign specifically designed for them. Moreover; you only pay for the ad when someone from your target audience physically clicks through to visit your Facebook page or your practice website. This click-through to your page(s) is critical to winning new patients, so a robust Facebook presence and a modern website are key components to successful Facebook ad campaigns. It is also important to remember that Facebook ad campaigns are most effective when they are coordinated with events or promotions going on at your practice.

Grow your revenue and profitability.

PECAA’s Member Business Advisors help hundreds of PECAA Members benchmark their business with our SuccessTRACK Production Tracking Software (powered by Glimpse). There are now over 385 practice locations on the tracking software and the average revenue per patient in PECAA practices in 2015 was $336.27. This important piece of practice data allows us to precisely illustrate how Facebook advertising can grow your practice revenue and profitability.

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* PECAA charges $100 per Facebook Ad Campaign

1. https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

2. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/

3. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-time-people-spend-on-facebook-per-day-2015-7#ixzz3fKtewifD

 

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Are you using Facebook to its fullest?

If you are interested in learning more about Facebook advertising and how to create a smart and effective social media plan, PECAA’s in-house social media management service can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Our experienced team will work with you one-on-one all the way through your campaign – everything from creating your message to providing real time analytics of your success.

Want to see how your practice’s social pages are performing? Take advantage of our limited time offer for a Free Social Media Assessment – including Facebook, Twitter and Google+!

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Contact Us

If you would like more information about PECAA’s social media service, contact our Social Media Specialist, Janice Pimentel at janice@pecaa.com or call 503.670.9200.

If you would like to speak to someone about a PECAA membership, contact Sara Campbell at sara@pecaa.com or 270.535.8677.

Optical Merchandising Workshops Are Back This Fall

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“The information provided at the workshop was outstanding! We have already implemented strategies to allow our patients to better experience what we have to offer. We are doing a more effective job of merchandising our frames and will be utilizing the helpful recommendations on the review and control of our inventory turn rate. Thank You PECAA!”
Patti Bushnell, Practice Manager, Eldorado Vision & Optical, McKinney, TX

Save The Date!

PECAA’s popular one-day Optical Merchandising Workshops are coming to four new cities this fall including Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

• Complete day of learning designed for Doctors, Optical Buyers & Administrators who want to improve their merchandising, management and visual display abilities

• Earn five hours free ABO credit

• Led by PECAA’s own retail and merchandising expert Doug Martin

• Bill Gerber from OMG! Optical Marketing Group will be presenting in San Diego, L.A. & Honolulu and Samantha Toth from Innereactive Media will be presenting in Austin

• Complete event details and registration information coming soon!

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Workshop Schedule:

Austin Workshop
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
8:00am – 4:30pm
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown
300 E. 4th St. Austin, TX 78701

San Diego Workshop
Saturday, November 5, 2016
8:00am – 4:30pm
San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
8757 Rio San Diego Dr. San Diego, CA 92108

Los Angeles Workshop
Sunday, November 6, 2016
8:00am – 4:30pm
Los Angeles Airport Marriott
5855 West Century Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045

Honolulu Workshop
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
8:00am – 4:30pm
Marriott Resort Waikiki Beach
2552 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

Judicious and Effective use of Topical Corticosteroids

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Judicious and Effective use of Topical Corticosteroids

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

Although the subject of malpractice conjures negative emotions and I don’t often like to write about it, having been an expert witness in a huge number of malpractice cases you garner provide insights that can help colleagues. And one of my roles with PECAA is to serve as a clinical director which includes protecting my PECAA “family” of doctors. So for time to time when I see similar cases coming up frequently I’ll use it as an opportunity to educate and help prevent a PECAA colleague from having to deal with this situation. Although the fact that we live in the US means that many of us may receive a subpoena just because we saw a patient and met the standard of care. I see these more often than not and I feel for the doctors that did nothing wrong. I thank my colleagues involved in these cases for allowing me to share them. A number of cases involved the use of topical corticosteroids which makes me believe that a pearl on this topic might be valuable.

Keep in mind that the use of topical steroids is necessary in proper clinical management of patients so avoiding their use is not the intent of this clinical pearl. In fact avoiding topical steroids in cases where they are indicated could lead to permanent scaring, irregular healing, distortion or irregularity of the cornea and even the risk of preventing a full recovery in cases of significant inflammatory eye disease.

006-5383-1606Based on dozens of cases I’ve had to review or stand in depositions and trials as an expert, the following pearls could be extrapolated:

1. If a potential infectious keratitis is present, avoid the use of any topical corticosteroids including combination agents. In some cases it is very difficult to discern if a case is a sterile marginal keratitis (which is typically treated by a steroid/antibiotic combination agent) versus an infectious keratitis. In general an infectious keratitis tends to have significantly more pain, photophobia, discharge and redness. The infiltrate tends to be more central than peripheral and an anterior chamber reaction is often present. The abrasion over the infiltrate associated with an infectious keratitis tends to be larger or at least close to the size of the infiltrate. Infectious corneal ulcers appear to develop acutely. If there is any doubt, it’s best to begin with a pure antibiotic only and have the patient return the next day. If it turns out to be sterile then adding a steroid combination agent the next day won’t hurt to much, but it’s impossible to remove a steroid that’s already been used if it indeed turned out to be infectious. The pearl here is: if signs of a potential infectious keratitis are present, avoid corticosteroids and bring the patient back the next day.

2. The first time you write a prescription for a topical corticosteroid, write zero refills. Steroids work exceptionally well and suppress inflammation better than any agent we have. For that reason most patients condition, if inflammatory, will improve dramatically and patients may use this drop and all of the refills indefinitely, and may even cancel a follow-up appointment because their condition feels resolved. Multiplerefills could mean long-term use of a topical corticosteroid without the opportunity to measure intraocular pressure (IOP), even if properly educated about risks.

3. Don’t use topical corticosteroids on a corneal abrasion. Although there are times that it makes sense to control inflammation the majority of abrasions do not require the use of topical corticosteroids with our without a bandage contact lens. There are instances when an epithelial defect persists and inflammation may be keeping it from healing where steroids make sense. But what I’m referring to here is a traumatic corneal abrasion and it’s best to just prescribe a topical antibiotic and a bandage lens. If pain is significant consider a topical or oral NSAID rather than a corticosteroid.

4. Don’t use topical corticosteroids on patients with poorly controlled autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Now this is not an absolute contraindication and there are numerous cases when we have no choice but to use a corticosteroid, however if the patient states their systemic disease is not controlled and not being managed by a specialist, avoiding a steroid until systemic disease control is achieved is prudent.

5. Don’t apply topical corticosteroids on top of a contact lens. Again this is not an absolute contraindication and there are cases when we would do this. But for more routine conditions like GPC, contact lenses can serve as a depot for medications and could increase contact time, This could potentially lead to a higher percentage of elevated IOP cases and therefor proper monitoring is essential or the development of an infectious keratitis.

6. Steroids in glaucoma patients or children have a known higher incidence of IOP rise. Again, this is not an absolute contraindication to use a corticosteroid on a glaucoma patient as we do this all the time, however proper and timely IOP monitoring is required.

Knowing these insights might help you effectively and conservative manage patients regarding topical corticosteroid use. Keep in mind that this should enhance your knowledge and confidence in prescribing topical corticosteroids as opposed to avoiding their use in appropriate inflammatory eye disease cases.

Is Your Web Presence Attracting Patients?

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Is your web presence attracting or driving away patients?

Living in the digital age, we all know how important a website is to a business’s reach and overall success. However, simply having a website presence isn’t enough.

Did you know that mobile internet traffic in the United States has surpassed desktop internet usage? Over 80% of the US adult population owns a smartphone and 75% of internet users in the United States access the internet via mobile. It’s never been more important to know whether your website is fully responsive and delivering your patients a positive experience regardless of their device.

What is a responsive website?

The goal of a responsive website is to have the site be not only accessible, but optimized for viewing on various devices, whether that be on a desktop, smart phone, iPad, or even a smart watch. It’s important that your patients all have a seamless experience when visiting your site, no matter what device they use to access it. A responsive website is composed of two elements, the structure of the site and the language used to construct it. The way that the site is coded plays a factor in how your website is ranked on search engines.

How is a website ranked?

Search engines like Google will pull data from your website and give you a ranking in their search results. Ensuring you receive a high ranking is key in building an effective online presence and attracting new patients to your practice. You can improve your ranking in two ways:

On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Also known as organic SEO, this is based on the structure, characteristics and page content of your website. Once your website is built properly with robust, up-to-date content and is fully responsive, your on-page SEO will begin to provide maximum benefits. Monthly content updates will ensure your on-page SEO continues to deliver optimal performance.

Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Also known as paid SEO, these are steps you can take to improve your page rank on various search engines. An example of this is Google Adwords, where you choose key terms and phrases customers are searching for, and you pay each time this generates in a click to your website. This can be a very effective way to gain new patients.

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Is your website driving away potential patients?

A non-responsive website could end up hurting your business. 50% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes longer than 10 seconds to load, and 60% of those won’t return to that website again in the future. 57% of mobile users said they would not recommend a business that had a poorly designed mobile site. In order to prevent driving away potential patients, it is critical to ensure that your website is responsive and compatible for usage on multiple devices.

References: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/8-mobile-marketing-stats-help-you-plan-2016

https://hostingfacts.com/internet-facts-stats-2016/

Are your current and potential patients able to find you online?

If you’re unsure if they can, PECAA can help. ECPs benefit from a PECAA Membership because they get access to great discounts, business coaching, events & education, PLUS they have the option to use in-house website, social media, and branding & design services. Our Web Development Team specializes in building attractive, responsive websites that result in advanced on-page SEO optimization.

Take advantage of our limited time offer for a Free Website Assessment today.

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Contact Us

If you would like more information about the PECAA Web Services program, contact Web Developer Corey Sizemore at corey@pecaa.com, or call 503-670-9200 and ask for him.

If you would like to speak to someone about a PECAA membership, contact Sara Campbell at sara@pecaa.com or 270-535-8677.

 

 

2016 – A Great Year So Far For Growing Eye Exams

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Flying Blind? Understand What Your Financials Can Tell You

Tyler JudkinsBy: Tyler Judkins, Member Business Advisor

Your 9-year-old son has never been on a plane before. In anticipation of calming his nerves, you tell him that maybe he can talk to the pilot and sit in the cockpit. When the opportunity presents itself, you explain the situation to the pilot and he agrees with your request.

The pilot invites your son into the cockpit and points to the fuel gauge; “Ya see this? This tells me how much gas is in the plane. I look at it every so often. Right now, you can see that it is about ½ full, so I’m thinking we’ll have enough to get to our destination.” Your son replies; “How do you know that is enough? How far are we going? What if we run out? What about all these other gauges, what are they for?” The pilot responds “Well, ½ of a tank is pretty full. There have been some occasions when I’ve had to take fuel out of the plane because my car was low on gas. Other than that, I’ve never ran out before so I’m thinking we’ll be just fine. As far as the other gauges go, I know that I should probably be paying more attention to those but I’m just too busy flying the plane and taking care of my passengers to pay attention to those.”

Needless to say, you and your son get out of there like it’s the Friday before a long weekend. Compare this to the pilot that knows all the gauges, what they are telling him, why they are important, and knows what to do in the event something isn’t right.

This is analogous to the small business owner that runs his business based on the balance in his checking account (the fuel in the tank) vs the small business owner that looks not only at his cash, but income, expenses, margins, ratios, liquidity, leverage, cash flow, debt service, the list goes on. It goes without saying which business is more successful.

Financial Statements 101

Typically, the term ‘financial statements’ consists of a Balance Sheet and a Profit and Loss (aka Income Statement).

What is a balance sheet?

A balance sheet is a document that summarizes a company’s assets (what is owned) and liabilities (what is owed). By default, it also tells the difference between the two, which is referred to as equity.

Let’s say you have saved $10,000 to buy a home. The seller will sell you the home for $105,000, they don’t care where the money comes from as long as they get it. So, being the savvy PECAA Member that you are, you go to the bank and ask for a $95,000 loan. They see your good looks and agree to lend you the money. You give the $105,000 to the seller and you are the proud owner of the home, right? Well, sort of. If you were to illustrate this on a balance sheet, here is how it would look:

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The magic equation in account is…Assets = Liabilities + Equity. This will ALWAYS hold true. This balance sheet could change the next day. What if you decide to buy a car, borrow more money, or maybe you decide to lend money out (aka an account receivable). A balance sheet reflects a single moment in time.

What is an Income Statement?

Let’s talk about the $10,000 that you used for the down payment on the house. Where did that come from? Well, over a period of time, that money was earned and collected in the form of cash. During a defined period of time, an income statement will show the user where the money came from (revenue or sales), what expenses there were (expenses), and what was left over at the end of that period (net income).

An simple example of an income statement might look like the following:

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Obviously the above examples are for the layman. Nonetheless, it outlines the basic purpose and structure of the financial statements.

If you are running your business based on one single gauge – how much cash is in the bank, you are leaving a lot of information on the table that can be used to help you get from point A to point B. Why not use all the gauges available to you?

PECAA’s Member Business Advisors are here to help guide your practice by using the gauges that have been proven necessary to take any business to the next level.

What PECAA Members are saying about the MBA Program…

PECAA’s Member Business Analyst (MBA) program centers around PECAA’s finance professionals giving their opinion as to the financial health of your practice. Seeing these figures from a financial perspective allows me as an optometrist business-owner to fine tune our practice to best meet our goals. –Dr. Brian Abert

Words cannot express how pleased we are with the PECAA MBA Program. Stephanie actively listens to any questions we have and directs us to the appropriate person for counsel and/or resolution. On-site education assures that all staff will be up to date with new ideas for our practice and improvement objectives. Her financial reviews provide our Doctor and Practice Manager with operational insight and areas for improved profitability and patient satisfaction. We could not be happier with the MBA Program. – Ms. Patti Bushnell

The MBA program at PECAA has been extremely helpful for our practice in analyzing and understanding our numbers, as well as setting benchmarks and goals. We look forward to our quarterly meetings with Bryan and James, where we evaluate our performance on Glimpse and compare it to the national averages. This has really helped us identify the areas we needed to improve, and we have been able to focus and make appropriate changes in our practice. I really appreciate the individualized attention they have given us. Both Bryan and James are extremely knowledgeable in what they do and their advice has been an invaluable asset to our practice! – Dr. Mila Ioussifova

As a new practice owner, I found the PECAA MBA program to be particularly helpful. It was so valuable to have someone outside of my practice to look at my metrics, give advice and help me set goals for the future of my practice. Every doctor who is a PECAA member should take advantage of this service. It is such a fantastic program to have included in our dues. – Dr. Jen Burke

Is Your Web Presence Attracting or Driving Away Patients?

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By: Corey Sizemore, Web Developer

Living in the digital age, we all know how important a website is to a business’s reach and overall success. However, simply having a website presence isn’t enough.

Did you know that mobile internet usage in the United States has surpassed desktop internet usage? Over 80% of the US adult population owns a smartphone and 75.1% of internet users in the United States access the internet via mobile. It’s now more important than ever to know whether or not your website is responsive to usage on multiple devices.

What is a responsive website?

The goal of a responsive website is to have the site be not only accessible, but optimized for viewing on various devices, whether that be on a desktop, smart phone, iPad, or even a smart watch. It’s important that your patients all have a seamless experience when visiting your site, no matter what device they use to access it. A responsive website is composed of two elements, the structure of the site and the language used to construct it. The way that the site is coded plays a factor in how your website is ranked on search engines.

How is a website ranked?

Search engines like Google will pull data from your website and give you a ranking in their search results. Ensuring you receive a high ranking is key in building an effective online presence and attracting new patients to your practice. You can improve your ranking in two ways:

On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Also known as organic SEO, this is based on the structure, characteristics and page content of your website. Once your website is built properly with robust, up-to-date content and is fully responsive, your on-page SEO will begin to provide maximum benefits. Monthly content updates will ensure your on-page SEO continues to deliver optimal performance.

Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Also known as paid SEO, these are steps you can take to improve your page rank on various search engines. An example of this is Google Adwords, where you choose key terms and phrases customers are searching for, and you pay each time this generates in a click to your website. This can be a very effective way to gain new patients.

websites

Is Your Website Driving Away Potential Patients?

A non-responsive website could end up hurting your business. 50% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes longer than 10 seconds to load, and 60% of those won’t return to that website again in the future. 57% of mobile users said they would not recommend a business that had a poorly designed mobile site. In order to prevent driving away potential patients, it is critical to ensure that your website is responsive and compatible for usage on multiple devices.

Are your current and potential patients able to find you online?

If you have a PECAA-designed website, great news! I specialize in building responsive websites that result in advanced on-page SEO optimization. If you’re interested in improving your page rank on search engines, contact me for ideas. If you aren’t using a PECAA website, request a free website assessment today.

References:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/8-mobile-marketing-stats-help-you-plan-2016

https://hostingfacts.com/internet-facts-stats-2016/

 

PECAA Gives Presents $7500 Check to Edna Karr High School Marching Band

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PECAA Gives…Join us as we make our vision a reality by helping us leave a positive, lasting impact on the communities where we come together.


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Thank you to everyone who donated!

Thank you to everyone who generously donated to PECAA Gives to support the Edna Karr High School marching band in New Orleans! We were so proud to present a check for $7,500 to the music director, Chris Herrero, after the band’s performance at the Annual Meeting. The money raised will go toward new musical instruments for the students.

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2016 PECAA Gives Beneficiary

The 2016 Annual Meeting was held in New Orleans, LA, a city rich with culture and tradition. While preparing for our meeting, PECAA’s event planning team had the opportunity to experience the music of the Edna Karr High School marching band. Their unbelievable talent and spirit quickly captured our attention and stole our hearts. As we watched them rehearse, we couldn’t help but notice the duct tape holding some of their instruments together. And yet…the spirit of these kids was infectious…their shy smiles, their proud stance, their positive interaction with each other, and the obvious respect they have for their teacher …they played their hearts out – it was a very touching experience. We all came away determined to find a way to donate to this amazing gem-of-a-program in the heart of NOLA.

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About Edna Karr High School’s Marching Band

As a rising star of this city, this particular school program has been featured by NPR, and was also recognized by England’s Lord Mayor of Winchester, Catherine Longworth, who recently invited the EK marching band to march and perform in London’s 2015 New Years Eve Parade – a high honor. Despite the economic differences among these kids, and some of the dire circumstances they face at home – Edna Karr has an impressive 98% graduation rate.

The EK music director (Chris Herrero) is a graduated student from the high school and returned four years ago after completing college to give back something vital; something life-altering to these kids – music. In the four years since his return, the program has more than doubled, along with well-deserved recognition and local awards. The music program has become a viable vehicle for kids to earn scholarships and overcome, against stacked odds; it truly is a lifeline.

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You can still make a donation!

We presented a check for $7,500 during the meeting and we are still accepting donations online! Give back to the community of New Orleans by donating to the music program of Edna Karr High School. The money raised will go toward new instruments for the students and your support will help them continue to share the spirit of New Orleans for generations to come!

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What’s a Second Line Parade & What’s Up With The Beads?

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New Orleans is a city that celebrates through a colorful variety of parades all year long.  No matter what time of year you visit, you are likely to observe (or participate in) a parade of some sort.  Parades occur for many reasons; most are known as Second Line Parades, and of course some of the most renowned parades are the cornerstone of the celebration known as Mardi Gras – where multiple parades happen daily, over several weeks.

What is a Second Line Parade?

Visitors experience a city’s culture on the walls of museums and galleries, on the stages of theaters and musical halls and even on the plates of local restaurants. But in New Orleans, culture also comes bubbling up from the streets and one of the most unique local expressions of this sort of culture is the second line parade.

Second line parades are the descendants of the city’s famous jazz funerals and, apart from a casket, mourners and a cemetery visit, they carry many of the same traditions with them as they march down the streets.

There are dozens of different second line parades put on throughout the year, usually on Sunday afternoons, and held in neighborhoods all across the city. They range in size, level of organization and traditions, but in all cases they will include a brass band, jubilant dancing in the street and members decked out in a wardrobe of brightly colored suits, sashes, hats and bonnets, parasols and banners, melding the pomp of a courtly function and the spontaneous energy of a block party, albeit one that moves a block at a time. These parades are not tied to any particular event, holiday or commemoration; rather, they are
generally held for their own sake and to let the good times roll.

The History of Beads at Second Line (and Mardi Gras) Parades:

The throwing of trinkets to the crowds of Mardi Gras was started in the 1870’s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time-honored expectation of young and old alike.

In 1827, some students, returning to NOLA from their studies in Paris, donned costumes and danced in the streets, as they had seen maskers do in Paris, They threw flowers to the crowds watching them, and later threw flour.

In 1872 the King of Rex tossed sugar coated almonds to the parade goers, which was similar to the festival customs of the English Renaissance era. In 1884, Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets.  These medallions are represented by today’s doubloons. The doubloons are aluminum and anodized in many different colors.  They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe’s emblem on the other.

During the late 1800’s, inexpensive necklaces made of glass beads were thrown to represent the jewels of royalty.  The beads were an instant hit, and have remained a cornerstone of modern-day Mardi Gras (and Second Line) parades.

We highly suspect that our PECAA Members will bump into a Second Line while at the Annual Meeting.  If so, don’t be shy…jump on in & enjoy the festivities – and if you get the chance, be sure & collect some beads!


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Give back to the Edna Karr High School Marching Band and help us reach our goal of $10,000!

We are accepting donations for our first PECAA Gives beneficiary, the Edna Karr High School Marching Band. The money raised will go toward new musical instruments for the students. To learn more, go to pcom.cloudroots.net/pecaagives. Donate now online through our GoFundMe page. Simply click on the button below to donate now!


 

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Are you excited yet? We are! We’ll meet you in NOLA for the 2016 Annual Meeting and a true taste of Big Easy culture! Visit pcom.cloudroots.net/2016-annual-meeting for complete details.

Register Now!

There is still time to register and secure your spot at this can’t miss event! Please note that each individual person from your practice who plans to attend will need to submit their own separate registration form. Five total people, including at least one doctor, may register for the meeting.

REGISTER NOW

Book Hotel:

You are responsible for booking your hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott. Please note that registering for the meeting does not mean your hotel room as been booked. Click the link below to book your room now through PECAA’s online reservation site:

BOOK HOTEL

Glaucoma Medication Side Effects & Contraindications

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Glaucoma Medication Side Effects & Contraindications

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

Glaucoma affects millions of patients and is a very important part of optometry practice. We know there are inherent risks with almost all pharmaceutical agents and glaucoma medications are no exception. Having been an expert witness in a number of malpractice cases and most recently one involving glaucoma medications, makes me realize that a quick reminder of these contraindications (and side effects) is valuable.

Prostaglandin Analogs:

There are no absolute contraindications for this class except patients with a known hypersensitivity to the ingredients. However a relative contraindication would include patients with ocular inflammatory conditions such as uveitis, CME or chronic inflammatory eye disease. Another might be unilateral treatment because of the ocular side effects and there are times when unilateral glaucoma may develop such as in the cause of trauma with iris recession or post HZO or HSV uveitis. Ocular side effects include iris and sometimes periorbital skin pigmentation changes, eyelash growth, hyperemia, and orbital fat loss. Some patients may also experience burning and stinging with these drops.

UnknownBeta Blockers:

Contraindications to this class are generally patients with pulmonary or heart disease. This class of drugs can cause bradycardia or a lowered heart rate, lower blood pressure and can induce arrhythmia in susceptible patients. There are even reports that beta-blockers can raise serum triglyceride levels. They can also cause bronchial constriction, adversely affecting patients with asthma or COPD for example. They can cause sexual dysfunction, reduced libido, general weakness, depression and other central nervous system (CNS) side effects as well. Because the use of beta blockers has increased as a second choice medication mainly via combination agents, we must educate patients about these side effects.

Selective Alpha Agonists:

Although this class is generally well tolerated, there is a high incidence of allergy to certain brands within the class and many experts advise against the use of this class in children because of the potential CNS side effects. By stimulating alpha-2 receptors of the CNS, there is the potential for orthostatic hypotension, low blood pressure, fatigue, headache, drowsiness and dry mouth.

Carbonic Anyhdrase Inhibitors:

In this class we use both the topical and the oral forms (e.g. use or oral diamox in acute angle closure cases) and contraindications/side effects can vary between the two. For the topical form, there are few if any contraindications. There is a rare risk of allergic cross-sensitivity in patients with significant sulfonamide allergies that should be ascertained. Side effects include burning, stinging and eye discomfort. In the oral form however, contraindications include patients with advanced kidney disease or a history of severe sulfonamide allergy. Reports of sickle cell crisis have also been reported in oral CAI use. Side effects range from metabolic acidosis and kidney stone formation to paresthesia (tingling or ‘pins and needles’ in the hands and feet), dysgeusia (change or distortion of taste), GI upset, memory problems, depression and dehydration.

Certainly the side effects general pale in comparison to the risk of blindness but the list may help you select more appropriate medications for each patient and perhaps increase drug compliance. Contraindications should be heeded however as they range from morbidity conditions to progression of disease and even potential death. A whole new set of topical glaucoma drugs and drug delivery-system treatments are set to reach US FDA approval in the next 12-18 months. These will be a welcome addition as they seem to address new mechanisms of action or have results that exceed existing medications. They may also have a lot less systemic disease effects, which could make them ideal primary or additional therapy treatments. We’ll discuss the glaucoma pipeline in a near future PECAA e-newsletter.

Member Spotlight: Opening a New Optometry Practice

ElDoVi-21Patti Bushnell

Member Spotlight: Opening a New Optometry Practice

By: Stacy Turner, OD & Patti Bushnell, Practice Manager
PECAA Members Since 2015

 

I have been a practicing Optometrist since 1988. From 1990 until 1998, I was the leaseholder of a Master Eye Associates in Plano, Texas. In October of 1998, I moved my practice to a private setting in Plano.. This practice (including all patient records) was subsequently sold to a partner in April, 2015. In October, 2015, I opened a new practice in McKinney, Texas. Although I have had some patients from my previous practice find me, the majority of the patients we see are new to the McKinney office.

PECAA fits into our budget & offers a wide array of services.

During the summer of 2015, we began to explore options for buying groups. After investigating many options, talking with some of our representatives, other eye care professionals, and interviewing many groups, we decided that PECAA had the most to offer and was at a cost that would fit into our budget. PECAA seemed to have a wide array of services available to the practice and they were very responsive to us when we had questions.

Website & Social Media Services:

ElDoVi-92Initially, we took advantage of the buying power with the vendors. We also signed up for Glimpse so that we could keep an eye on how the practice was doing on a daily basis and as compared to other practices. As the need arose, we used PECAA for printing our business cards and office brochures. Then we decided to have them create a website for us, as we weren’t pleased with the support we were getting from the previous company. The website PECAA designed is beautiful and incorporates our office colors. It is new, fresh, and uncluttered. Any changes we want to incorporate are done quickly. The web design staff is friendly and very responsive. Because PECAA designed the website, we decided to also use them for digital media. They put new material out frequently and have helped with Google+, Twitter, Facebook and website campaigns.

Personal practice visit with our MBA.

Stephanie Neilson, our MBA, has been to the practice twice. She schedules time to sit down with us and help us determine areas that need extra attention. She has also fielded questions we have had about many aspects of the practice, including optical sales and merchandising. We have confidence that if we ask her a question, she will either have the answer or will know how to get the information we need.

Peer-to-Peer Dinners:

So far, we have been able to attend all the Peer-to-Peer dinners in our area. The speakers and information have been excellent at each of these dinners. My only concern, is that these dinners are attended heavily by doctor staff and by very few doctors. It would be more helpful to have conversation between doctors, although, I don’t mind having staff attend in addition to the doctors.

Optical Merchandising Workshop:

We have also attended two one-day seminars. The first was a Practice Management Conference in Houston and was attended by myself and my practice manager. I was able to receive 4 hours of continuing education at no additional charge and the two of us received information that we were able to take back and put into practice. Most recently my practice manager, marketing manager, and lead optician attended the Optical Merchandising Workshop in Oklahoma City. They all felt that the material was well presented and enjoyed the psychological and analytical approach to board management and merchandising.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the depth of PECAA.

Finally, I feel that the wealth of information and services we have received from our PECAA membership are without equal. We have only scratched the surface of the depth of PECAA. PECAA is very accommodating to new practices with the discounts and programs that are available. We are looking forward to attending our first Annual Meeting this May in New Orleans.

 

5 Reasons Why Branding is Important to Your Business

jasonBy: Jason Karl, PECAA’s Graphic Designer

The eye care industry is ever-changing and in a competitive and dynamic marketplace, branding has never been more important. A brand is so much more than just a cool logo, it’s a way to build the value of your practice, motivate your staff, acquire new patients and increase profitability.

What is a brand?

Simply put, a brand is a visual and emotional representation of people’s perception of your business. Everything from your practice name, logo, colors, service, reputation and employees contribute to your overall brand identity. You only have once chance to make a first impression and your branding will set the tone for how patients perceive your practice from the very beginning. Here are 5 reasons why branding is important and how it can help your practice grow and stand out among the competition:

1. Build Recognition

logosOne of the most important elements of your brand is your logo. When you see a “swoosh” or the “golden arches” you automatically associate them with Nike and McDonald’s, without ever seeing the company name itself. You’re also likely to remember past experiences and your feelings toward the company. A powerful logo will help your patients recognize your practice right away among the competition. Make sure to include your logo on all communication pieces that patients interact with. Everything from your website to your business cards need to be branded with your logo.

2. Create Trust

A professional appearance builds credibility and trust among patients. People are more likely to choose a business that appears polished over one that seems sloppy or unprofessional. Everything from the signage in your window to the cleanliness of your waiting area is an extension of your brand and will create a level of trust. Our brains are hardwired to have an emotional reaction to things we see and those reactions, whether good or bad, will influence purchasing behavior.

3. Inspire & Retain Your Staff

A strong brand can inspire your staff and give them a feeling of belonging. When your staff understands your mission and connects with your brand they will be more likely to achieve goals and stay with you long-term. Your staff embodies the spirit of your brand. Their overall style and attitude needs to communicate the story you want to tell. Finding the right people who fit into the culture you’ve created is key.

ads4. Increase Profitability

Delivering an excellent experience in your practice will help retain existing patients, encourage them to spend more and increase your profitability. Your brand identity will contribute to the “feel” within your practice. Whether you want to evoke a feeling of luxury or affordability, create a setting that speaks to the message you want to send. If you connect with the patient’s needs and wants, you can sell more and increase profits.

5. Attract New Patients

Eye-catching graphics and a professional logo will capture attention and attract new patients. Whether it be online, through printed advertisements or simply the sign above your door, it’s important to maintain a consistent look and feel. Plus, great branding encourages referrals. If a patient has a great experience at your practice and connects with your brand, they are likely to tell their friends. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising source and is only possible when you’ve delivered a memorable experience and a lasting impression.

Get started today!

PECAA’s professional logo and design service can help you create a compelling brand. Our in-house Graphic Designer, Jason Karl, is available to work with you one-on-one to create custom branding for your practice, including logo design, print ads, postcards, business cards, digital ads and more! To learn more or get started with a project, contact Jason at 503.670.9200 or at: pcom.cloudroots.net/branding-design-print-services

Interested in an Additional $16,814 Revenue? Let’s Talk Facebook Advertising

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By Janice Pimentel, Social Media Specialist

A strong digital presence is key to business success.

In today’s marketing world, a strong digital presence is key to business success. Social Media has become the essential tool to leverage that presence and to tap into new revenue streams.

Already have a Facebook page for your business? Excellent, you are off to great start. Are you utilizing Facebook to its fullest potential? As PECAA’s Social Media expert, my job is to help you attract new patients to your practice – driving revenue growth and practice profitability.

With 1.49 billion active monthly users, Facebook has more users than Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp combined.¹ In the US, 72% of all online adults are active on Facebook and they spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the platform. ²³

Connect with the right audience.

bigstock-Pie-Charts-Composed-Of-People-108707330 [Converted]Simply put, Facebook is too big for you to ignore. This huge volume of traffic allows Facebook to gather numerous demographic and behavioral data which you can use to aim your advertising at the right audience and truly connect with prospective patients.

Imagine the number of people living within a 5-mile radius of your practice. For most practices that will be tens – even hundreds – of thousands of potential patients. Now imagine that you can segment all those people based on proximity, age, education, interests such as brands (Oakley, Coach, Michael Kors) or activities (golf, fishing, geocaching), to name but a few options. You can now take this carefully constructed list of prospects and deploy a Facebook advertising campaign specifically designed for them. Moreover; you only pay for the ad when someone from your target audience physically clicks through to visit your Facebook page or your practice website. This click-through to your page(s) is critical to winning new patients, so a robust Facebook presence and a modern website are key components to successful Facebook ad campaigns. It is also important to remember that Facebook ad campaigns are most effective when they are coordinated with events or promotions going on at your practice.

Grow Revenue & Profitability

Bryan Hoban is PECAA’s MBA Manager and his team helps hundreds of PECAA Members benchmark their business with our SuccessTRACK Production Tracking Software (powered by Glimpse). There are now over 385 practice locations on the tracking software and Bryan reports that the average revenue per patient in PECAA practices in 2015 was $336.27. This important piece of practice data allows me to precisely illustrate how Facebook advertising can grow your practice revenue and profitability.

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PECAA’s Social Media Service Can Help!

It is rare to find such effective marketing at such a low cost. PECAA’s Social Media services help you achieve great marketing results by working with you all the way through your campaign from creating your message to providing real time analytics of your success.

Ready to get started?

Contact janice@pecaa.com or call me at 503.670.9200

 

* PECAA charges $100 per Facebook Ad Campaign

1. https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

2. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/

3. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-time-people-spend-on-facebook-per-day-2015-7#ixzz3fKtewifD

Introducing PECAA Gives

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PECAA Gives…Join us as we make our vision a reality by helping us leave a positive, lasting impact on the communities where we come together.


 

We are thrilled to introduce the new PECAA Gives Program! Each year, PECAA hosts our Annual Meeting in a different U.S. city, where a group of 400+ guests embark upon the sights, sounds and culture of the city we’re in. The PECAA Gives program is an opportunity for us to give back to the communities we visit, leaving our footprint behind in a way that will positively impact the cities we visit long after we’re gone.

Edna Karr High2016 PECAA Gives Beneficiary

This year, May 19-21, 2016, the Annual Meeting will be held in New Orleans, LA, a city rich with culture and tradition. While preparing for our meeting, PECAA’s event planning team had the opportunity to experience the music of the Edna Karr High School marching band. Their unbelievable talent and spirit quickly captured our attention and stole our hearts.

As we watched them rehearse, we couldn’t help but notice the duct tape holding some of their instruments together. And yet…the spirit of these kids was infectious…their shy smiles, their proud stance, their positive interaction with each other, and the obvious respect they have for their teacher …they played their hearts out – it was a very touching experience. We all came away determined to find a way to donate to this amazing gem-of-a-program in the heart of NOLA.

We are proud to say that this year, PECAA Gives will be benefiting the Edna Karr High School music program! The marching band will be performing during our event and attendees will get to experience the creative talent and determined spirit of the students first-hand.

Edna Karr HighAbout Edna Karr High School’s Marching Band

As a rising star of this city, this particular school program has been featured by NPR, and was also recognized by England’s Lord Mayor of Winchester, Catherine Longworth, who recently invited the EK marching band to march and perform in London’s 2015 New Years Eve Parade – a high honor. Despite the economic differences among these kids, and some of the dire circumstances they face at home – Edna Karr has an impressive 98% graduation rate.

The EK music director (Chris Herrero) is a graduated student from the high school and returned four years ago after completing college to give back something vital; something life-altering to these kids – music. In the four years since his return, the program has more than doubled, along with well-deserved recognition and local awards. The music program has become a viable vehicle for kids to earn scholarships and overcome, against stacked odds; it truly is a lifeline.

Donate Today & Help us Reach our Goal of $10,000!

We invite you to join us in giving back to the community of New Orleans by donating to the music program of Edna Karr High School. The money raised will go toward new instruments for the students and your support will help them continue to share the spirit of New Orleans for generations to come!

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Local’s Guide to the Best Eats in New Orleans

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The Annual Meeting is less than two months away! Register now and join us May 19-21, 2016 in The Big Easy. During your stay you’ll definitely want to explore some of the highly acclaimed sights, sounds & tastes that make New Orleans one of the most unique cities in America.

PECAA’s event planning team interviewed several New Orleans locals to uncover the little-known, off-the-beaten path, local gems and eating establishments that the average tourist won’t likely stumble upon. There are so many treasures in this city…we encourage you to come early or stay late – but don’t miss some of these native “best-eats”!

Warehouse District:

The Warehouse District is adjacent to the Central Business District downtown (CBD) core – and is commonly known as the city’s arts district. Young professionals, empty nesters & even families who desire to be close to numerous dining and entertainment options call this neighborhood home. Here are some distinctive spots to top your list:

The delectable seafood at Peche, the innovative menu based on traditional Caribbean folk-tales found at Compere Lapin or the distinctive Southern dishes featured at Herbsaint. Both Cochon & Cochon Butcher, are two restaurant concepts making their mark respectively with mouthwatering Cajun Southern fare, and a sandwich shop inspired by old-world meat markets, and not to be overlooked, the original & flagship restaurant of celebrity Chef – Emerils New Orleans

Before you move on from this area, be sure to hop over to the downtown core (CBD) and check out: Domenica, located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel and known for their Artisanal Pizzas and other imaginative Italian dishes or Drago’s Seafood Restaurant – home of the Original Charbroiled Oysters.

Uptown/Garden District:

Both of these neighboring districts are rich with history and thriving, dynamic communities, and are also teaming with culinary treats. As eloquently expressed by one local,  “You could come to New Orleans and spend an entire month eating, and still not make it to all the best spots!” Here are a few culinary highlights not to be missed in this historic area of New Orleans:

The local’s favorite spot for a ‘Po-Boy, Domilise’s, a fine dining experience at Upperline Restaurant, a contemporary Creole brunch at Atchafalaya or the scrumptious Southern cuisine of Coquette.  Head over to Mr. John’s Steakhouse for a delectable steak, or the Barrel Proof for your choice of over 264 Whiskies & of course, your trip would not be complete without a stop at District: Donuts, Sliders & Brew – consistently named in the top ‘Best 20’ donut shops across America by sources like Thrillist, Eater & Leisure & Travel.

Freret:

A revitalized area of NOLA – Freret Street is a neighborhood packed with offbeat bars, restaurants, yoga studios, coffee shops and boutiques. You can’t go wrong in your wanderings, but definitely plan to hit: Dat Dog (a New Orleans original), a casual & delicious neighborhood spot, High Hat Cafe, a mouthwatering burger experience at The Company Burger, the Cure for a craft cocktail and don’t miss GASAGASA – an amazing venue to soak in the talent of up & coming musical artists.

Bywater & Faubourg Marigny Districts:

Two of New Orleans most distinct and well-kept secrets, these neighborhoods are just minutes from the French Quarter and combine the old-time New Orleans culture with a hip, contemporary bohemianism. Not surprising that some of the most inspired native and noteworthy culinary hotspots are found here. How will you ever choose?

The Joint – featuring crazy-good BBQ, Pizza Delicious (it’s all in the name), Oxalis – a restaurant classic, with a Whiskey focus,  Booty’s Street Food featuring ‘Around the World Tasting’,  The Franklin, Oysters & Raw Bar, and the brand new concept of St. Roch Market – a southern food hall featuring a plethora of local food & beverage purveyors
– which we put our firm stamp of approval on!  Where else can you taste so much culinary talent, all under one roof?

French Quarter:

And last, but not least, we arrive at the French Quarter – alive with multitudes of flavors to tempt your tastebuds.  You’ll discover a vast array of cornerstone clubs, bars and celebrity cuisine classics on your own, but if you are a local? Here is where they tend to hang out:

Bar Tonique – featuring original, adapted & classic cocktails, plus an eclectic variety of beer & wine,  Erin Rose – where all the local musicians & artists congregate for cocktails or the reputed ‘oldest structure used as bar’ Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar – built in 1722.  And one of our personal favorites, Pirates Alley Cafe & Absinthe Bar – a unique
& charming 12 seat bar that pays homage to the pirates that once walked the streets of New Orleans, bringing their plundered goods for trade – but also infusing a rich diversity of culture and custom.

Enjoy rustic colonial cuisine at Cane & Table, fine dining at R’evolution or arguably, the best burger in NOLA at Port of Call. And while tourists flock in droves to the renowned Cafe Du Monde for beignets, many locals prefer the delectable pastry treats located a few blocks away at
Le Croissant d’Or.

Have we managed to tempt your palate yet?  We can’t wait to hear about your NOLA adventures when we see you at the Annual Meeting in May!

2016 AM Logo-01

Are you excited yet? We are! We’ll meet you in NOLA for the 2016 Annual Meeting and a true taste of Big Easy culture! Visit pcom.cloudroots.net/2016-annual-meeting for complete details.

Register Now!

Registration for the 2016 Annual Meeting is open! The event is open to both doctors and staff and there is a limited amount of space available so please register early to secure your spot at this can’t miss event! Please note that each individual person from your practice who plans to attend will need to submit their own separate registration form. Five total people, including at least one doctor, may register for the meeting.

REGISTER NOW

Book Hotel:

You are responsible for booking your hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott. Please note that registering for the meeting does not mean your hotel room as been booked. Click the link below to book your room now through PECAA’s online reservation site:

BOOK HOTEL

13 Must-See Streets in New Orleans

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The Annual Meeting is only weeks away, taking place in one of the nation’s most exciting and spirited cities, New Orleans! Join us May 19-21, 2016 for PECAA’s signature event of the year!

To help you make the most of your time in New Orleans, here is a list of the “must-see” streets to visit. Whether you want to hit a mecca of boutique shopping, focus your energy on avant-garde art galleries, revel in the rich history of original mansions and elegant homes, or just want to scope out the most diverse areas for entertainment – this list will put you in the know.

stcharlesave.11. St. Charles Avenue
Take a ride on the streetcar to discover the historic mansions along this oak-lined avenue. Popular stops include the Columns Hotel and Audubon Park. During Mardi Gras season this is the place to be for parade-watching. Read more about St. Charles Avenue.

2. Canal Street
Originally designed to be the city’s main street, Canal Street lies between the French Quarter and the Central Business District. This is a great starting point for all your New Orleans adventures, especially since you can hop on the red Canal Street streetcars to head out to a number of spots in Mid-City, including the New Orleans Museum of Art and Mandina’s Restaurant. Read more about Canal Street.

New Orleans, Bourbon Street At Night, Skyline Photography3. Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is world famous for its nightlife and is the perfect starting point for a bachelor party or girls’ night out. But if you know where to look, Bourbon Street is also home to historic bars, jazz and burlesque clubs. Check out Fritzel’s or Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, or treat yourself to a meal at Galatoire’s, which has been serving upscale Creole cuisine since 1905. Read more about Bourbon Street.

4. Magazine Street
Magazine Street has six whole miles of boutique shopping from Uptown to the Lower Garden District. You’ll also find both high-end and casual dining, spas and salons, coffee shops and art galleries along this commercial stretch. Read more about Magazine Street.

5. Royal Street
Though it runs parallel to Bourbon Street, Royal Street feels like a whole other world. Lined with art galleries, antique shops and fine dining, this street is full of culture and history, and it is known to have some of the most stunning architecture in the city. Read more about Royal Street.

_RC346776. Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is the heart and soul of New Orleans’ live music scene. Most bars and clubs have no cover charge, making it easy to wander in and out and experience a variety of artists and styles. Check out local favorite spots like Spotted Cat or d.b.a. Read more about Frenchmen Street.

7. Esplanade Avenue
Stretching from the French Quarter all the way to City Park, Esplanade Avenue was historically the home of the Creole upper class. Today you can still see many of the original elegant homes and townhouses along the oak-lined avenue. Rent a bike and take in the sights! Read more about Esplanade Street.

s.whitelinen.18. Julia Street
Located in the New Orleans Arts District, locals have nicknamed Julia Street “Gallery Row.” The street is lined with prestigious galleries housing works by some of the South’s most accomplished artists. The galleries host monthly art walks and openings on the first Saturday of the month, but locals really flock to the District’s two biggest annual block parties, Art for Arts Sake and White Linen Night. Read more about Julia Street!

9. Oak Street
Once the main street of the historic Town of Carrolton, Oak Street has been revitalized and gives the present neighborhood a small town feel. Several restaurants, shops and bars line the street, including Maple Leaf Bar, one of the city’s most famous music clubs. It’s also the location of one of the year’s most delicious festivals, the Oak Street Po-Boy Fest. Read more about Oak Street.

10. Maple Street
Running parallel to St. Charles Avenue, near both Tulane and Loyola Universities, Maple Street is a haven for students and academics. The street is lined with boutique shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and affordable bars. Read more about Maple Street.

Freret-Dat-Dog11. Freret Street
Freret Street has experienced a true transformation in the years following Hurricane Katrina. The corridor is full of offbeat bars and restaurants, yoga studios, coffee shops and boutiques. Check out Cure, one of the leaders in NOLA’s craft cocktail scene, or grab a hot dog topped with crawfish étouffée from the original location of Dat Dog. Read more about Freret Street.

 

Past_Conference_0512. Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Made famous for its residents’ efforts during the Civil Rights Movement, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is known for its rich ethnic diversity and creative energy. Today the street hosts the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the New Orleans Jazz Market. Read more about Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.

13. St. Claude Avenue
A haven for artists, performers and co-ops, St. Claude Avenue is home to some of the most avant-garde galleries and performance spaces in the city, as well as a number of affordably hip restaurants. See a comedy show at The New Movement or join a late-night dance party at Hi Ho Lounge. Read more about St. Claude Avenue.

 


2016 AM Logo-01

Are you excited yet? We are! We’ll meet you in NOLA for the 2016 Annual Meeting and a true taste of Big Easy culture! Visit pcom.cloudroots.net/2016-annual-meeting for complete details.

Register Now!

Registration for the 2016 Annual Meeting is open! The event is open to both doctors and staff and there is a limited amount of space available so please register early to secure your spot at this can’t miss event! Please note that each individual person from your practice who plans to attend will need to submit their own separate registration form. Five total people, including at least one doctor, may register for the meeting.

REGISTER NOW

Book Hotel:

You are responsible for booking your hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott. Please note that registering for the meeting does not mean your hotel room as been booked. Click the link below to book your room now through PECAA’s online reservation site:

BOOK HOTEL

Understanding Allergic Conjunctivitis

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Understanding Allergic Conjunctivitis

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

If you are anything like me, your eyes tend to gloss over when you’re presented with lecture slides of pathophysiology and the associated immunology. However, in the case of allergic conjunctivitis, an improved understanding of basic immunology will help you select the best treatment option. With March being a key month for ocular allergies in many states, it makes sense to visit this condition.

Unknown-1If you look at the typical illustrations, you’ll see that allergen binding to immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and crosslinking of IgE on the mast cell surface results in degranulation during the early stages of allergic conjunctivitis. This process causes a release of histamine, chymase/tryptase and platelet activating factors, which subsequently yields a variety of symptoms, such as itching in particular.

Likewise, the late phase involves the release of newly synthesized mediators, including leukotrienes, prostaglandins, cytokines, etc. This produces an inflammatory response, causing chemosis, increased hyperemia and the recruitment of more inflammatory cells.

So, how can be we apply this knowledge in daily clinical care? In general, during the acute or early phase—when symptoms like itching are present—the ideal medication would be an antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer agent. This would include patients who present with severe itching. Examples include Bepreve (bepotastine besilate, Bausch + Lomb), Pazeo (Olopadadine 0.7%, Alcon ), or Lastacaft (Alcaftadine 0.25%, Allergan). Also ketotifen (Zaditor, Alaway) over the counter are other options should branded medications be cost-prohibitive. Keep in mind that many company’s offer patient discounts and coupons during the allergy season making branded medications similar in cost so be sure to ask you reps about those.

If, however, allergic conjunctivitis has been present for some time, and thus the late phase is involved, the best medications to treat leukotrienes, prostaglandins and cytokines are topical corticosteroids, such as Alrex (loteprednol etabonate, Bausch + Lomb).

Another way to look at this to make it very straight forward is if symptoms of itching are the primary complaint with few other symptoms or signs, then an anti-histamine/mast cell stabilizer is the best option. If however there is more than itching or signs such as chemosis, injection and edema are present, a topical steroid is likely to be the more effective option.

It’s also valuable to include palliative therapies for these patients such as cool compresses (Bruder Healthcare Cool Compress mask as an example) for the edema and inflammatory responses and preservative free artificial tears to wash away the allergens.

7 Interesting New Orleans Facts

7 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About New Orleans…

We are ramping up for PECAA’s biggest Annual Meeting yet, May 19-21, 2016 at the New Orleans Marriott located in the heart of the French Quarter. We can’t wait to welcome you to New Orleans, a city brimming with history, incredible food, drink and entertainment!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sending out New Orleans fun facts, tid-bits of history and hints about the experiences we have planned for you. To start off, check out our Seven Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About New Orleans:

e534ecf1d6d389b1284dc347a96a0bb71. It’s All In The Pronunciation!
It’s pronounced New Or-linz, not Nawlins or certainly not New Orleenz. Brush up on your pronunciation here, so you’ll fit right in!

2. Did Someone Say Alcoholic Beverages?
There are no strict open container laws in New Orleans. Visitors are always amazed to find that you can walk around outside while sipping an adult beverage. On the other hand, NOLA natives are always amazed to find that in other cities, you can’t!

Want a drink-on-the go? Just ask the bartender for a “go-cup” and be on your way! You can even get drinks at drive-through daiquiri shops (sorry, if you’re driving, you can’t put your straw in the drink!)

pbrgkixhoby4vc01yqbw3. The Dead Aren’t Even Buried Underground
The average elevation of New Orleans is currently between 1-2 feet below sea level, with some portions of the city as high as 20 feet, and as low as 7 feet below sea level in the furthest reaches of Eastern NOLA. Because of the city’s unique elevation, New Orleans cemeteries are above-ground. It’s actually very popular to take tours of these distinctive graveyards.

4. “Yat” Dialect
When Someone says ‘Where y’at?’ they don’t want to know where you physically are, rather it’s a question on your state of being (and a great introduction to the local “Yat” dialect). Similarly, ‘Who dat?” is not a question of identity; it’s the official New Orleans Saints fan chant. If you are lucky enough to experience a Saints game, be prepared to join in the shouting, “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?!” Check out these Colorful Words of NOLA to fully arm yourself to blend with the Natives!

Bourbon Street, New Orleans5. Frenchmen Street vs. Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street has a colorful history and has long-been a cornerstone of the French Quarter, with a vast array of food, bar and entertainment establishments up & down this busy hub. A place you may not have heard about is a local gem where the natives head; Frenchmen Street. This area is a mecca of live musicians, found both inside and outside the clubs, restaurants and bars. The debate between Bourbon vs. Frenchmen continues, so be sure to visit both and you be the judge!

tortoice6. Alligator & Turtle are Readily Available Delicacies
The turtle soup at Commander’s Palace is a New Orleans culinary classic, but you’ll find delicious renditions of turtle soup all around the city. Alternatively, there’s no shortage of alligator dishes to check out – from fried alligator to alligator po’ boys to the alligator cheesecake at Jacques-Imo’s. Smack your lips around a local delicacy, you might be surprised just how tasty they are!

brad-pitt-angelina-jolie7. This City Has a Ton of Famous Residents
New Orleans is filled with local celebrities. Sandra Bullock, Solange Knowles, John Goodman, Lil Wayne, and Brangelina (just to name a few) all have houses in New Orleans. Keep your eyes peeled…you never know who you might bump into!

2016 AM Logo-01

Are you excited yet? We are! We’ll meet you in NOLA for the 2016 Annual Meeting and a true taste of Big Easy culture! Visit pcom.cloudroots.net/2016-annual-meeting for complete details.

Register Now!

Registration for the 2016 Annual Meeting is open! The event is open to both doctors and staff and there is a limited amount of space available so please register early to secure your spot at this can’t miss event! Please note that each individual person from your practice who plans to attend will need to submit their own separate registration form. Five total people, including at least one doctor, may register for the meeting.

REGISTER NOW

Book Hotel:

You are responsible for booking your hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott. Please note that registering for the meeting does not mean your hotel room as been booked. Click the link below to book your room now through PECAA’s online reservation site:

BOOK HOTEL

Turn Your Practice Data Into Higher Productivity & Profits

Turn Your Practice Data Into Higher Productivity & Profits

Join PECAA for a one hour, COPE approved webinar on “Better Practice Management Using Key Performance Indicators” (COPE ID # 47263-PM) This course is designed to give Doctors, Practice Administrators and Optical Managers insight into how to better manage their practices. Plus earn one hour of free COPE CE!

Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Pacific Time

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW

PECAA_Portraits-020Presented by: Doug Martin, Director of Member Services
Better information means better decision making. This webinar will show you how to take data from your practice management system and turn it into powerful analytics. Doug will explain how to measure, monitor and evaluate the data in order to maximize productivity, systems effectiveness and profitability. You will learn the most important KPI’s to monitor, how to calculate them and how to communicate and reward improvement.

Key Learning Objectives:

• Understanding how to use information and analytics to improve your business
• How to measure, monitor, and report different segments within the practice
• How to communicate, set goals and reward results

poweredbyQO2012Earn 1 Hour Free COPE CE Credit:
This course is approved for one hour COPE CE credit. A unique PECAA coupon code will be provided during the live session so attendees can access the course, take the required test and earn CE credit.

Webinar Recording:
If you are unable to join us for the live session, the webinar will be recorded and available to access at a time that is more convenient for you. If you cannot attend the live session, please go ahead and register for the webinar and we will email you a link to the recording.

If you have any questions, please contact the PECAA Office toll-free at 1.877.454.5105 or email info@pecaa.com

Preseptal Cellulitis

paulPreseptal Cellulitis

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

 

A 16 year old patient presents with a history of multiple hordeola that now appears as a preseptal cellulitis, what medications are best for the treatment?

Step one in all cases of a potential preseptal cellulitis is to rule out an orbital cellulitis. That is to ensure that the patient has full EOM’s, is not experiencing diplopia, there is no pain on eye movement and no relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD). Once that’s confirmed, then treatment for a preseptal cellulitis requires oral medications. The best options are medications that work well with soft tissue:

Unknown1. Augmentin 875mg BID (or 500mg TID) provided the patient is not allergic to penicillin. Another contraindication – especially to the 875mg pill is a patient that has difficulty swallowing pills as these are large pills

2. Keflex 500mg BID. This is a cephalosporin and their is the rare potential of a cross reaction to people who are allergic to penicillin. It seems to work well but due to it’s effectiveness in soft tissue disorders

3. Bactrim mg BID. Patients with sulpha allergies would be contraindicated and this medication would typically be used if MRSA is cultured, diagnosed or highly suspected.

4. Doxycycline 100mg BID. Although contraindicated in pregnant or nursing women and perhaps even in women of child bearing age, this medication may also help due to it’s strong anti-inflammatory properties

5. Azithromycin – 5 day Z-pack. This may be an option if most of the above medications are contraindicated and could help with the condition

Keep in mind that all of these medications (with the exception of the Z-pack being 5 days) should be used for the entire 7 consecutive days even if the condition resolves sooner. It is also important to look for preseptal cellulitis in children who present with a conjunctivitis. A reddish sheen around the eye is a clear indication of preseptal cellulitis. Because Haemophilus influenza is such a common pathogen in childhood conjunctivitis and is prone to preseptal cellulitis, clinicians should be on the look out for it.

2016 Annual Meeting Early Bird Registration Open!

Assorted colorful Mardi Gras mask on yellow background

2016 Annual Meeting Early Bird Registration Open!

Maybe you’ve been to New Orleans…Maybe you’ve been to a PECAA Annual Meeting…But you’ve never been to a PECAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Experience the Big Easy like never before!

Join us May 19-21, 2016 at the New Orleans Marriott located in the heart of the French Quarter for the 2016 Annual Meeting.

• Dynamic speakers

• Business-focused education

• COPE approved CE lectures

• Peer-to-peer breakouts

• Vendor exhibit hall – meet with 58 of PECAA’s Vendor Partners

• Unforgettable experience in New Orleans!

Registration:

Early bird registration for the 2016 Annual Meeting is now open! The event is open to both doctors and staff and there is a limited amount of space available so please register early to secure your spot at this can’t miss event! Please note that each individual person from your practice who plans to attend will need to submit their own separate registration form. Five total people, including at least one doctor, may register for the meeting.

REGISTER NOW

msyla_phototour119Book Hotel:

You are responsible for booking your hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott. Please note that registering for the meeting does not mean your hotel room as been booked. Click the link below to book your room now through PECAA’s online reservation site:

BOOK HOTEL

Schedule of Events: General Session

Thursday, May 19th:

1:30pm – 1:45pm – Welcome
1:45pm – 5:00pm – Dr. Paul Karpecki CE & PECAA Presentation
6:30pm – 9:00pm – Welcome Reception on the Creole Queen Paddle Wheeler
9:00pm – Explore the French Quarter

Friday, May 20th:

7:00am – 8:00am – Breakfast & Vendor Exhibits
8:00am – 10:00am – General Session Speakers
10:00am – 10:15am – Break
10:15am – 11:30am – Peer-to-Peer Breakouts
11:30am – 1:15pm – Lunch & Vendor Exhibits
1:30pm – 3:00pm – General Session Speakers
3:00pm – 5:00pm – Happy Hour & Vendor Exhibits
6:30pm – 10:00pm – Member Appreciation Dinner at Generations Hall

Saturday, May 21st:

7:00am – 8:00am – Breakfast & Vendor Exhibits
8:00am – 10:00am – General Session Speakers
10:00am – 11:00am – Peer-to-Peer Breakouts
11:00am – 11:30am – Closing Remarks
11:30am – 1:00pm – Lunch & Vendor Exhibits

Introducing two all-new staff tracks!

Attending staff can choose from two all-new education tracks, our Staff Track designed for practice and optical staff or our Management Track designed for practice managers and administrators.

Staff Track:

  • Patient Engagement
  • Patient Outcomes
  • Patient Experience
  • Romancing The Dispense

Management Track:

  • Finding & Unleashing Your Leader Within
  • KPI’s
  • Effective Leadership
  • Romancing The Dispense

* Please register for only 1 of the tracks – either Staff Track OR Management Track

Evening Events

Experience New Orleans and join us for our two evening events on Thursday and Friday! Our evening events are open to all attendees including doctors, staff, guests and vendors.

CQ005_1394058527Creole Queen

Join us on Thursday, May 19th for dinner and a river cruise on the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler. Please note, we will be walking a few short blocks as a group from the hotel to the boat dock.

 

 

neworleans-event-venue4Generations Hall

Friday’s evening event will give you a true taste of New Orleans and the culture of the Big Easy! We will be walking the streets of New Orleans in true Mardi Gras fashion, ending with a dinner and celebration at Generations Hall.

Kick Off The New Year With Think About Your Eyes

Kick Off The New Year With Think About Your Eyes

Think About Your Eyes - Logo

2016 is right around the corner and the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) campaign is geared up for another fantastic year!

• A new TV and Radio commercial is being finalized right now, to run in early 2016 on presbyopia. This messaging will speak to a key age group of our overall target demographic – those with arms becoming to short to read up close!

• A bump in TV and radio spots of almost 20%!

• As of January 1st, 2016, we will have 27 states at the Leadership level.

• Through 2016 we hope to add another 10 to 15 states bringing on every association member to the TAYE locator, with higher visibility to searching patients.


 

Start 2016 with your own premium listing on ThinkAboutYourEyes.com

logos

PECAA, along with our Premier Vendor Partners Luxottica and HOYA, are pleased to offer an exciting program with Think About Your Eyes, exclusively for PECAA Members! Proven to grow eye exams, Think About Your Eyes reaches millions of consumers through powerful national advertising campaigns and educational messages. You now have the opportunity to receive a Premium listing on their doctor locator – at a huge savings!

 


 

PECAA Members Save on a Premium Listing!

As a current PECAA Member and customer of Luxottica and HOYA, you can now save $250 on a Premium annual listing on thinkaboutyoureyes.com!

Premium Annual Listing Exclusive Pricing:

•  Standard price for premium annual listing: $500

•  PECAA, Luxottica and HOYA will each pay $50 toward the cost of the listing **

•  TAYE/AOA will pay $100 toward the cost of the listing *

•  Reducing your out-of-pocket cost to only $250 – a 50% discount!

* Must be a current Luxottica customer to qualify * Must be a current HOYA customer and purchase a minimum of $2500 per quarter to qualify * Must be an AOA Member to qualify

 


 

Five New Leadership States Added!

TAYE added five new states at the leadership level including Oregon, Idaho, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey. If your state optometric association is at the State Leadership level, and you are a member, you can save even more! Practices located in leadership states will receive an extra $200 incentive, lowering your final cost to only $50!

Think About Your Eyes is always adding new state associations to the list of leadership states. Currently, the following states are at the leadership level: South Dakota, North Dakota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Washington, Mississippi, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa Arkansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey.

 


 

Get Started Now!

Contact Think About Your Eyes today to sign up and find out what your exact Premium listing price will be.

Jon Torrey, Director of Professional Relations
703.548.6736
jtorrey@thinkaboutyoureyes.com

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome: A Diagnostic Challenge

paulFloppy Eyelid Syndrome: A Diagnostic Challenge

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

 

Patients who present with floppy eyelid syndrome frequently are misdiagnosed. Here’s why.

Floppy eyelid syndrome (FES) is a relatively rare condition that often masquerades as dry eye disease. Patients may exhibit clinical signs of chronic superficial punctate keratopathy (SPK) and blepharitis, as well as more acute symptoms of ocular dryness and grittiness. In this month’s column, we’ll examine the most effective diagnostic and management strategies for FES and its associated ophthalmic complications.

Findings

image1The lack of tight eyelid closure in patients with FES yields chronic corneal and conjunctival inflammation. This persistent irritation often leads to edema, chemosis, staining and occasional epithelial abrasions.1

Everting the upper eyelids frequently reveals an extremely elastic eyelid, and patients may even complain of spontaneous lid eversion. The upper eyelid also may reveal the presence of papillae secondary to chronic trauma.2

Many patients with FES may have a genetic or developmental problem that reduces the inherent structural rigidity of collagen or elastin tissues.3,4 Multiple studies have indicated that patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience a partial collapse of the pharynx when breathing in while sleeping, resulting in loud snoring and gasping for air. Some authors have theorized that, like the upper tarsal plate, the pharynx may lack the necessary structural integrity for proper function.5,6 Other researchers cite that a high percentage of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes located on the ocular surface and eyelids may, in fact, damage the elastic fibers present in the eyelid.7

Further, patients with FES are more likely to develop keratoconus secondary to a potential structural integrity defect or repetitive nocturnal eye rubbing.8

Diagnosis

FES frequently is under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed by eye care providers because patients often present with concurrent SPK and advanced MGD. So, you must carefully evaluate the individual for more unique signs and symptoms of FES to help confirm the diagnosis.

For example, be sure to look for a stringy mucous discharge or evidence of severe ocular itch. FES patients also may report a history of corneal abrasions in the complete absence of traumatic insult. Additionally, because of the strong association between FES and OSA, remember to ask the patient about symptoms of fatigue, headache, and sleeping or breathing problems.8,9

Management

Treating the symptoms associated with FES may work for mild cases but, as the condition advances, eyelid-tightening surgery typically is required. Initial treatments for the ocular surface inflammation and SPK may include ample lubrication with artificial tears. For more severe presentations, topical difluprednate 0.5% BID and loteprednol 0.5% QID could be used to control the initial inflammation. Be sure, however, to taper the loteprednol to BID in cases that require long-term treatment and monitor IOP.

If a corneal abrasion is present, you must treat it with ample lubrication and topical antibiotics before initiating anti-inflammatory therapy. In some instances, the patient may require a bandage lens or overnight patching to help heal the abrasion. Patients with corneal abrasions also may benefit from the use of bland ointments at night. Additionally, antibiotic ointments (i.e., erythromycin) or corticosteroid ointments (i.e., loteprednol or fluoromethalone) may facilitate rapid healing in highly inflamed cases that exhibit significant papillae.

In severe or non-responsive cases of FES, eyelid tightening surgery often is the only effective treatment option.10 Following the procedure, you must maintain the best possible ocular surface conditions via artificial tears, punctal plugs and therapeutics for chronic SPK.

Finally, don’t forget to manage the associated systemic disease components, including sleep apnea. Refer patients with OSA to a sleep specialist or pulmonologist.11 Interestingly, OSA management actually may actually help reverse or eliminate the signs and symptoms of FES.12 It is also important to be aware of serious ocular findings that are more common in patients with both FES and OSA, including glaucoma and non- arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy.13

FES is a rare condition––and typically, it is these less common conditions that are often overlooked or misdiagnosed. Because the symptoms of FES are similar to those associated with ocular surface disease, it makes the diagnosis significantly more difficult to confirm. But, with cautious observation and a thorough differential, you can help identify and manage patients FES patients early in the disease process and minimize their discomfort.

 

 

1. Moscato EE, Jian-Amadi A. Floppy eyelid syndrome. Compr Ophthalmol Update. 2007 Mar-Apr;8(2):59-65.

2. Kestelyn P, van Liefferinge T, Goes F, et al. A rare case of chronic papillary conjunctivitis diagnosed after several years of evolution. Clinical and pathological findings. Bull Soc Belge Ophtalmol. 1993;248:61-6.

3. Karger RA, White WA, Park WC, et al. Prevalence of floppy eyelid syndrome in obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome. Ophthalmology. 2006;113(9):1669-74.

4. Lee WJ, Kim JC, Shyn KH. Clinical evaluation of corneal diseases associated with floppy eyelid syndrome. Korean J Ophthalmol. 1996 Dec;10(2):116-21.

5. Netland PA, Sugrue SP, Albert DM, et al. Histopathologic features of the floppy eyelid syndrome. Involvement of tarsal elastin. Ophthalmology. 1994 Oct;10(1)1:174-81.

6. Ezra DG, Beaconsfield M, Collin R. Floppy eyelid syndrome: stretching the limits. Surv Ophthalmol. 2010;55(1):35-46.

7. Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Stojkovic M, Hofmann-Rummelt C, et al. The pathogenesis of floppy eyelid syndrome: involvement of matrix metalloproteinases in elastic fiber degradation. Ophthalmology. 2005 Apr;112(4):694-704.

8. Ezra DG, Beaconsfield M, Sira M et al. The associations of floppy eyelid syndrome: a case control study Ophthalmology. 2010 Apr;117(4):831-8.

9. Waller EA, Bendel RE Kaplan J. Sleep disorders and the eye. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008 Nov;83(11):1251-61.

10. Ezra DG, Beaconsfield M, Sira M et al. Long-term outcomes of surgical approaches to the treatment of floppy eyelid syndrome. Ophthalmology. 2010 Apr;117(4):839-46.

11. Leibovitch I, Selva D. Floppy eyelid syndrome: clinical features and the association with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Med. 2006 Mar;7(2):117-22.

12. McNab AA. Reversal of floppy eyelid syndrome with treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2000;28(2):125-6.

13. Abdal H, Pizzimenti JJ, Purvis CC. The eye in sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep Med. 2006 Mar;7(2):107-15.

 

PECAA Hosts Fall Business Symposiums in San Diego & Charlotte

PECAA Hosts Fall Business Symposiums in San Diego & Charlotte

PECAA, nationwide Doctor Alliance Group for Independent Doctors, held two Business Symposiums this fall, one on the west coast and one on the east coast. Business Symposium West was held October 16-17, 2015 at the Estancia Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, CA and Business Symposium East was held November 6-7, 2015 at the Le Meridien Hotel in Charlotte, NC. This is the first time the group has split their annual fall Business Symposiums into two regional events, in order to accommodate their growing membership across the U.S.

PECAA COO Chris Millet in General Session in San Diego

The two smaller member events provided an intimate setting and were open to both PECAA Member doctors and staff. Just under 100 doctors and staff attended Business Symposium West in San Diego and 75 doctors and staff attended Business Symposium East in Charlotte. Both events were sponsored by PECAA’s Vendor Partners, ZEISS, HOYA, Vistakon, VSP, Luxottica and Bausch + Lomb, who each had informational tables setup during the events for attendees to visit.

The Business Symposiums featured business-focused education and offered five hours of COPE and six hours of ABO, all at no additional cost to attendees.

PECAA Clinical Director Dr. Paul Karpecki presenting in San Diego

“This was my first PECAA meeting as a member,” said Jennifer Burke, OD, from Clear Vision Eye Centers in Boulder City, NV. who attended Business Symposium West in San Diego. “I will definitely take advantage of every meeting from now on! I learned great information on clinical practice, business management, marketing and where the industry is headed. PECAA as a group made it clear that they listen to our concerns and will do everything in their power to make membership the most worthwhile.”

All attending doctors and staff began in General Session with a one hour COPE course. Kelly Kerksick, OD presented “The Nuts & Bolts of ICD-10” (COPE ID# 46015-PM) at Business Symposium West and Samantha Toth, ABOC presented “Secrets to Leading & Implementing Change” (COPE ID# 43976-PM) at East. PECAA’s Clinical Director, Dr. Paul Karpecki presented a two hour COPE course,” Developing a Process of Differential Diagnosis in Anterior Segment Disease” (COPE ID# 38156-AS) in San Diego and Dr. Scott Jens, CEO of RevolutionEHR, presented a two hour COPE course, “The ABC’s of ICD-10 (COPE ID# 46244-PM) in Charlotte.

Speaker Samantha Toth in General Session in Charlotte

General session lectures at both West and East included; “Optometry: A Gateway Into The Healthcare System”, by Pat Hout and sponsored by Vistakon, “(At Least) 50 Shades of Grey: Parsing the “Sex” in Sexual Harassment” (COPE ID# 46831-PM) by Josh Sears, Attorney, and sponsored by Bausch + Lomb, “Better Practice Management Using Key Performance Indicators” (COPE ID# 46834-PM) by Doug Martin and sponsored by Luxottica, “A Disease Called Commoditization” by Greg Hicks, OD and sponsored by HOYA and “Conflict Resolution: Reconciling Differences to Generate Opportunities” by Stephen Farebrother and sponsored by VSP.

PECAA Membership Manager Sara Campbell presenting in the Practice Management Workshop

Both meetings offered two workshop tracks for attending staff, including the group’s popular Optical Merchandising Workshop and the all-new Practice Management Workshop. The Optical Merchandising Track was led by PECAA’s Director of Member Services, Doug Martin and Bill Gerber, Founder and Creative Director from OMG! Optical Marketing Group.

Lectures included two, one-hour ABO courses, “Merchandising 101: The Seven Fundamentals of Great Merchandising” and “Selling Premium Products” both presented by Doug Martin. Bill Gerber presented “The New Rules of Optical Retailing”, “Selling Skills” and “The Power of Promotions.”

The Practice Management Track included two, one-hour ABO courses, “Romancing The Dispense” by Sara Campbell and “HIPAA Compliance” by Josh Sears. Additional courses included; “ICD-10 Troubleshooting Q&A” presented by Teri Thurston, “Effectively Communicating With Patients” presented by Michael Hecker and Marc Atkin and sponsored by Alcon Labs and “KPI’s: Implementing Change, Growing Your Practices” presented by Tyler Judkins and Stephanie Neilson.

Peer-to-Peer breakout session

All attendees also participated in Peer-to-Peer breakouts, where they were divided into small groups designed to facilitate in-depth conversation and idea exchange on the topics presented during the meeting. Attendees were grouped with colleagues who have similar practice demographics to their own.

Business Symposium West included an evening reception on the Admiral Hornblower Cruise, which toured the San Diego Bay. Bollywood dancers provided entertainment with dancing and music. Business Symposium East attendees enjoyed an evening at Charlotte’s NASCAR Hall of Fame.

(L-R) Alesia Hicks & Dr. Kelly Summers from Allisonville Eye Care in Fishers, IN at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

(L-R) Teresa Wiser, Heather Branderhorst & Dr. Carol Marusich from Lifetime Eye Care in Eugene, OR on the Admiral Hornblower Cruise

PECAA is currently planning for their 2016 Annual Meeting, May 19-21 in New Orleans, LA. Member registration will open on Fat Tuesday, February 9, 2016. Details can be found at pcom.cloudroots.net/2016-annual-meeting

Looking Ahead to 2016 With Think About Your Eyes

Looking Ahead to 2016 With Think About Your Eyes

Think About Your Eyes - Logo

As we approach the end of 2015, we’re putting in place all the components to make 2016 another great year for the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) campaign. These include:

• A new TV and Radio commercial is being finalized right now, to run in early 2016 on presbyopia. This messaging will speak to a key age group of our overall target demographic – those with arms becoming to short to read up close!

• A bump in TV and radio spots of almost 20%!

• As of January 1st, 2016, we will have 27 states at the Leadership level.

• Through 2016 we hope to add another 10 to 15 states bringing on every association member to the TAYE locator, with higher visibility to searching patients.


 

Start 2016 with your own premium listing on ThinkAboutYourEyes.com

logos

PECAA, along with our Premier Vendor Partners Luxottica and HOYA, are pleased to offer an exciting program with Think About Your Eyes, exclusively for PECAA Members! Proven to grow eye exams, Think About Your Eyes reaches millions of consumers through powerful national advertising campaigns and educational messages. You now have the opportunity to receive a Premium listing on their doctor locator – at a huge savings!

 


 

PECAA Members Save on a Premium Listing!

As a current PECAA Member and customer of Luxottica and HOYA, you can now save $250 on a Premium annual listing on thinkaboutyoureyes.com!

Premium Annual Listing Exclusive Pricing:

•  Standard price for premium annual listing: $500

•  PECAA, Luxottica and HOYA will each pay $50 toward the cost of the listing **

•  TAYE/AOA will pay $100 toward the cost of the listing *

•  Reducing your out-of-pocket cost to only $250 – a 50% discount!

* Must be a current Luxottica customer to qualify * Must be a current HOYA customer and purchase a minimum of $2500 per quarter to qualify * Must be an AOA Member to qualify

 


 

State Optometric Association Leadership Level

If your state optometric association is at the State Leadership level, and you are a member, you can save even more! Practices located in leadership states will receive an extra $200 incentive, lowering your final cost to only $50!

Think About Your Eyes is always adding new state associations to the list of leadership states. Currently, the following states are at the leadership level: South Dakota, North Dakota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Washington, Mississippi, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa Arkansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Utah.

 


 

Get Started Now!

Contact Think About Your Eyes today to sign up and find out what your exact Premium listing price will be.

Jon Torrey, Director of Professional Relations
703.548.6736
jtorrey@thinkaboutyoureyes.com

Preparing Your Practice for Transition

Kane, Chris
Preparing Your Practice for Transition

By Christopher Kane

 

PC The Right Bank COLOR

 

It takes hard work, commitment and planning to build a thriving eyecare practice. But there comes a point when practice owners begin to think about the next stage of their lives, from having a reduced stake in the business to pursuing full-blown retirement. In order to maintain stability in the practice and ensure its future success, it is imperative to develop an ownership transition plan.

To increase the opportunities for success, practice owners should launch the planning process well in advance of when the transition will take place. Practice owners need adequate time to strategically think through their decisions and identify a successor. Moreover, delving into the process when the business is at its peak can help to command a higher-value sale. The ideal period in which to start implementing a plan is several years prior to selling or leaving the practice. This will allow time to find a buyer or groom a future leader, as well as to prime staff and manage the transition of patient relationships.

Creating a Transition Plan

Prior to establishing a transition plan, practice owners should consider what their goals are for the practice. These can include growth goals, expansion of services and their vision for potential future leaders. Likewise, practice owners should determine what they envision for their own role.

Select Professional Advisors

Practice owners may want to enlist the help of trusted advisors who can assist in assessing financial and legal concerns. Bankers, attorneys, financial advisors, practice brokers and certified public accountants can provide excellent advice and guidance for these aspects of the process. Expert advice from a CPA or practice broker may also be helpful in valuing the practice, which is vital to its sale. These experts can also help the practitioner identify any red flags, some of which could prevent the sale if overlooked.

Identify a Successor and Type of Sale

When selecting a successor, the practitioner should look for a candidate that he or she would feel comfortable recommending to patients and who will be a good fit for office culture and current staff. Often, the successor will be an existing associate or an external practitioner who has a strong standing in the community. The owner may also want to consider his or her role in the practice once the transition is complete. For practitioners who are looking to retire, a complete sale is often the best choice. In this scenario, the outgoing practitioner sells 100 percent interest in the practice to an existing partner or external practitioner. If the practitioner is looking to have a reduced stake in the practice, a 50 percent purchase is a common choice. This agreement allows the outgoing practitioner to add a partner who purchases 50 percent of the practice, with the understanding that they will purchase the remaining interest in the practice at a designated time. The agreement should clearly state the length of time the outgoing dentist will remain at the practice and the date that the complete practice purchase will be finalized.

If the practitioner owns the property where the practice resides, it should be determined if the property will be included in the sale, whether the owner will sell the real estate to the third party, or if they will maintain ownership and collect rental income.

Carrying Out Succession

Once a transition plan has been put in place and a new practitioner has been selected, the transition should be clearly communicated to office staff and patients. This ensures staff is clear about how and when the transition will take place, and allows them to assist in communicating the transition to patients, vendors and other affected parties.

The new practitioner will need to be fully integrated into the business, including training on operations and finances. A considerable amount of time should be allotted for integration, as it can often take several months to a year.

Transition planning is vital for eyecare practitioners who are looking to retire or reduce their stake in their practice. Implementing a transition plan ensures their successor can maintain a healthy practice, with a strong client base and financial success for years to come.
Christopher Kane is vice president and commercial banking manager at Pacific Continental Bank. He can be reached at christopher.kane@therightbank.com.

 

 

Think About Your Eyes Advertising Grows Patient Awareness

Think About Your Eyes Advertising Grows Patient Awareness

Young Family Watching Tv Think About Your Eyes - Logo

The primary goal of the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) advertising campaign is to change public behavior, and convince Americans to pay more attention to their eye health and vision care. What is the net effect of that on your office? You should see new patients who find your office through the practice locater at www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com, and your current patients coming back for exams more regularly.

In particular, the ads can help motivate those “current” patients – who have been in the office before – but not been back for an exam for over three years. Every office has these patients. When they hear a TAYE radio ad or see one on TV, then become motivated to call for an appointment, this is just as valuable to your practice as a “new” patient (in fact, under Medicare’s definition, they are a new patient).

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the TAYE ads are reaching Americans – and working. Eye exams are growing around the country more than twice as fast as the growth rate before TAYE’s national advertising started.

Here’s an example of one PECAA Member practice, and what they have seen in patient activity recently.

Dayton Optometric Center is a three-doctor practice in Dayton, Ohio. Brothers Marc Gilbert, OD and Heath Gilbert,OD, signed up for a Premium listing on the TAYE locater in late July, and have been seen by many searching patients in the two and a half months since.

A look at the search statistics on their TAYE listing shows:

• Searches of their zip code: 132

• Patients who have read their profile or pulled map directions: 3

• Patients who have called the office from their mobile phone while viewing their listing: 2

• Patients who have requested an appointment while viewing their listing: 2

So four patients have either called or clicked to request an appointment directly. Out of the 132 who searched for a doctor, how many have then called the office for an appointment? There’s really no way to know, other than carefully questioning patients when they come in for their exam. Either way, that’s good immediate exposure for Dayton Optometric Center – and longer term, we are educating the American public, improving their eye health and vision care, and growing practices!

 


 

Start seeing results with your own premium listing on ThinkAboutYourEyes.com

logos

PECAA, along with our Premier Vendor Partners Luxottica and HOYA, are pleased to offer an exciting program with Think About Your Eyes, exclusively for PECAA Members! Proven to grow eye exams, Think About Your Eyes reaches millions of consumers through powerful national advertising campaigns and educational messages. You now have the opportunity to receive a Premium listing on their doctor locator – at a huge savings!

 


 

PECAA Members Save on a Premium Listing!

As a current PECAA Member and customer of Luxottica and HOYA, you can now save $250 on a Premium annual listing on thinkaboutyoureyes.com!

Premium Annual Listing Exclusive Pricing:

•  Standard price for premium annual listing: $500

•  PECAA, Luxottica and HOYA will each pay $50 toward the cost of the listing **

•  TAYE/AOA will pay $100 toward the cost of the listing *

•  Reducing your out-of-pocket cost to only $250 – a 50% discount!

* Must be a current Luxottica customer to qualify * Must be a current HOYA customer and purchase a minimum of $2500 per quarter to qualify * Must be an AOA Member to qualify

 


 

State Optometric Association Leadership Level

If your state optometric association is at the State Leadership level, and you are a member, you can save even more! Practices located in leadership states will receive an extra $200 incentive, lowering your final cost to only $50!

Think About Your Eyes is always adding new state associations to the list of leadership states. Currently, the following states are at the leadership level: South Dakota, North Dakota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Washington, Mississippi, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa Arkansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Utah.

 


 

Get Started Now!

Contact Think About Your Eyes today to sign up and find out what your exact Premium listing price will be. Jon Torrey, Director of Professional Relations 703.548.6736  jtorrey@thinkaboutyoureyes.com

Now That ICD-10 is Here, What’s Next?

Now that ICD-10 is here, what’s next?

IMG_3541 copy
By Teri Thurston, Billing & Coding Manager

Congratulations! You have made it through the first couple of weeks of the ICD-10 transition! Practices have shared that things are going well, with limited issues to date. Claims are being accepted by insurance payers with minimal rejections. This is good news and a huge relief! However, we are not in the clear yet, we still need to be proactive and watch for issues impacting cash flow.

Here are some recommendations to keep your cash flow on track.

Continue to submit claims daily. Not submitting claims in a timely manner may delay payment. If there is a delay submitting claims, note the number of days delayed before submitting. This will help to trace the expected timeframe in receiving payment.

Monitor rejections through the clearinghouse and understand the cause. Use the rejections and denials received to gain valuable insight on areas that need adjusting or additional training. Include rejections caused by clerical or registration errors.

Keep a watch on the dollar amount of outstanding rejections and the overall denial rate per month and track improvements.

Payer policy changes may have occurred due to the ICD-10 transition. If receiving denials for services when the ICD-10 code was valid, review the payer’s policy for additional clarification. Modifier rules and usage still apply. Continue to append as prior to October 1st, including eye modifiers.

Check with payers three weeks after mailing CMS-1500 claim forms to ensure claims are being accepted and processed. Do not wait the typical 45 days to see if payment is received. This will allow for early intervention if there is an issue.

Watch for payment delays. Insurance payments should continue to be received during the same time frame as prior to Oct. 1st or close to. If payments are delayed inquire as to why and when to expect payment. Be proactive. Insurance payers should offer communication of any lengthy delay. Check payer websites or clearinghouse alerts for updates.

Track the number of days’ insurance claims stay on the accounts receivable before payment is received. If there is an increase, have a clear understanding as to why and deicide when, if necessary, to activate your contingency plan.

Keep in mind, ICD-10 codes do not drive the reimbursement. Reimbursements are derived by the value of the CPT code therefore all reimbursement amounts remain the same as prior to October 1st. Review payment vouchers regularly and inquire if there are any discrepancies.

Consider adjusting the frequency in working the accounts receivable to a daily or weekly basis instead of a bi-weekly or monthly basis. This will allow for quicker resolutions of the current claims, but also help avoid future denials as well.

As we become more comfortable with the new code set and move forward into 2016, continue to modernize and restructure gaps in any processes. Make modifications to new forms, super bills or EMR templates when necessary to accommodate the daily workflow. Continue coding training to become fluent with the new code set. What about those old office policies you’ve been wanting to change? With the year end approaching, and patients hearing about changes in healthcare, it could be the perfect time.

Do you have questions on ICD-10?

PECAA’s Billing & Coding team is here to help. Please feel free to contact Teri Thurston at teri@pecaa.com or call 503.670.9200.

The Critical Importance of Looking for MGD in Dry Eye Disease

paulThe Critical Importance of Looking for MGD in Dry Eye Disease

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

 

Are you specifically looking for MGD? You should be. Here’s why.

One key event that has dramatically changed the ability to effectively manage dry eye disease is the greater understanding of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) in the last decade. When I started my first dedicated dry eye clinic, it wasn’t a condition that was identified regularly and perhaps that is why patients weren’t achieving high success with management of dry eye disease. And even if we knew to look for and grade MGD, there were few effective treatments at that time. Uncovering the presence of MGD in all patients, looking at the components of the disease and then choosing effective treatments is the key to today’s success in the management of this most common cause of dry eye disease.

Identifying MGD

UnknownEvery exam should include an examination of the meibomian glands and their expression characteristics. For example, it appears that MGD may be a leading cause of contact lens drop-out, whether by affecting blink rates or adding stress the meibomian gland output required. If clinicians are not looking for it, they can’t take measures to prevent patients from abandoning contact lens use or seeking another eye doctor. Likewise it can contribute to inaccurate biometry measurements for IOL calculations and of course result in significant and progress dry eye disease that can in turn lead to severe atrophy of the meibomian glands.

In examining the lower eyelid in particular, which is responsible for the majority of oil in the tear film, look for notching which is a sign of gland atrophy, froth in the tear film which is an indication of MGD, telangiectasia, tylosis or thickening of the eyelids, hyperemia and even the location of the meibomian glands which appear to migrate posteriorly or become displaced in the presence of chronic MGD. Next, by using a wet q-tip or better yet the Meibomian gland evaluator (TearScience) or an expression paddle such as the Mastrota Paddle (OcuSoft) express the area of the nasal to central glands and note how many glands express and the quality of the meibum. Healthy meibum is clear like olive oil and easily expresses and rolls off the eyelid barely noticeable. A turbid expression, paste-like or non-expressive glands are indicative of further progression of the disease. Other tests that are effective in helping with a diagnosis include osmolarity testing, patient questionnaires such as the SPEED or OSDI questionnaire, blink analysis and especially meibography. Meibography can reveal the effects on the structure of the gland and show areas of atrophy, thus aiding in the diagnosis and severity of the disease.

The Four Components of MGD and Effective Management

MGD begins with obstruction of the meibomian glands and this leads to further sequelae that all must be effectively managed. The other sequelae include inflammation, biofilm development and tear film disruption or instability.

Obstruction
MGD begins with obstruction of the meibomian glands and this leads to further sequelae that all must be effectively managed. When obstruction begins, it appears to cause the other glands to up-regulate or over-work to make up for the ones that are not functioning. This leads to further stress and eventually gland atrophy. If a gland is non-functional for a period of time, it may also get a covering of keratin over it that further prevents its ability to produce oils for the tear film. So obstruction must be managed as a priority. Treatment options may include scaling the lower eyelid to remove keratin, but the key to removing obstruction is thermal treatments that can soften the meibum over time and even proper gland expression. One very novel technology that combines both is the LipiFlow thermal-pulsation system. By providing heat through the back surface of the eyelid a more direct thermal effect occurs and by avoiding the external eyelid, you can get a significant effect in a relatively short treatment time. When combined with pulsation this may further improve the meibum consistency. Other thermal systems that may benefit patients with MGD obstruction include MeiboFlo and IPL lasers. Keep in mind that previous MGD treatments such as ‘rice-in-a-sock’ simply do not allow adequate penetration of heat because of the limits through the external skin from dry heat. There are also limitations to a wet wash cloth compress as a patient would have a messy situation while exchanging the wash cloths while at a sink for 8-10 minutes or longer to maintain adequate heat levels. But warm compresses increase the tear film lipid layer if penetrating heat and compliance is in place. One such novel innovation that has improved MGD management is the Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress. This daily use compress uses a small angstrom opening within their patented medi-beads that upon microwaving for 15-20 seconds releases hydration that is obtained from the environment. It is reusable, durable, can be washed and provides adequate heat and hydration for approximately 12-14 minutes. The hydration aids in transfer of heat to the glands. Other commercial compresses available to patients include ThermalEyes and TheraPearls. One thing that has changed in the use of compresses is that patients are no longer instructed to massage their eyelids afterwards. That component is now left to thermal pulsation systems. These technologies are compatible and an analogy would be to the dental model where thermal pulsation systems work similar to dental cleaning and the commercial compresses are similar to daily brushing or flossing.

Inflammation
Studies have shown that inflammation is present in cases of MGD and also in cases of dry eye disease. Therefore it is important to treat the inflammation associated with this disease. Anti-inflammatory medications known to work include cyclosporine, corticosteroids and corticosteroid-combination agents , oral doxycycline, topical azithromycin and omega fatty acids. Because of the constant stress of a poor tear film, friction from the eyelid moving across the ocular surface and obstruction of glands inflammation plays a key role in further damage and progression of the disease. It must be well managed to effectively control the disease.

Biofilm formation
Lid hygiene may also play a key role in the management of MGD as biofilms have been known to develop in this disease. Lid hygiene products may play a key role as studies have shown. This includes the use of eyelid cleansers and evening mechanical cleaning devices such as BlephEx.

Tear Film Alterations/Hyperosmolarity
Without an adequate lipid component to the tear film, the result is evaporation. This in turn causes increased meibocyte production that is greater than the oil production, further obstruction of the glands and tear film instability. Thus patients have a dry eye and require adequate artificial tears to supplement the tear film.

MGD is a critical disease that results in chronic dry eye, and progression of the disease finally resulting in complete MG atrophy. It likely plays a key role in contact lens drop-out, unexpected post surgical results and overall quality of vision. By looking at the components of the disease including obstruction, inflammation, biofilm formation and tear film instability one can effectively manage these patients and provide adequate treatment and symptomatic relief to patients and a higher quality of life.

 


 

Disclosures:
Consultant: AcuFocus, AMO, Alcon Labs, Allergan, Akorn, Bausch + Lomb/Valeant, BioTissue, Bruder Healthcare, Cambium Pharmaceuticals, Eyemaginations, Essilor, Focus Laboratories, iCare USA, Ocusoft, Freedom Meditech, iCare USA, Konan Medical, Beaver-Visitech, Eye Solutions, Reichert, Shire Pharmaceuticals, RySurg, Science Based Health, SightRisk, TearLab, TearScience, TLC Vision, Topcon, Vmax

Research Grant: Rigel Pharma, Eleven Biotherapeutics, Akorn, Bausch + Lomb, Allergan, Fera Pharmaceuticals, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Speakers Bureau: Glaukos

Blinking Exercises

paulBlinking Exercises

By: Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director – PECAA

 

It is said that one of the main causes of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) may well be tied to a patient’s blink rate. Theories suggest that the lack of a full or complete blink can result in less pumping activity of the lower eyelid meibomian glands, which are responsible for 78% of the oils in the tear film. A partial blink may be have many causes including lagophthalmos, use of digital devices, cosmetic surgery and simply an inability to blink that has been learned or developed over years. The average person using a computer blinks 4.4 times per minute as opposed to someone who is gazing (21 blinks per minute) or in conversation (over 30 blinks per minute).

The obstruction from the lack of a good blink rate should be managed with options ranging from commercial compresses such as the Bruder mask to lower eyelid debridement to Thermal pulsation such as LipiFlow. Inflammation should also be controlled with options ranging from Restasis, combination agents like Zylet to oral doxycycline or omega-fatty acid nutritional supplements. Lid hygiene should also be included such as OcuSoft Lid Scrub options, SteriLid or hypochlorus acid options to name a few. In-office BlephEx is an ideal mechanical treatment to assist with blepharitis and the biofilm that may be present on the eyelids. But the original cause is the blink rate so perhaps blink exercises as you see here might be of great benefit if patients are willing to implement this option.

REFERENCE: http://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/content/d/therapeutic_topics/i/1290/c/24850/

Blinking Sequence

Close – Pause – Pause – Open – Relax

Close – Pause – Pause – Squeeze – Open – Relax

1. Hold your fingers at the corners of your eyes and blink. If you feel any movement under your fingers, you are using your defense muscles that run along the side of your head. Your blinking muscles are above the eyelids.

2. Read the blinking sequence. It is very important to do the squeeze step to stretch the blinking muscle so you can make complete contact between the upper and lower lids. When you are doing the exercises correctly you should feel no movement under your fingers except when you squeeze.

3. Blinking can be very task-dependent. For example, if you spend a lot of time on the computer, you are probably blinking much less frequently and might want to post a copy of the blinking exercises nearby. Other pastimes that decrease the blink rate are reading, driving, video games, etc.

4. In addition to consciously incorporating the blinking exercises into your schedule (i.e. 5x/hour) you might want to think about something that you do often in your daily routine, such as answering phone calls, sending emails, drinking sip of water, applying lip gloss, etc. If you can condition yourself to make a full blink and give a little squeeze every time you perform this action to help make it a habit.

Donald Korb, OD is credited in developing these blinking exercises.

 

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