Think Locally, Act Locally

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Health care reform is different in every state, different in every community, different in every practice,” said OD Excellence’s Grue. ACOs are not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

“This is a local market dynamic,” said Vision Source’s Greenwood. “You have to have local leaders who can sit at the table with leaders of large primary care physician groups and understand their needs and tailor a unique solution for their issues.”

“Optometrists have a real opportunity to proactively find partnerships and forge them with primary care physicians in their community,” said Davis Vision’s Burns. “Now is a great time to identify major hospital systems in your area, identify those dominant systems and initiate communications with the executives running and managing ACOs. It appears that optometrists have stayed at arms’ length from the medical world, but now is the time to get involved.”

“Optometrists need to look at ACOs around them geographically in their neighborhood, figure out which ones are open, and pursue those ACOs,” said EyeCare Advice’s Jackson. “Look at the relationships you have with primary care doctors.”

Stephen Montaquila of the AOA’s Third Party Center concluded, “The most thing important thing to do right now is to make the relationships with the local leadership of ACOs. If an optometrist has a relationship with a primary care doctor, and if that primary care doctor is part of an ACO, that could be a key to get in. Get involved now! ■