Managing Mandatory Children’s Eye Exams

Dr Jeff MyersBy Jeffrey Myers, OD – I love kids. Spending time with my two grandchildren always brings joy and is a highlight of my day or week. At reunions of my wife’s family, I rarely am talking to the adults. More interesting to me is connecting with the folks under 18. Many of my volunteer activities over the years have been focused on young people. I find that connecting with the young folks at church when volunteering with the youth group is energizing. Generally, young folks enjoy the attention of an adult who is truly interested in talking to them, and who treats them as an equal.

In practice, you might share the experience with me that certain types of patients are energizing, interesting, and intellectually stimulating. For me, removing foreign bodies, relieving the pain of iritis, and protecting patients from the loss of vision associated with glaucoma all fall into this category. I confess that examining patients under age 10 does not fall into this category. While I love kids, my passion is not in examining them. And examining more than one child a day is draining for me. So, what do you do if you share this challenge of examining young children with the implementation of the pediatric Essential Health Benefit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which has mandated eye exams for children?

Fortunately, I observed this about myself more than a decade ago. As I was looking to add a second doctor to our practice, I specifically looked for a doctor who brought a passion for pediatrics to the practice as well as an interest in cultivating a vision therapy practice. Dr. Amy Keller fit that profile and joined my practice in 2005. Her lack of interest in managing glaucoma patients made our skill sets complementary. In addition her special interest in the challenging contact lens fit and dry eye round out a valuable doctor.

In 2011, we were finding our schedule busier and needed additional doctor coverage. Dr. Kari Cardiff joined our practice and shares Dr. Keller’s passion for the young folks. She had experience in performing vision therapy and brought an additional passion for vision rehabilitation. Her addition has allowed the expansion of specialty services in the practice, adding greater value for our patients.

Today, patients who come to our practice are matched with a doctor passionate about meeting their vision care needs. Young folks see Dr. Keller or Dr. Cardiff, glaucoma patients usually see me, and patients in need of special services are connected with the doctor best suited for them. Other professionals build practices centered around the strengths and interests of the individual doctors. We can learn from that model.

If seeing young patients is not your interest yet you anticipate an increase in pediatric patients, consider the addition of a colleague who has a passion for the young patients. Your patients deserve someone who is excited about caring for them.

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