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December 4, 2013

In This Edition

Rinkov Eyecare Centers

dba q&a

In Your Employ
Building a Team

Filling Schedules

Eyeglasses Frames Sales Trend



Seven-Location Practice Sees Acquisitions as a Survival Strategy

After practicing 36 years as an optometrist, Mark Rinkov, OD, of Rinkov Eyecare Centers has become growth oriented. He made his first acquisition with the purchase of Rosenthal Vision Center's two offices in September. Now at seven locations in and around Columbus, Ohio, he plans to grow to as many as 15 locations within the next three to five years. He feels it's become a necessity in response to the growing influence of managed vision care as well as online retailers nipping at his optical business.


dba q&a

Flexible Spending Accounts
Become Even More Flexible

Starting this year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Services modified the "use-or-lose" rule related to health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs). Now, plan participants are permitted to carry over $500 of their unused health FSA balances into the following year. An estimated 14 million families participate in health FSAs.

For nearly 30 years, employees eligible for health FSAs have been subject to the use-or-lose rule, meaning that any account balances remaining unused at the end of the year are forfeited. (The Vision Council prepared a document on Flexible & Health Spending Accounts that outlines the basics of the different tax deferred flex spending benefit plans that are currently being offered.)

The following optical retailers told dba what impact the new rule might have on their practices, how they encourage patients to use their flexible spending accounts and other end-of-year promotions: David Brown, ABOC, NCLE, optical director, Houston Eye Associates; Aaron R. Schubach, vice president/chief operations officer, Standard Optical / Opticare of Utah; Mark Johnson, director of optical services, Virginia Eye Institute; John D. Marvin, president, Texas State Optical; Diana J. Hall, president, Bard Optical; and Jamie Erhardt, account supervisor, Emerging Vision, Inc.


In Your Employ

Building a Team That Encourages Patients
To Be Consumers and Buy

By Jay Binkowitz and Mark Hinton

When a patient walks out of the exam room and into the optical dispensary they become a consumer. Consumers expect an experience, so how can you give them what they want while leading them in the direction of the eyewear that's best for them? While developing a consistent, efficient team across multiple locations, consider the secrets that high-performing, multi-location practices follow to create that great experience consumers are looking for.




Keeping Schedules Full in Practices with Multiple Doctors and Locations

By Evan Kestenbaum, MBA, dba Contributor

When it comes to keeping established patients coming back to the practice, most optometric offices employ a variety of recall and appointment reminder systems. Increasingly, offices are turning to newer more automated solutions by companies such as Websystem3, Solutionreach, 4PatientCare, Demandforce or TeleVox to deliver automated phone calls, text messages, and emails.

There's a new category of patient reactivation technology from Brevium Inc. that optometric practices with multiple doctors and locations could learn about by watching trends at similarly sized ophthalmology practices.



Little Change in Frames' Average Retail Price Over Past Two Years

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The average retail price for eyeglass frames was $127.56 for the six months ending September 2013, according to the most recent statistics available from The Vision Council's VisionWatch report. This represents a 2.3 percent increase when compared with the same period last year and a 2.8 percent increase over the same period in 2011. The graph shows the changes in the average retail price for eyeglass frames from September 2011 to September 2013.



John Sailer, Senior Editor

Send us news about your mid-size regional optical chain or optometric group, provide us with subjects and/or questions for a future dba q&a or let us know what topics you'd like to see covered. Contact dba's Editor John Sailer at jsailer@jobson.com.

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