Keplr Vision Completes Strategic Partnership With Cockrell Eyecare Center and Launches Keplr Advocacy

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Keplr Vision announced Thursday that it has established a strategic partnership with Cockrell Eyecare Center in Stillwater, Okla., and its professionals Dr. David Cockrell, Dr. Cherry Cockrell and Dr. Jeff Miller. In concurrence with this announcement and new partnership, Keplr Vision also is launching Keplr Advocacy with Dr. David Cockrell as its leader. Keplr Advocacy was created to “pursue policy and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels to expand and protect the practice of optometry, allowing Keplr Vision providers to practice the highest level of care while increasing access to the patients that they ultimately serve,” according to the Keplr announcement.

Keplr Vision, a management organization that offers a comprehensive operational and support platform for optometric practices, was formed in July 2019 when two portfolio companies of Canada’s Imperial Capital—Total ECP and Visionary Eye Partners—merged to operate as a combined entity under the Keplr name, as VMAIL reported

The terms of the partnership with Cockrell Eyecare Center—Keplr’s second affiliation in Oklahoma—were not disclosed. The Williams Group represented Cockrell Eyecare Center in the transaction.

Dr. Cockrell has served with distinction in many roles in the American Optometric Association (AOA), including membership on its Statutory Scope Committee, Board of Trustees, president of the Board of Trustees, and ultimately as president of the AOA in 2014.

“When I learned about the opportunity to launch Keplr Advocacy, it was clear that Keplr Vision was the right place for myself and our practice,” Dr. Cockrell said in the announcement. “By joining Keplr Vision, I know that I will be able to continue to do the work that will make our industry better, now and into the future.”

During Cockrell’s term as AOA president he testified before a Senate committee regarding the potential deregulation of contact lenses and before the Federal Trade Commission. He also oversaw efforts to defeat “harmful anti-patient legislation, which was ultimately introduced in a dozen states around the country,” according to Thursday’s Keplr announcement.

“We know that Dr. Cockrell is the right choice to join the leadership team of Keplr Vision and to advocate on behalf of optometry,” said Keplr Vision chief executive officer Nick Williams. “As a former AOA president and with his history in advancing the scope of practice in his home state of Oklahoma and beyond, he will lead the charge to push regulation and policy to benefit optometrists and their patients nationwide.”

Along with Dr. Cockrell the inaugural members of Keplr Advocacy are: Keplr Vision chief medical officer Dr. Ben Gaddie and Keplr Vision partners Dr. David Nelson (a former AOA president) and Louisiana Senator Dr. David Heitmeier. Keplr Vision vice president Dr. Steve Wilson and chief executive Nick Williams will serve as special advisors.

The group will also address legislation and policy issues such as the FTC’s recent decisions around the Contact Lens Rule as well as state related optometric issues where they can positively influence legislation affecting providers and patients.

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Cockrell on board to lead Keplr Advocacy,” Dr. Gaddie said. “His leadership in Oklahoma and on behalf of all optometry worldwide is frankly unparalleled. The manner in which he represents optometry continues to make me proud today. We are excited to welcome Drs. Cockrell and Dr. Miller to Keplr Vision.”

Following graduation from Southern College of Optometry in 1981, Dr. Cockrell opened Cockrell Eyecare Center with his wife, Cherry Cockrell, OD. The practice has since grown to include six optometrists serving Stillwater and surrounding communities. Cockrell also has served on many committees for the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) as well as a trustee and president of the OAOP. Dr. Cockrell is an AOA National Hall of Fame inductee.

With more than 150 practices across 29 states, Keplr Vision works to bring together private practice optometrists who focus on pushing the practice of optometry forward, according to the company’s announcement. Through a collaborative partnership, Keplr Vision offers OD partners robust business support services and supply chain management, allowing doctors to focus on their practice and their patients while retaining their legacy.

The Williams Group represented Cockrell Eyecare Center in the transaction.