Steve Baker (l), VSP Ventures and Jonathan Rosin, MD, of Rosin Eyecare.

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Ventures and Rosin Eyecare have established a joint venture through which the organizations have acquired two practices in Tennessee, Shanks Family Eye Care and Coley and Coley Family Eye Care. Both practices are in the Nashville, Tennessee market and will continue to operate under their respective brands, executives said. “We’re pleased to partner with an organization of the caliber of Rosin Eyecare, leveraging their expertise to ensure seamless transitions for practices,” said Steve Baker, president of VSP Ventures. “Our first two acquisitions enable the founding doctors to continue their passion for delivering exceptional patient care.”

“Our core beliefs and values are shared by the VSP Ventures team and we are excited for this opportunity to partner,” said Jonathan Rosin, MD, co-president of Rosin Eyecare. “Together, we are committed to preserving the legacy of the practices we acquire and reinforcing the value of the comprehensive care delivered to their patients now and into the future.”

In an interview with VMAIL, Baker and Rosin said that the joint venture represents a new initiative in the state, called Tennessee Management Partners. The two would not disclose the structure of the joint venture, other than to say that there could well be other opportunities in Tennessee in the future for the two to partner on additional acquisitions. Noted Baker, "There’s a significant amount of interest from professionals in the state and we will likely do more as part of this joint venture. And we will grow VSP Ventures with direct acquisitions elsewhere in the U.S."

Rosin and Baker also said that the two companies might consider creating joint ventures in other states in the future, "Never say never," said Baker, who added, "if it made good business sense and made sense for practices in other markets."

Dr. Rosin emphasized that the joint venture in Tennessee with VSP Ventures was a distinct and separate business from the ongoing expansion and operation of Chicago-based Rosin Eyecare practices, which now number 53 offices, primarily in the Illinois market.

VSP does not have an investment in Rosin Eyecare, stated both executives, "although Rosin is a full service VSP provider and we have been partners for years in that way." The two Tennessee practices are also full service VSP providers and will remain so, Baker and Dr. Rosin noted.

Dr. Fred Shanks founded Shanks Family Eye Care in 1998. Dr. Greg Coley and Dr. Ginger Coley opened Coley and Coley Family Eye Care in 1989 and were among the first group of optometrists in Tennessee certified to prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents to treat eye diseases. The doctors will continue to practice in the offices. Office managers and other support team staff will be assigned by Rosin to the offices to help manage administrative, HR and other services.

Noted Dr. Rosin, "We bring a really terrific management team to bear on these practices and value to their bottom line. At the same time, VSP brings a ton of resources to the table that we really don’t possess—understanding a marketplace and their reach to local doctors."

Baker added, "We offer extensive skills in clinic operations from our on-site clinics, and we offer operational skills for supply chain, insurance billing, and training which we will do to help the practice staff."

As VMAIL reported in March VSP Ventures underscores a broader commitment that VSP Global said it is making to provide a variety of options for optometrists at every career stage and in every kind of practice setting—from privately owned, to dispensary managed, to VSP—owned and operated.

Baker said, "This opportunity gives VSP Ventures a means to scale and grow effectively by focusing on this state and geography while we work in other areas, for example the West Coast, where we are working on other direct acquisitions." Baker reconfirmed that VSP Ventures is not involved with outside financial partners and that future practice acquisitions are being financed internally. The company will not disclose the size of this financial fund or a specific target number of practice acquisitions, Baker said.

Rosin Eyecare's own expansion is being done with the assistance of a bank relationship and "in large part, via the cash flow of our business," Dr. Rosin noted.

Founded by Dr. Joseph Rosin in 1930, Rosin Eyecare has served the Chicago area for nearly 90 years. Now managed by the family’s third generation, Rosin Eyecare operates office and retail locations as well as a full service optical laboratory. Through its team of opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists, Rosin Eyecare is a leading provider of comprehensive vision care services including routine examinations, management of medical and surgical eye disease, and LASIK surgery.