May 2021

Become a SNAPP mastermind

From the SNAPP Board

We’re very excited to launch SNAPP masterminds to a limited number of participants later this year. SNAPP masterminds is a year-long business-building journey like nothing else currently available. Participants will dive deeply into a program designed to transform the way Licensed Operators (LO) view their businesses. Built around four key principles, SNAPP masterminds will offer unique commentary from experts across a variety of specialties who can contribute to building success, wealth and good fortune to everyone involved.

SNAPP masterminds' inaugural program will focus on the following.

• And two unique competencies we call Identity and Enterprise

This one-of-a-kind program’s goals are to guide participants through an introspective look at leveraging every part of an LO’s business over time to achieve maximum performance.

The program will include a blend of live and online sessions and officially kickoff during the timeframe of the AOA's Optometry's Meeting in June 2022. We picked Chicago for its accessibility from anywhere in the U.S.

Sign-ups will open after the introduction video runs at the upcoming SNAPP National Meeting in Las Vegas, September 22-24, 2021. Space will be limited, so sign up early!

Make Your Plans: Just Four Months Away

See You at SNAPP National Meeting

Register now for the SNAPP National Meeting slated for Wednesday, September 22, through Friday, September 24, in Las Vegas.

Our first live meeting in over a year will feature 6 COPE approved clinical hours and 5 COPE approved practice management hours for ODs plus 5 hours of free ABO CE for opticians. Other topics to be covered include sessions on how to conduct business valuations and tips on understanding exit strategy options—including the pros and cons of private equity transactions.

That’s not all! Join us for Member-only think-tanks and educational discussions on maximizing profits and improving efficiency; plus you can access the Vision Expo West trade show floor at no additional cost. We hope to see you there!


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Success Story

The Start of Something Grand

An optometrist and a retired FBI agent work together to introduce a market in Colorado

A brand-new practice, a thriving business market and a recent partnership make for an exciting start for Lee Walters and Lisa Hamilton, OD. Walters, who retired from his FBI career in 2012, found himself looking for a new business. He examined franchise opportunities across many industries; from food to staffing, but Pearle Vision kept coming up. The more he researched the company, the more the idea grew on him. For Walters, though, one location wasn’t going to be enough—he was looking for more. When he learned the development rights for the Colorado Springs/Pueblo territory were available, he signed with Pearle in October 2019 and moved to Colorado to start this new enterprise.

Lee Walters and Dr. Hamilton

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the launch, but it gave Walters a chance to familiarize himself with the business model. The new location, which opened on May 19, 2021, is located in a strip center in one of the fastest growing areas north of Colorado Springs, surrounded by popular shops.

Even though the first venture is just off the ground, he’s already looking towards scaling the model. Utilizing the first location as a hub, Lee plans to open small, efficient “satellite” offices in the area to create a network. Lee credits Pearle Licensed Operator Lori Edwards, MBA, with generous support and the introduction to Dr. Lisa Hamilton.

Doctor staffing

Colorado optometrists, under state law, are not permitted to be employed by unlicensed individuals or entities, so Lee quickly realized the need to find a like-minded optometrist in the area. As President of SNAPP, and with two locations of her own, Dr. Hamilton instantly appeared to be a great fit. “I love patient care,” says Dr. Hamilton, “but I don’t always want to do that five days a week.” So building a scalable business model with multiple income streams feeds directly into her business diversification strategy.

Dr. Hamilton began her affiliation with the brand as a corporate sublease holder in 2002. She and husband, Bobby Hamilton, teamed up in 2010 with a franchise start-up, and things have been going great ever since. Dr. Hamilton has already obtained doctor coverage for the new office and both partners are expecting strong, steady growth over the next 18-24 months.

Learn as we GROW

Everyone associated with the new location and the area development plans is very excited. Like with any expansion, operators must be vigilant through each phase of the project. “We learned a huge lesson this time,” notes Dr. Hamilton. “We miscalculated the amount of space needed for our exam room and had to make some last-minute modifications…Next time, we’ll be watching that a little more closely.”

Dr. Hamilton is ready for the challenge and the learning opportunities it brings. “The more locations you have, the more you learn about managing them,” she says.

Meanwhile, SNAPP and the community at large wish Lee and Dr. Hamilton success in this exciting venture!

Billing Tip of the Month from VisionWeb

Processes Every Biller Should Know

By Amanda Whitener, VisionWeb

There are a few key processes that will lead to substantial profitability within your practice if managed appropriately by your billing team. It is imperative to ensure they have a good grasp of the intricacies related to the steps shown below.

• Checking patient benefits: Great billing starts with great benefit verification. Having a good process in place to check benefits before the patient being seen not only increases the number of appointments you’re able to schedule, but also reduces the number of rejections you’ll receive.

• Scrubbing claims: Receiving a rejection from the clearinghouse happens more quickly than a rejection/denial from a payer. That being said, scrubbing the claims before sending them for adjudication can ultimately result in more accurate and timely reimbursement for your practice. Higher quality = Lower Costs

Working rejections in a timely manner: A rejection may require something as small as a middle initial being added to a claim form but could result in money being left on the table for the practice if not worked timely or properly.

Posting payments by line item: To properly reconcile your outstanding Accounts Receivables, payments must be posted by line item rather than claim level. If an underpayment is recognized, your biller will know exactly which line item to reference when calling the payer.

• Working denials: It is easy for denials to play second fiddle to the day-to-day demands of working in a practice. Every biller should have a process that allows them to care for both. Denials could be as simple as correcting a policy number! Ensuring your biller has a great process in place to work every denial that comes to the practice helps mitigate lost revenue due to workable denials hitting timely appeal limits.

• Reporting: Transparency is key! Your biller should have a process in place to report metrics to you on a consistent schedule. These metrics should be set up in a way where you can review the health of your practice at any given time. These metrics should include items such as days to the bill, dollars paid, and denial rate by payer/procedure/NPI.

This week’s challenge: Check with your billers to see if these processes are familiar to them. If not, they may just need a little nudge in the right direction that could result in greatly maximizing the efficiency, health and revenue of your practice!

Amanda Whitener helps practices understand the gaps in their own processes and make informed decisions about how to grow that aspect of their practice.

If you have any questions, request a consultation with Amanda and she can provide a solution for you.

HR Tip of the Month from AmCheck

Is Your Employee Manual Working for You?

Employee handbooks are a critical part of any employee/employer relationship. Employee manuals represent one of the best ways to establish company policies around job titles, duties, behavioral expectations, absenteeism, time off, safety, loss prevention and a host of other important topics. Every employee should be required to read, understand, and acknowledge receipt of an Employee Manual or Handbook during onboarding.

Here are some important features every Employee Handbook should include.

Introduce employees to the fundamentals of your organization’s culture—the beliefs and values that members of the organization are expected to share. This introduction explains what you do and why you do it. It may also give employees a look into the history of your organization, how you got to where you are and where you intend to go. Last but not least, it gives employees an idea of how they can contribute to the culture.

Communicate to employees what general behaviors and procedures are expected of them. These include general safety responsibilities, confidentiality expectations, timekeeping processes, reporting procedures, dress codes and any other ways of doing things at your organization.

Educate employees about what they can expect from the organization’s leadership. Executives, managers, and HR departments have obligations to their employees—both those they’ve established themselves and those required by law. A good handbook tells employees what those obligations are and how they will be met. If your employees are entitled to leaves or accommodations, for example, your handbook should explain these.

Support consistent enforcement of company policies. Employers expose themselves to risk when they interpret, apply, or enforce policies inconsistently. Transparency about policies and how they are enforced helps keep everyone accountable and the enforcement of rules consistent across the company.

Showcase the benefits the organization offers. Does your organization offer vacations, 401(k), health insurance, paid parental leave, or other employee benefits? If so, your handbook should outline these programs and their eligibility requirements.

Let employees know where to turn for help. Employees should feel safe turning to HR or a manager to report workplace violations, get workplace-related assistance, and get answers to any other questions they may have. The alternative is for them to turn to an outside third party, like the EEOC, the DOL or an attorney, which could trigger a costly and time-consuming investigation. When a handbook provides multiple ways for employees to lodge a complaint (ensuring they won’t have to report the problem to the person creating the problem), they are more likely to keep their complaints in-house.

Be in the Know

In each issue, we’ll bring you a variety of updates from recent news events.

Expand Myopia Awareness Beyond Designated Week

Although May 24-28 is Myopia Awareness Week, educating patients about the myopia epidemic and the number of myopic children is important every day. BHVI has created resources and education for practitioners on myopia management. These tools are designed to encourage ECPs to implement myopia management strategies and also inform parents of the lifestyle influences that can impact myopia progression.

“Vision impairment due to uncorrected myopia and myopia-related complication is on the rise and expected to increase further,” said Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, Head of Myopia Program, BHVI. “It has never been more important to spread the word and make sure parents and children are informed so that they can make healthy vision decisions.” Read more.

Retinas Might Hold Clues on Alzheimer’s Development

According to new research by scientists at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, retinal scans can detect key changes in blood vessels that may provide an early sign of Alzheimer's, while offering important insights into how one of the most common Alzheimer's risk genes contributes to the disease. The new study was published May 11, 2021, in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring; researchers found that APOE4-associated capillary changes can be detected in humans through an easy, comfortable eye scan. Read more.

Large CDC Study Shows COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Among Health Care Workers

A new CDC study adds to the growing body of real-world evidence (outside of a clinical trial setting) showing that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect health care personnel (HCP) against COVID-19. mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) reduced the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 by 94% among HCP who were fully vaccinated. This assessment, conducted in a different study network with a larger sample size from across a broader geographic area than in the clinical trials, independently confirms U.S. vaccine effectiveness findings among health care workers that were reported earlier this year. Read the study.

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