November 2022

What We’re Grateful For

From the SNAPP Board

The message from your SNAPP board is short and sweet in this season of gratitude.

We are grateful for so much, personally and professionally.

• We are thankful for our families and health.

• We are grateful for our professional opportunities, co-workers and friends in our practices and the SNAPP Group.

• We feel lucky to be in a profession that provides such a necessary service and allows us to help patients in our communities see well and live well.

We encourage you to take time this holiday season to reflect and look ahead with optimism and joy.

The Value of the Annual Meeting

First Meeting, Lasting Benefits

SNAPP Annual Meeting regulars often use the event as a way to connect face-to-face with colleagues and check out new technology, hands-on. New attendees, however, may not know what to expect.

Lin Wu

Lin Wu, of Pearle Vision Eyecare Center in Seal Beach, California, was one of those first-timers this year. Wu, a Licensed Operator (LO), is currently prepping for his March 2023 opening date and is exploring options to help make his practice the best it can be—so going to the SNAPP event was high on his to-do list.

“Providing an excellent eye care experience for patients is our number one priority,” Wu says. Connections he made at the SNAPP meeting have already enabled him to discuss business plans and strategies with experienced LOs. He also met the Pearle Vision Leadership Team in person and exchanged ideas with “some very knowledgeable industry professionals and doctors.”

Wu says he also met fellow LOs, store managers, opticians and ODs in this meeting format that allows them to “better support each other in this tightly knit community.” Plus, the presence of equipment vendors, service providers and lens suppliers at the event will benefit both his practice and his patients with the latest technology and finest lens packages.

Wu looks forward to making more connections in the industry and continuously educating himself and his team. He plans to provide “state-of-the-art optometric equipment and services” at his Pearle Vision practice; with the help of SNAPP, it’s entirely possible.

Always Something New to Learn

Travis Lehr, OD, FAAO, has been in the industry about five years, and as a subleasing doctor with two Pearle Vision franchise locations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he’s seen, tried and treated a lot.

Dr. Lehr

Dr. Lehr’s first SNAPP National Meeting was at SECO in 2019, and he’s still using what he’s learned at SNAPP meetings to improve his practices. He says these events help him learn to look at his business and clinical practices from different perspectives. He takes what he’s learned and often implements versions of those ideas into his offices.

Dr. Lehr enjoys the camaraderie, too. “I always look forward to meeting with other doctors to see what they’re doing in their practices,” he says. “I was essentially disregarding the importance of nutrition for eye care in my personal and clinical environments until listening to speakers at SNAPP-Las Vegas. Now, we’re creating a nutritional program designed to keep patients and staff well-informed on this important topic.”

Dr. Lehr is also excited about the new SNAPP Masterminds group, which allows him to “learn about the business side of optometry as we focus on driving profitability.” The group concentrates on ways to make more informed financial decisions and allocate resources efficiently, as needed.

Dr. Lehr wants to “change the narrative” on all that an eye care professional and practice can be. SNAPP continues to inspire him to do just that.

Setting New Goals

OD Sets Challenges for Herself

Camille Cohen, OD, FAAO, is a Pearle Licensed Operator in Brooklyn, New York. In a recent column in Women In Optometry, Dr. Cohen discusses how her mentors encouraged her to pursue a fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), even though she felt she was not “fellowship material.” She earned the fellowship designation at the AAO meeting in San Diego, California, in October. Congratulations—and read her story here.

Spread Awareness

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

The National Eye Institute (NEI), a division of the National Institutes of Health, has created a series of downloaded social media graphics, flyers and more that eye care professionals can use during Diabetes Awareness Month and beyond.

More than 30 million people living in the U.S. have diabetes, which increases the risk for vision loss and blindness. The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, but people with diabetes are also at higher risk for diabetic macular edema, cataract and glaucoma.

The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic eye disease. But the good news is that early detection and treatment can lower the risk of blindness by 95 percent. And managing diabetes—with diet, exercise, and medication—is the best way for people with diabetes to lower the risk of vision loss.

All patients with diabetes need to understand steps they can take to protect their vision. Help spread awareness. View the NEI resources here.

Billing Tip of the Month from VisionWeb

Three Claim Filing Tips to Stay Ahead of the Year‑end Rush

By Amanda Whitener,
Revenue Cycle Management Team at VisionWeb

It’s that time again! As people learn that their vision benefits may expire at the end of the year, they’re rushing to get into your offices. Don’t panic! Now is the time to take a portion of your “admin day” to check the following items and delegate these tasks to well-trained associates.

1. Ensure the front office is pulling both vision and medical benefits. Old habits die hard, especially during a rush. The front office may be rushing through the patient in-take process and forget, or neglect, to ask for medical insurance information. Take a few minutes to listen to the intake process at the front to ensure staff is asking the right questions. Training these associates on the proper way to answer common patient questions related to medical eye care coverage can pay huge dividends in the long run.

2. Run regular reports of outstanding rejections. First, sort the list by dates of service (DOS). There shouldn’t be any rejections with DOS older than two days prior to when the report is pulled. If there are older DOS, be sure the staff member working your rejections is familiar with each payer’s timely filing limits. Depending on the payer, the timely filing limits could be as short as 90 days. Don’t let your hard work go unpaid because of a rejection caused by a simple error, such as entering the letter O instead of a zero in a patient’s insurance ID.

3. Run regular aging reports, and spot check balances over 90 days. Any balance over 90 days should not still be on its first round of processing and should have notes on the account as to why the claim hasn’t paid yet. It’s likely these claims have either been denied, in which they should be worked quickly due to appeal timely limits, or paid, in which they should be posted immediately to properly reconcile the accounts.

Finally, take a deep breath! Keep your head up through the rush and know these few simple steps can save a lot of headaches after the wave subsides.

Reach out to Amanda Whitener of the Revenue Cycle Management team at VisionWeb. She helps practices understand the gaps in their own processes and make informed decisions about how to grow that aspect of their practices.

HR Corner from AmCheck

Prevent Burnout

From the HR Pros at AmCheck

The HR experts at Amcheck provide these tips for businesses that are both busy and understaffed. Taking these steps to prevent burnout and stress can lead to better employee retention.

Remove nonessential work duties. For positions that seem most stretched, make a list of tasks that could be put on hold (or perhaps reassigned). You can invite input from employees, too, but don’t make it an extra task in an already busy time. Then hold off on nonessential tasks until business slows down or you’ve increased your headcount.

Allow for flexible scheduling. If employees need to work longer hours on some days during the week, consider allowing them to work fewer hours on other days of the week. Note that some states have daily overtime, spread-of-hours or split-shift laws.

Budget for overtime. Employees may need to work extra hours to keep up with the current demands of their job, so allow them to work overtime if you (and they) can swing it. If you’re pretty sure overtime will be necessary, inform employees of that ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.

Ensure all equipment is maintained and reliable. It’s important to identify, troubleshoot and correct any slow or nonworking equipment (such as laptops, internet hardware, cash registers or vehicles). If not resolved, these issues can slow down work and add to everyone’s stress.

Look for ways to automate. Consider whether any of your employees’ manual and time-consuming tasks could be eliminated or simplified with the use of new or different technology.

News of Interest

Get Some Rest

Getting less than five hours of sleep in mid-to-late life could be linked to an increased risk of developing at least two chronic diseases, a new study finds. Researchers examined the relationship between how long each participant slept for, mortality and whether they had been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases (multimorbidity)—such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes—over the course of 25 years.

People who reported getting five hours of sleep or less at age 50 were 20 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with a chronic disease and 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases over 25 years compared to people who slept for up to seven hours. Read more here.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Exhibit

Orbis International announced the inclusion of artifacts from its second generation Orbis Flying Eye Hospital DC-10 aircraft in a new permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

This brand new “Thomas W. Haas We All Fly” exhibition opened on Oct. 14, 2022, and celebrates the breadth and depth of aviation. The exhibit features a simulator from the Flying Eye Hospital, which is the world’s only fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board a plane.

Video Gaming May Improve Cognitive Performance in Children, Study Suggests

A study published in JAMA Network Open “finds that gaming may help with both cognition and impulse control” in children. The study “found that kids who played video games for three or more hours a day did better on tasks associated with memory and impulse control than children who didn’t play video games at all.”

Also, the gamers “had higher levels of activity in parts of the brain associated with attention and working memory.”

Getty Images photo credits—burnout: Jay_Yuno; checklist: Victor_Metelskiy; grateful: photoguns; sleep: amenic181; value: ANA_BARAULIA; and video gamer: Fabio Principe-EyeEm

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