December 2022

Grateful for Our Sponsors

From the SNAPP Board

At this time of year, many of us think of giving and giving back, so the SNAPP Board wants to recognize the enduring support SNAPP sponsors provide throughout the year. These are extraordinary contributions—without which we simply couldn’t exist.

So… while we count everything for which we are grateful—our health, our businesses, our ability to provide vision care to so many people, our friendships, our families, and so much more—let’s remember to include the vendor-partners who support us every day of the year.

As our only Diamond and Founding sponsor, our friends at CooperVision have never wavered from their amazing support. Thank you for believing in us from the start.

Platinum sponsor, Bausch + Lomb, has demonstrated consistent support from the beginning. The great associates of this fine company deserve our sincere gratitude.

Our Gold-level sponsors—Alcon, Allergan, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, and Transitions—provide steady contributions that have been greatly appreciated, and we hope to continue and grow SNAPP’s relationships with them.

MacuHealth is a Silver sponsor and contributes financially, as well as through its outstanding educational programs. Sincerest thanks!

Finally, thanks to our Bronze sponsors: AmCheck Las Vegas, CardConnect, Doctor Multimedia, EssilorLuxottica, Eyeficient, Eyefinity, Get Healthy, Lensquote, Nidek, Optos, Practice Compliance Solutions, RightEye, Sight Sciences, TearCare, Topcon and Weave. We appreciate these organizations’ partnership and have enjoyed working with each of them throughout years.

SNAPP is always seeking great companies to partner with and is excited to welcome Olleyes and to re-welcome VisionWeb for 2023!

Benefits of SNAPP Membership

Work and Play Combine in a Great Meeting

Shaun Rawana, OD, has been a member of SNAPP for nearly a decade. So when he opened his own Pearle-affiliated practice Kawartha Optimal Vision Eye Care in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, in July 2019, he knew he had the community connections to keep him inspired and engaged.

Dr. Rawana

Dr. Rawana has attended previous SNAPP meetings and says that no matter how often he attends, there is always something new to learn. Dr. Rawana has made many new friends within the organization and finds himself reconnecting with them at the Annual Meeting. “I love the fellowship and open exchange of ideas,” he says. The meeting has helped him find time to network with colleagues, new and old, in a designated space focused on education, practice growth and the patient experience.

He reports the most recent meeting expanded his knowledge of myopia management and updated industry technology. He was particularly impressed by the in-person demonstration of DHG Technology’s “affordable and portable option” for handheld b-scan and pachymetry technology. He also enjoyed an educational demonstration of the portability of the Heru visual field device. Since it’s worn by the user, it reduces the real estate needed for a traditional visual field analyzer.

Dr. Rawana always looks forward to the continuing education seminars and spending time with others in his shoes. He appreciates the way the SNAPP Board organizes the meeting in an efficient, educational and enjoyable manner. Plus, it’s convenient that he can attend Vision Expo West during the same trip. He notes that the Board members work hard to keep the meeting engaging and surprising. This year’s trip to the Las Vegas Mob Museum “was fun and very interesting. I don't know how they keep finding new and interesting things to do!”

Each Meeting Better Than the Last

Ketan Sheladia, OD, is a multi-unit Pearle Vision operator with five locations in Illinois’ Chicagoland area. He attended his first SNAPP Annual Meeting in New York, New York, in 2015. Since then, he’s also attended in Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and most recently, Las Vegas, Nevada. He calls each meeting “better than the last.”

Dr. Sheladia

“I’ve developed many friendships within the Pearle Vision community because of SNAPP,” he says. Dr. Sheladia enjoys reconnecting with colleagues from across the country and the general camaraderie with like-minded people. He says he looks forward to sharing new ideas with others every year.

Dr. Sheladia has his hands full managing five locations while seeing patients multiple times per week. He credits a SNAPP presentation by Joe DeLoach, OD, of Practice Compliance Solutions (PCS) in helping him see what he could improve and how to do it. Dr. Sheladia implemented PCS services immediately and has been a client ever since.

As busy as his schedule keeps him, Dr. Sheladia doesn’t plan on missing future meetings—the information is too valuable, he says. He is looking forward to “informative CE, updates from industry partners and, of course, catching up with my Pearle Vision friends.”

He gives a “big shoutout to the SNAPP Board for constantly working hard. I’m glad to be part of this organization and grateful for all their hard work and time.”

Compliance Corner

Health Care Compliance in the Corporate Eye Care World

From the experts at Practice Compliance Solutions

Based on real-time experience, some corporate eye care business owners are under the mistaken impression that regulations like HIPAA, OSHA, Fraud and Abuse and others don’t apply to them. Nothing could be further from the truth! No “covered entity” is exempt from HIPAA; no business with employees is exempt from the vast number of human resources laws; no provider who files a claim for insurance reimbursement is exempt from the laws and tenets of medical reimbursement; no business in America is exempt from OSHA; and very few health care businesses are exempt from the laws regarding patient discrimination, patient disability, fee transparency and numerous other regulations. In some situations, the application may vary, but no one is immune to these realities.

Failure to comply with any of these laws is an unacceptable gamble. Let’s review the major laws and how the application may vary based on the structure of the business as well as some unique situations that may complicate compliance in corporate practice.

 HIPAA is the most complex application. Any health care business that transmits any patient data by any electronic means for any reason is subject to the regulations in HIPAA. In a corporate practice, the covered entity could be the doctor or a non-doctor owner and is responsible for the protection of patient information. In a corporate practice where the optical is owned by someone other than the covered entity, this could be individuals in the optical who manage or have access to the covered entity’s patient schedules or have/demand access to patient records. A business associate agreement would be required. Takeaway: The owner (layperson or doctor) is the covered entity and must comply with all HIPAA regulations.

 OSHA is easy. The owner is bound by all rules of OSHA. No exceptions. Complexities in a corporate setting can arise with shared space and shared employees. In general, if you are using a space where your employees or patients work, a common break area or common restroom facilities, you should pay close attention to compliance with OSHA regulations in those shared areas. If employees from a separate optical or business come into your “space,” they are visitors, and you have the responsibility to have a safe environment for them just like your employees, patients and other visitors. One caveat: legal counsel has stated that an employed doctor working for a non-compliant business could be held legally responsible for unfortunate incidences related to OSHA (or possibly any compliance area).

 Human resources is also easy—usually. If you have employees, you must abide by all the federal and state employment laws. Sometimes there is “sharing” of employees. In these situations, it all comes down to who pays the employee. Their employer is responsible for everything even if that employee is allowed to come from a separate optical and perform some function in your business.

 Fraud and abuse violations are not a pretty picture. In general, optometrists are rated high on the fraud and abuse scale. This stems from a lack of accurate training about vision and medical reimbursement rules and a plethora of misinformation on the subject in countless blogs. The corporate practice is no different, and the rules are no different. The primary responsibility for compliance with vision and medical reimbursement laws and regulations is the owner of the business. But…the attending physician is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of any insurance claim for services they provided. Everyone on the team should have accurate knowledge of the rules and an eye focused on accurate and legal claims submission.

Regardless of the business location or franchise details, the business should be a true team approach. In that scenario, everyone is concerned about and focused on protecting the business by being fully compliant with the law. Read the full column here.

HR Update from Amcheck

Smartwatches: Are Your Policies Keeping up With Technology?

For those businesses that regulate personal cellphone usage at work, should or could that policy be expanded to smartwatches? The experts at AmCheck say that policies can be expanded to cover smartwatches or other wearable devices. Keep these points in mind as you’re creating or revising your policy.

• Focus your policy on employees’ actions and not the technology itself. You don’t want to have to update the policy to account for every new kind of device.

• Address how mobile devices may affect workplace safety, customer service, productivity and security. Employees may be more receptive to limits on their use of personal devices if they understand the reasons for them.

• Allow devices to be used during break and meal periods. Employees should be allowed to use their devices when they’re not working.

• Recognize that some people use smartwatches for their health and fitness features, such as keeping an eye on heart rate or respiration. They may also serve as emergency notifications for parents—and simply for telling time or setting alerts. So instead, you may want to limit what employees are doing with their smart devices (e.g., texting).

• You could also opt to allow limited use when employees are working. For example, non-customer-facing employees may be able to use headphones and their mobile device to listen to music while completing their work.

This does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local laws.

News of Interest

Patients Want to Hear Your Recommendation

According to the 2022 Transitions Optical Workplace Wellness survey, patients expect their eye care providers to educate them on their vision insurance plan’s benefits.

They’d rather hear it from you than find it out online or through their insurance provider. Overall, 88 percent of employees report they are likely to purchase premium lens options if recommended by an ECP. Additionally, 86 percent of employees are also likely to spend more than their insurance allowance for a new pair of eyeglasses, and almost all (96 percent) of the employees surveyed report they are willing to pay above what their insurance fully covers for a premium lens option.

In One Year of Lockdown, Teen Brains Aged Three Years

Brain scans of teenagers who’d been through the pandemic showed physical changes not found in the brains of comparable age groups examined before the pandemic, said a study published in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science.

The pandemic brain scans showed reduced thickness in the cortex, which controls executive functioning or the ability to do tasks like planning, paying attention and reasoning. The scans also showed growth in the amygdala, which regulates fear and stress, and the hippocampus, which controls access to memories.

AOA Report Finds ODs Are Embracing Myopia

An American Optometric Association (AOA) survey found that 69 percent of ODs report providing myopia management services in their practices, and three out of four responding doctors consider myopia to be a disease in need of treatment.

Nearly all responding doctors who provide myopia management services (93 percent) are practicing in metropolitan areas, and 71 percent of these doctors report working in an independent practice not affiliated with private equity or corporate optometry. Read more in this Vision Monday story.

Getty Images photo credits—compliance: cnythzl; myopia: imtmphoto; smartwatch: Oscar_Wong; teen brain: kickstand; and thank you: Wibofoto

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