Through OptometryCEO, I have had the privilege of coaching hundreds of optometrists in their careers. The most common request for advice comes from employed optometrists looking to buy into or purchase a practice. They want my unbiased opinion of their situation. They have nothing to lose with my opinion and I have nothing to gain, yet I cannot remain emotionally uninvolved.
Our profession appears to be doing a poor job of investing in those who will follow us. Each generation of optometrists have career mile markers that define them. We’ve gone from scope of practice to managed vision plans, from access to patients to employing optometrists. In the years since employing optometrists has become the trend, I’ve had the displeasure of scrutinizing an appalling number of poor compensation models that span the general optometry community.
What is so appalling?
1. Paying an employed optometrist only 15 percent or less of his or her collections for the practice.
2. Expecting an optometrist with a family to work six days per week.
3. Asking your employed OD to see 20-30 patients per day and paying her or him $400 per day, while you pocket more than $1,000.
4. Asking him or her to be an optometrist, but only supplying a refractor and exam lane. (i.e. – no OCT, no visual field unit, no fundus camera, etc.)
5. Making promises of future partnerships but never committing. (i.e. – leading them on)
6. Creating a culture where the employed OD feels inferior to the owner due to unequal doctor compensation. Compensation should be separated, business profits and clinical doctor work.
Creating a culture of “paying it forward” results in a win-win for all parties involved. Employed optometrists who believe they are being treated well results in better care for patients, a willingness to do extra when asked, a positive reputation builder, and many other intangibles. Give to get.