Catherine M. Ferentini, OD, had three practices in Newington, Rocky Hill and Vernon, Connecticut. These were large practices, with a total of 60 employees. That meant that 60 families were depending on her for their livelihood. The pressure to make smart decisions in an environment where managed care was challenging, with a longtime and loyal staff who would need to be retrained to adapt to advancing technology, was stressful. Despite that loyalty, she also felt that any of her staff could be lured away by other employers, leaving her struggling even more. Not only did she want to make sure that her staff and her practice were taken care of, “I also wanted to ensure my retirement. Lastly, I looked down the road at the future landscape of optometry, and I saw the need for additional support.”
In April 2018, she sold her practice to MyEyeDr. The move, she says, has provided her with the support she needed and has allowed her to enjoy her work and feel fulfilled.
RIGHT TIME, RIGHT BUYER
Selling a practice is not a simple step. She had to consider her own financial future, but she also felt a responsibility to her employees. “I did not have more opportunity for progression in my company. MyEyeDr. offered them more opportunities and better benefits. As a single owner of three large practices, I was fearful that if something happened to me, they would not be OK,” she says.
She also felt that the challenges facing her as a solo business owner were growing in complexity: lower reimbursements, higher cost of goods and payroll expenses and complex human resources requirements with such a large staff. What she couldn’t train her staff to do, she outsourced. “I was getting tired of fighting for every penny to make sure that my net profits could continue to grow,” she says. MyEyeDr. offered her a solution to her most immediate management challenges and would also provide her with the opportunity to stay and work with the patients to whom she had become so connected.
NO MORE NEGOTIATING
Dr. Ferentini was able to release the negotiating that she had to do as an owner. That was a relief, as reimbursements, fees, materials and meeting employer group priorities took a lot of her time. “MyEyeDr. helps practices grow by taking on these plans and negotiating better rates with them. MyEyeDr. also has maximum buying volume, which lowers the cost of goods significantly,” she says.
Similarly, the psychological burden of carrying all the families of her employees was lifted. MyEyeDr. took over staff management and benefits administration and has its own human resources team. Now employees who might need to leave the area can perhaps continue to advance their careers within the MyEyeDr. community, a benefit she was unable to offer, even with three practices.
SAME HIGH-LEVEL CARE
When it comes to her time in the exam room, however, “I practice much the same as I did before the sale. I still get involved and speak up to help MyEyeDr. ensure that my patients receive the most optimal care. I practice 30 hours per week and am highly involved in management discussions,” she says.
When MyEyeDr. acquires practices, it enhances what’s already there. In Dr. Ferentini’s case, these were high-tech practices with advanced technology. She is confident that MyEyeDr.’s continual exploration for technology breakthroughs means that these practice locations will continue to deliver patients in the region some of the most advanced eye care available. Despite having more than 500 practices as part of MyEyeDr., many of them continue to showcase what made them special to begin with as new opportunities are brought along.
That’s exciting to Dr. Ferentini as she imagines what could be coming next for eye care professionals in Connecticut, with its expanded scope of practice laws. “I hope to continue to push forward with new technologies that allow for better patient care by screening for early detection of diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. My efforts are helped greatly by MyEyeDr., which is synonymous with eye health care, and not just optical shops. This makes being the greatest doctor I can be much easier for both me and my patients,” she says.