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OD Determined to Provide Patients Highest Level of Care She Can

dr. malique payne in the exam room
Dr. Payne

Malique Payne, OD, never had a goal of owning three independent practices next to a Walmart Vision Center. But in the nearly 10 years since she formed Superior Eyecare, “it kind of came together as I went along.” Dr. Payne started an independent practice next door to a Fayetteville, Georgia, Walmart in 2016. In May and again in October 2023, Dr. Payne was offered two new locations–both in Marietta. Since they were new and only a 25-minute drive apart, she thought she’d take them both.

What she appreciates most is that the three locations provide her patients with access to care. “The patients and the surrounding communities have more access with three locations than they would with one,” she says.

The communities are very different, she says. “Fayetteville is further south; it’s more rural. Marietta is closer to Atlanta, and the need for eye care for the Hispanic and Portuguese communities is high.” She calls herself capable of handling an eye exam in Spanish, “I’m not fluent, but I’ve found it helpful as I serve these communities

FOCUS ON SERVICE

Dr. Payne wants to be able to do as much for her patients as she can while they’re in her practice. Through Walmart, she has leased a Topcon Maestro2 OCT for each location. “I want to make sure that patients know I have a full-scope optometric practice and try to do everything I can for my patients. That includes comprehensive exams, disease co-management, foreign body and other emergencies and specialty contact lenses. We work hand-in-hand with ophthalmologists for surgical interventions, of course, and I’ll refer as necessary,” she says.

logo for superior eyecare
Dr. Payne’s patients tell her they seek out her Superior Eyecare independent practices next door to Walmart.

She has recently acquired a mobile electroretinogram (ERG) that she takes with her from location to location. “The purpose of that is to test the functionality of the retina without the subjective component,” she says. It’s still a new device to her but already it has corroborated other clinical findings or helps her determine a schedule on which to have patients return.

“If I have a patient in my chair, I want to be able to run the testing that I need to determine their eye health and vision. It’s worth my investment because technology like this makes me a better clinician, allowing me to find disease earlier and intervene sooner,” she says. “The technology has improved, and I’d be doing my patients a disservice if I wasn’t doing everything I could for them.”

MANAGING HER TIME

Dr. Payne is the solo OD in all of these locations. She splits her time, working several days a week in Fayetteville and dividing her time in the Marietta locations on other days. As those are still new, she’s focused on growing those practices.

She’s seeing a steady climb in the patient base. “Most of it is worth of mouth, but my website does help patients find me. If they’ve lost track of me in the move or if they’ve moved, they’re often happy to see that I’m nearby when they check my website.”

Throughout her career, Dr. Payne has been pleased at how turnkey the opportunities are to have an independent practice next to a Walmart Vision Center. It’s allowed her to provide her patients with access to eye care and given her the flexibility to create a balance work/home life with her 15-year-old son, Jaiden, and their new pup, a miniature poodle named Benjamin.

Read other stories from ODs whose independent practices are next door to Walmart here.

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