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How Did This Trunk Show Turn Out So Wrong?

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FUNG EYE CARE WAS an established optometry clinic on the outskirts of St. Louis, MO. Dr. Fung and her two partners employed 20 staff, a few of whom had just returned from an out of state conference. Lead opticians John and Mike were buzzing about all the new frames at the event, and asked to meet with the doctors to discuss an idea.

ABOUT REAL DEAL

Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NATALIE TAYLOR is owner of Artisan Eyewear in Meredith, NH. She offers regional private practice consulting and ABO/COPE approved presentations. Email her at [email protected]

“We would really like to throw a trunk show at the office,” said John.

“John and I will do all the prep work, but we want to do it the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend, from 3-6 p.m.,” said Mike.

“We’ve never done something like that before,” said Dr. Fung. “Where would we start?”

“Normally two doctors see patients Friday afternoons. I’d like to reschedule the last two hours and block that time out, so if someone comes to the event without an active prescription they can be seen immediately,” John replied.

Dr. Fung looked at her fellow practice owners, who nodded their agreement. “Okay guys, I like your confidence! Obviously, there’s some pressure to be profitable to make up for the lost appointment times, but an event could be a lot of fun for the community,” she said.

John and Mike spent the intervening five weeks in party planning mode. Two of their frame reps with multiple lines agreed to attend. The pair decided on a tropical theme and accumulated a variety of grass skirts, streamers, leis and cardboard signs.

Mike posted several times on the practices’ Facebook and Instagram accounts, and John reached out to the local paper to ask a reporter to visit during the event. The front desk mentioned the event to everyone who called in, and a framed sign was placed at the check-in counter. In the week leading to the big day, the opticians noticed several patients opting to hold off on purchasing to take advantage of trunk show discounts.

Friday morning the staff arrived in Hawaiian shirts, full of energy. The day flew by and soon it was 3 p.m. The office looked fantastic: the frame reps had plenty of space to spread out their trays, the food and drinks were beautifully displayed, and a dozen helium-filled balloons at the sidewalk swayed in the breeze. The team waited eagerly near the front door.

At 3:15 p.m., a man with his two small children came in and went straight to the food table. Mike greeted them.

“Oh, I’m your frame rep’s husband,” the man said, pointing towards the showroom. “We’re on our way to camp for the holiday weekend as soon as she’s done. Six o’clock, right?”

“Right,” Mike replied feebly.

A couple who had exams earlier in the week showed up to browse and enter the raffle, but by 5 p.m. it was just the staff and the reps.

Eventually Dr. Fung cornered Mike and John. “Guys, what’s going on? Where are the people?” she asked.

Just then a woman walked through the front door. “Hi, I’m a reporter with the Post Dispatch,” she said, greeting the group.

John and Mike looked at each other weakly.

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The Big Questions

  • What could John, Mike and the rest of the staff have done differently to attract more attendees?
  • Is there a way to salvage this event? How would you handle the reporter?
  • Should Dr. Fung, as the practice owner, have done something different? As owner, would you agree to another trunk show in the future?
Sam M.
Princeton, NJ

Five weeks wasn’t enough time to prepare. You have to do mailings, email, social media etc. Did you do newspaper ads? Did the participating vendors help in marketing? I also wonder if there were too many brands shown. A trunk show should be something special. We do a Lafont Trunk show every year because it IS a special line. We sell 30-35 frames in a three-hour period. Also, don’t give up! Trunk shows build on themselves. Every year you will get more people coming in. Make it a yearly event.

Anissa L.
Berkeley, CA

It’s so hard to put together an event such as a trunk show. So, kudos to the lead opticians for the excitement. There are a few things I would have changed. 1. It’s never a good idea to put an optical event directly before any holiday. At that time families are spending time and money together. Solution: It would have been smarter to put the event two weeks after Labor Day. That way there would have been a better turnout and any vacation money would have been put back in people’s bank accounts. 2. Advertise! Post! Retweet! Anything to get the word out. It seems like that wasn’t done to entice people to come into the office. Maybe they didn’t know it was happening. 3. Too much excitement. When an office isn’t known for a trunk show, wait until the third go to get maximum turnout. Next time’s the charm!

Scott K.
Dover, OH

First: Never have a trunk show on a holiday weekend — too many people traveling. Second: Send postcard mailers to specific household income or net worth homes in the surrounding area. On one side of the postcard make it simple and eye catching. On the other side, give some details about the trunk show but keep it clean and easy to read. Third: If possible, email your top customers. Fourth: Have the sale the same weekend every year to build up awareness over time. Fifth: Run a large ad in the local paper — go big or go home.

Judy C.
Virginia Beach, VA

1. Wrong day, wrong theme. Never schedule an event on a holiday weekend. Never. Tropical theme is great, but perhaps during cold weather when everyone is dreaming about their summer vacation. Have a Kid’s Day in early August or a Mom’s Day in the spring.
2. Nothing to salvage. Divvy up the food among the staff and reps and call it a day. Use the time with the reporter to talk about eye health and lens/frame options.
3. Start planning the next trunk show immediately. Choose a date and a theme and set a timeline for publicity. Build excitement beyond the practice. Invite the neighborhood!

Lois S.
Winter Park, FL

I think they had the right idea, but needed to NOT have it on a holiday weekend, and hold it during the week, in the daytime or afternoon. Perhaps they could stay an hour later to accommodate people after work. I would have it on a busy doctor day, so your patients coming out of the exam room will purchase. If you have no more exam spaces available, write up the order, hold it in the computer, make an exam appointment, and offer them the special pricing then. Perhaps they could have contacted their best-purchasing patients by phone or postcard to inform them of the event.

Jenna G.
Fargo, ND

First thing: BAD DATE/TIME. The Friday before a long holiday weekend is not a good time to try and get people to come shop. They want to get out of town. Why clear the schedule? Instead, use that time to target patients who want to buy glasses, have them come in for their exams, and have a bigger selection to choose from. Let them know there is going to be a party and you want them there! Use the reporter to talk about the practice, not just the event. Maybe they should sit down with the practice owner and talk about what is unique about the practice. Don’t send away free advertising! Unfortunately, you can never totally predict turnout. We have had trunk shows where I have done the exact same amount of marketing, and some are hits, and some are misses. Document and evaluate. Be brutally honest about what went well, and what didn’t. Learn from it, and do it differently the next time.

Jon L.
Madison, IN

As the founder of McDonald’s would say, “Early to bed, early to rise, advertise, advertise, advertise.” Ray Kroc knew that if you want business, you have to let everyone know what you are all about. Don’t think that happened here.

Alicia M.
Anchorage, AK

Their first and biggest mistake was the timing of the show — Friday afternoon on Labor Day weekend. The only thing folks want to do is get off work early and finish loading up the camping and boating stuff, and leave for the weekend. Not go visit their eye doc’s office. I think if they had picked another day, possibly a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon not preceding a holiday weekend, they would have done better.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Natalie Taylor is an experienced optometry practice manager for Advanced Care Vision Network and a consultant with Taylor Vision. Learn more at tayloreye.com.

Real Deal

Two Patients Collided in This OD’s Parking Lot — Is He Liable for Anything? Here’s Your Chance to Weigh In…

You could call it a case of ‘hit and nun.’

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DR. PHILBIN’S PRIVATE practice served several towns in southern Arizona. The day was winding down when a staff member pulled him aside. “Derek just showed up. We had him booked at 3:40. Do you still want to see him or should we reschedule?” she asked. “He does have an outstanding balance of $340, by the way.”

ABOUT REAL DEAL

Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NATALIE TAYLOR is owner of Artisan Eyewear in Meredith, NH. She offers regional private practice consulting and ABO/COPE approved presentations. Email her at [email protected]

Derek was a longtime patient and the childhood best friend of Dr. Philbin’s son. He sighed dramatically, smiled and nodded. “I’ll see him.”

Moments later they met in an exam room. “Thanks for seeing me Dr. Philbin,” said Derek. “How’s Bugs?”

Dr. Philbin took a second to recall the ancient nickname his son used to have. “Oh, fine. He graduated college last year and lives in Houston,” he replied. “What are we doing today?”

Derek pulled a form out of his back pocket. “I was hoping you could help me get a tint for my car windows, since I have such sensitive eyes,” he explained. “A letter from a doctor is all I need.”

“Oh, Derek buddy, it’s so rare for someone to have a true medical need for that, and I can tell you right now you don’t qualify. You’d need to be a danger to others on the road,” he said. “I’d recommend a great pair of wraparound sunglasses; do you have those?”

“I hate wearing sunglasses, they bother my nose,” he said, throwing his head back in exasperation. “There’s no test you can do? I’m sure I won’t pass.”

“Sorry bud,” said Dr. Philbin, “but it was great seeing you. Tell your parents I said hello,” shaking the young man’s hand.

Ten minutes later Dr. Philbin was at his desk reviewing e-mails when a receptionist paged him to the front. Patients and staff members were gathered near windows facing the parking lot. He could hear the receptionist behind him: “It’s a fender bender.”

Just then Derek entered the building followed by Sister Bethany. Dr. Philbin was eyecare provider to many of the nuns at the local convent.

Her appointment that day had been for a dilated fundus exam. Eager to avoid a spectacle, he herded them both into his office.

“Is everyone okay?” he asked worriedly.

“Oh, I’m okay,” the elderly nun said magnanimously. She was still wearing her roll-up dilation glasses.

“Well, what happened?”

Derek spoke up: “I was backing out of my spot, but the sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t see her behind me.”

“These things happen,” she said, patting his shoulder. “It is very bright out there.”

“I guess you’ll need to exchange insurance information?” Dr. Philbin suggested.

Both parties paused and looked at each other, and Sister Bethany spoke slowly, delicately. “The last time one of us had an accident it was preferred to work things out privately, directly with the church.”

“That’s good for me too,” said Derek quickly. “That’s what I did last time, I’m fine with that.”

Dr. Philbin struggled to stay quiet as they exchanged contact info. As they were leaving Derek mused aloud: “This seems like a pretty good reason for tinted windows!”

The Big Questions

  • Dr. Philbin is concerned about Derek’s willingness or ability to pay the church. Is it his place to volunteer these concerns?
  • Considering Sister Bethany’s eyes are dilated and the accident happened on company property, what (if any) actions should the practice take?
  • If you were Derek’s doctor, how would his last comment affect your behavior?
Minh T.
Decatur, GA

1. There’s nothing wrong with handling accidents privately vs. having insurance involved.
2. The parking lot is not the office so practice has nothing to worry about.
3. Tinting windows is no big deal if not less than 35 percent transmittance … tinting the front windshield is what matters; each state has their own rules regarding such. Refer to that for proper protocols.

David G.
Newport Beach, CA

Dr. Philbin shouldn’t volunteer any concerns regarding ability to pay the church. It’s likely Derek’s unpaid balance is due to his relationship to the owner. A simple explanation of the effects of dilation isn’t enough. The practice should implement a written dilation “waiver” to explain the side-effects. Ironically though, it doesn’t sound like Sister Bethany was at fault and the practice was proactive in giving her dilation sunglasses. Dr. Philbin should have performed a light sensitivity/glare test to affirm his reasoning, then brought Derek to his optician to find some comfortable sunglasses. Derek’s lack of education and testing led to his unfortunate remark.

Melania N.
MINEOLA, NY

1. It’s not the OD’s place to voice his concerns.
2. The practice should take no action; they’re not responsible for what happened. I wouldn’t have even brought them back in for discussion in the first place.
3. I would have replied with “Sunglasses would have prevented this from happening as I had recommended.”

Lisa Lynne M.
MOORE, OK

This is why it is critical to have all patients sign a dilation consent form stating “we recommend you bring a driver.” If the patient chooses to drive dilated, they assume the risk.

Dave G.
Lansing, MI

I would not mention anyone’s ability to pay to another, but I would have asked for a payment against his balance “…while you’re here.” When he asked about testing, I would have explained the costs and left it to him to decide if he wanted to pay for it. To protect the practice, some form of documentation should be taken. If not a police report, have each party write their version of the incident.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Real Deal

An Experienced Optical Employee Bristles at Working Under A New-to-the-Industry Supervisor … Put on Your GM Hat and Help Sort This One Out

As far as she’s concerned, this is one spurious supervisor.

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LINDY HAD BEEN the sole employee of an elderly optometrist for two years; when he retired she applied to the only other practice in her rural Nebraska area: a corporate chain located inside a mall. Eric had joined the company four months before Lindy—he was recruited away from managing a Men’s Warehouse on the opposite side of the mall, and now he was Lindy’s supervisor.

ABOUT REAL DEAL

Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NATALIE TAYLOR is owner of Artisan Eyewear in Meredith, NH. She offers regional private practice consulting and ABO/COPE approved presentations. Email her at [email protected]

The pair often butted heads, much to Eric’s annoyance. He was making his way through manuals, webinars, modules and off-site training, but Lindy seemed to relish challenging his every move. Today was no different.

Lindy found her supervisor in the lab. “Eric, can I get your help with something?” She gestured towards the sales floor. “Recognize her from last week? You did this order.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, sucking his teeth. “Took forever for her to pick out a frame.”

“I’d like to remake these lenses,” Lindy said. “The seg height is too high by 3 millimeters.”

“Impossible. I used the iPad app. Just adjust the nose pads so it sits lower,” instructed Eric.

Lindy pointed at the frame. “If it goes lower the bridge will rest on her nose.”

“Try it. Three millimeters isn’t bad enough to justify a remake.” Eric sensed Lindy would continue challenging him so he grabbed the frame out of her hands. “I’ll show you; it’s good training.”

The pair joined a very annoyed customer, seated at a dispensing desk.

“I’m going to lower this frame a bit and that should fix the problem,” Eric announced brusquely.

The woman let Eric fiddle with the frame, and when it was back on her face she gyrated her head wildly. “This doesn’t look any different,” she said.

“You’ll need to take a few weeks to adapt but this is going to work great,” he said, shoving his hand in hers in a shake good-bye. Lindy averted her gaze as the woman wandered back into the mall.

“Remakes hurt our stats!” Eric said, for perhaps the hundredth time.

A few hours later Lindy was measuring a patient for progressives when Eric plopped down next to her.

“Here Lindy, I think you were looking for this,” he said, resting the iPad on the desk.

“Thanks Eric, but I’ve got my super-duper marking pen here,” she replied flatly.

“We want to maintain the same high quality though, and patients love new technology!” he said, smiling at the patient. “This thing really is neat. Here, I’ll do it, can you grab the Blue Light Pen from the lab for me?”

Lindy smiled politely at her patient and gave Eric her seat. As she walked, Eric’s voice carried across the optical sales floor: “We strongly recommend a blue-blocking lens to prevent macular degeneration, which is a permanently blinding disease.”

Lindy’s eyes rolled; she knew blue light was a scare tactic, and when she got back to the desk she’d be sure to give the patient the full story.

The Big Questions

  • If you were this store’s general manager, how would you go about reconciling Eric’s by-the-books approach with Lindy’s experience?
  • The importance of blue blocking lenses is hotly contested. Should office staff be expected to take the position of the company, or is it an individual’s duty to advise patients as she sees fit?
  • How could a corporate supervisor best balance customer service against store statistics?
Tom S.
Holland, MI

Eric is not a kind coworker. Store statistics mean nothing if your patients are not happy. Blue light filters should be a patient-by-patient recommendation and not an assumed choice. You have to get to know your patients and their needs and come to a recommendation.

Chris D.
Lake County, FL

I was at that corporate place and am now in private practice. A third party, competent tenured peer or manager needs to mediate. Acknowledge the strengths both have. Defer optical experience to the optician and the corporate position to the GM. Stress the importance of ethics and proper wording-based research — not marketing. For example, “these lenses may….” or “because blue-light may….” And the optician needs to adapt to some new technologies and embrace changes as well. They should train together. Newbie and experienced both learning at the same time. Utilize both of their talents to tackle a new device so they can see from both perspectives. I have been the one to bridge these two positions.

Stewart G.
San Francisco, CA

To be honest, Lindy needs to look for a new job. Unless she can live with compromising her principles, she’s going to constantly have tensions with her supervisor. Her supervisor is acting like the owner of a commercial franchise I worked for many years ago. He would try to sell a customer (and I use that word purposely) anything, as long as he made more money, and the staff were rewarded for doing likewise. The customer, of course, didn’t know any better. When you sell 1.74 index to a -0.50 prescription, you understand what you are dealing with.

Nancy C.
Cortland, NY

Being in a licensed state, with a degree in ophthalmic dispensing, I see this occurring more and more. I approach with offers of explanation first. When informed my knowledge isn’t needed and stated in front of a patient, I go on break or lunch. Making a point to be very busy with operational maintenance. When the realization of better understanding is needed (it comes), and has been requested, I offer an explanation, again, never changing what was said or offered in the first place. The patients see and understand. Trust me, no job should compromise your professional ethics. Some corporate jobs require the “offer” of products and enhancements as part of your position. Just offer them to the patient, with education on the products, and your job requirement’s fulfilled.

Judy M.
Pittsfield, MA

There should never be a discussion about methods of measurement etc., between employees in front of customers. It makes the customer lose trust in the optical department. The general manager should get involved before the situation becomes out of control. Customers will sense the tension between employees. New technologies do ‘wow’ patients, but where I work we always use two methods of measuring: machine and hand measurements. Once an established patient has measurements that work for them, we may do just one form.

Rick R.
Girard, PA

1. First off, let’s be clear on something. If I were the general manager of this fictional optical (which by the way sounds strangely similar to a chain I once worked for), I would have NEVER hired some half-wit from Men’s Warehouse to be a supervisor. I think we all know how that works out. But if I were in this scenario I would have talked to both of them because a disgruntled customer being subjected to these two would be a formal first step in the counseling process. That behavior was uncalled for by both parties.
2. Again, having worked for this fictional company it is not your decision to make — whether you agree or disagree. But Eric’s over-the-top response about blue light was totally in the wrong.
3. Train your people so you can keep mistakes to a minimum. “Controllable remakes.” Guess how many times I have heard that one?

John L.
Nashville, IN

Typical corporate conundrum: a manager with only four months of experience in the optical business trying to exert his optical knowledge over an associate whose only experience has been as an employee of an elderly optometrist for a period of two years. Meanwhile, the customer is caught in between their differences in “experience.” Unfortunately, this is the future of our business, unless optometrists, opticians and our customers demand that formal training and a proof of competency is required for all opticians. If optometry expects that the full benefit of their Rx will be realized by their patient, qualified opticians are a must.

Cynthia S.
Mequon, WI

I would have a long private conversation with Eric regarding his behavior in front of the customer. I would explain the experience and qualifications I have as an experienced optician. I would let him tell me about the new technology and I would attempt to appease him by trying the iPad technology he is insisting upon, but I would also use my own tried-and-true method of fitting and assisting my customer. If he ever embarrassed me in front of a customer after a private conversation, I would take matters to a higher power. If there was no resolution, I would look for a different job.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Real Deal

This Myope’s Broke: How Would Your Office Handle Her?

Her illicit contact lenses trigger more problems than she bargained for.

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SATURDAYS WERE ALWAYS overbooked for Dr. Coakley, who owned a small private practice in a college town. His first patient of the day was ready in an exam chair when he walked in at 8:10 a.m.

ABOUT REAL DEAL

Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NATALIE TAYLOR is owner of Artisan Eyewear in Meredith, NH. She offers regional private practice consulting and ABO/COPE approved presentations. Email her at [email protected]

“Hi Stephanie, nice to meet you, I’m Dr. Coakley,” he said, perching on the stool. She was 20 years old and appeared to be in pain, cupping her left eye gingerly.

“Hi,” she said meekly. “I think I have pink eye or something.”

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Dr. Coakley gently pulled her hand away and saw a very swollen lid. “OK, let’s get started,” he said, pulling the slit lamp over her lap. During the exam he learned Stephanie’s last exam was 14 months ago in her home state. She had cracked a lens in her glasses six months ago, thought she was “about a minus 3” and ordered trendy contact lenses off a Facebook ad. Dr. Coakley noted corneal vascularization and pretty gnarly GPC.

“I am going to prescribe an eye drop. You can’t wear contact lenses until things clear up, and I would like you to come back in two weeks so we can do a complete exam,” Dr. Coakley explained. “I can do a proper contact lens fitting at that time.”

“Do you know what the price is for the drops?” Stephanie asked. “I’m a poor college kid,” she added, with an embarrassed chuckle.

“I don’t, but your insurance should cover a good portion,” he reassured. “I can’t imagine it being more than $20.”

Stephanie checked out at the front desk and called her mom for a credit card number for the $60 specialist co-pay.

Later that week Dr. Coakley’s staff obtained a faxed copy of Stephanie’s chart from her regular doctor. There was no indication of a contact lens fitting, nor mention of an online verification request, but the receptionist did mention a $340 outstanding balance.

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At her next appointment the technician pretested Stephanie and made note that she was still wearing a contact lens in her right eye.

The first thing Dr. Coakley did was evert her lids. “When was the last time you used the eye drops?” he asked.

“I didn’t end up going to the pharmacy,” she admitted sheepishly. “My roommate had some Visine — that’s definitely made my eyes feel better.”

“Unfortunately your eyes are still sick, so we need to reschedule again. I need you to go without contacts in both eyes for a while and use the drops. These contact lenses are not fitting you well and they frankly may not even be the right prescription, so I would recommend throwing them out as soon as you get home so we can start over.”

“I don’t get it,” she said, defensive. “I gave the contact lens company my other doctor’s info and they said they’d confirm everything. I got the contacts… so someone must have checked my records and approved it.”

“There was no indication the office was notified of your order,” he replied. “To be honest, that doesn’t surprise me. The internet is the Wild West.”

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She groaned. “My regular exam is covered by insurance but since we aren’t doing it today do I have to pay another $60?”  Dr. Coakley nodded. “Great. I shouldn’t have come back,” she muttered.

Dr. Coakley escorted Stephanie to check out, but at the front desk she had one more question.

“Now that you have my records from my old doctor, can you give me the glasses prescription she wrote?” she said, holding her broken glasses.

The Big Questions

  • Is there anything you would have done differently if you were Stephanie’s doctor in this case?
  • Have you ever dismissed a patient for not complying with a treatment plan? How about using contact lenses without a prescription?
  • Would you give a patient a faxed copy of an outside prescription? Why or why not?
Nancy C.
Cortland, NY

No, I would not provide a copy of another doctor’s Rx. I would instruct the patient that information needs to be provided by them. I would explain to the patient there was no CL Rx to verify or fill. The CL she is wearing was not prescribed and is equivalent to street drugs—a crapshoot. I would review proper procedures for exams, CL fitting and follow-ups, and have it in writing to have signed as understood. Then I would explain that I cannot provide services, nor will ever, as noncompliance and disregard has been the obvious choice of conduct. I would not be willing to accept responsibility for such a patient. I would provide a list of providers in the area, smile and wish her luck.

Angel M.
Cynthiana, KY

Stephanie’s previous office did nothing wrong; they faxed everything Dr. Coakley would need to start the fit. They definitely were in the right, alerting his office that she was a bad debt. Most noncompliant patients tend to dismiss themselves when they don’t like what the doctor tells them! Just make sure you document, document, document everything — and I mean everything. And giving a patient someone else’s faxed Rx, especially when they are a bad debt and have no history of contact lenses, etc., is beyond the pale of professional courtesy and could land Coakley’s office in hot water — considering she had never had a contact fit — if she re-orders sub-par contacts again and has permanent damage as a result. I’d tell noncompliant grifter Stephanie that she needs to call her doctor for a copy, and document, document, document. PS: Did I mention to document everything?

Nina C.
North Chesterfield, VA

I would not write a prescription from another doctor’s faxed record. I would charge her for a refraction so she has an updated glasses Rx, so she can discontinue contact lens wear and also for the specialist copayment.

Jenna S.
Fargo, ND

If she was a bunny hill skier who went down a black diamond slope and broke her leg, she wouldn’t think twice about paying for follow-ups and following the doctor’s instructions. The doctor needs to have a real serious talk and let her know what the long-term implications can be to her vision and her life. I would not release her Rx to her from another doctor — it wouldn’t be mine to release. She needs to talk to them about that. I would consider filling it in my office but she would need to pay for it before the order, since she has a history. I would have our opticians try to repair her frame, even if it is with superglue and tape, especially if it means she throws those contacts away before she ever leaves the office.

Martha D.
Wheatfield, IN

Unfortunately, we have run into this situation too often. When we do, the doctor will always try and advise the patient on the best course of action. If the patient is non-compliant then he’ll refer them to an ophthalmologist for further review. He will prescribe glasses to get them by until the eye is completely healed. The glasses would probably have to be changed a couple of times. The doctor would release a patient from his care if they were noncompliant. We did have a patient once who would sleep in his contacts all the time, get eye infections and end up in the emergency room. He quit coming to see us because we “nagged him” about his over-wear of contacts.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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