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Start a Practice After Working as a Commercial OD


Start a Practice After Working as a Commercial OD

Dr. Jovan Alavanja’s path to private practice ownership included time spent in both the private and corporate-affiliated practice worlds. He gave himself five years to become a private practice owner.

After earning a Doctor of Optometry at the Indiana University School of Optometry, Dr. Alavanja worked part-time at a private office then spent the next four and a half years at a corporate-affiliated practice. In 2016, he reconnected with a colleague, Dr. Julie Grove, and in August of 2017 opened Crown Point Eye Care.

Biggest Differences & Learning Curves

Start a Practice After Working as a Commercial OD
Dr. Jovan Alavanja, Crown Point Eye Care, Crown Point, IN.

To Dr. Alavanja, making decisions is the standout aspect of owning a private practice. “As a contracted OD, I went to work and saw patients. The ability to instill change makes a huge difference for me professionally.  I want to make sure the latest and greatest technology, whether for myself or for patients, is at my fingertips. Private ownership gives me the ability to have all of it, and then some.”

Understanding the insurance process as well as managing staff have been the two areas where Dr. Alavanja had to catch up.

“As a contracted OD, I did not have to worry about insurance issues since the optical dealt with insurance plans. Trying to figure out what is not only best for the patient, but also for the office took some time to understand,” said Dr. Alavanja. “I’m still learning. I’ve had good staff and a great partner to help facilitate that aspect. Regarding employee management, I had never hired or fired someone. Trying to find a staff member that not only works well with the doctors, but also with staff and patients is tough. It is a delicate balance to have all of the above, and it has been a good learning experience. It makes you prioritize and balance your needs and wants to help find the best possible candidate.”


As a private practice owner, Dr. Alavanja quickly noticed a difference from his corporate-affiliated OD experience. “The patient care differs greatly from a corporate-affiliated practice,” he said. “For many of the corporate-affiliated practice patients, insurance was the hindering point. If the patient didn’t have vision insurance, it was doubtful that they would have health insurance. That meant that many patients that we referred for cataracts, retinal issues, and other issues, were less likely to follow up.”

Life Balance

“I don’t have much time for leisure reading these days with a 15-month-old child, but I think Vision Source® has done a great job of sharing financial and practice management information and general helpful resources with members,” said Dr. Alavanja.

Determining a Path

“Partnering with Dr. Grove and having Vision Source® as a support system were the two best professional decisions I made,” said Dr. Alavanja. “I am beyond happy I decided to move to ownership.
Vision Source® helped facilitate many aspects of the transition.”

See how Vision Source® can help you successfully start a private practice. Visit