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47 BUSINESS THE CEO CHECKLIST F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O P T O M E T R I C M A N A G E M E N T . C O M TRANSITION TO CEO STEVE VARGO, O.D., M.B.A. 1 RENEW REVENUES AND PATIENT DEMAND Before hiring an associate, review your revenues and patient demand to deter- mine your ability to afford this hire. The decision to hire an associate is usu- ally driven by patient demand. Don't assume an associate will ambitiously and proactively grow the patient base. The owner O.D. shares much greater responsibility in that capacity than the employed associate. It's better to build the patient demand to the point at which an associate is seeing the over- flow of patients. Take 30 minutes. 2 INITIATE RECRUITING Once you've determined you need an associate, it's time to recruit. There are a number of optometric sources you can place job ads, but first you need a job ad. Spend some time creating an ad that will sound attractive to a job candi- date. Too many ads I see focus on all the things the employer requires from the candidate, but very little language tell- ing a qualified candidate why he or she would love working at the practice. In a tight job market, you can't just advertise a position — you have to sell it! Take 30 minutes. 3 START CREDENTIALING Getting doctors enrolled and cre- dentialed with the insurance plans you accept can take several weeks — even months! Different insur- ance providers have different re- quirements. Review the processes of the various plans you accept. Take 60 minutes. 4 EVALUATE SPACE Do you have the space to allow for multiple O.D.s and additional staff? Two exam rooms per O.D. along with multiple pre-testing rooms are ideal. If you currently lack adequate space, consider whether it's time to expand your office or relocate to a larger one. Take 60 minutes. 5 HIRE MORE STAFF Do you need more staff? A good rule of thumb is one full-time equivalent non-O.D. staff member for every $150,000 of annual-collected rev- enue. Take some time to review your current and future staffing needs. Take 30 minutes. 6 IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES Before hiring an associate, observe the office flow and try to identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies. The in- creased patient load resulting from the additional doctor can create un- due stress on the staff if inefficien- cies are negatively impacting the workflow. It's better to address this before adding another doctor. Take 60 minutes. 7 PROMOTE THE NEW DOCTOR "My patients only want to see me!" That's a common objection practice owners have to hiring associate doc- tors. Associates are key to creating a practice that operates without your continual involvement, but you will need to promote the new O.D. to build familiarity and trust with current pa- tients. Schedule a meeting with the staff members to discuss ways they will talk to current patients about the new doctor. Their enthusiasm is very important! Take 60 minutes. OM CHECKLIST: HIRE AN ASSOCIATE FINANCE: Review revenues and patient demand 1 STRATEGY SESSION: Initiate the recruiting process 2 Start the credentialing process 3 FACILITY: Evaluate space 4 HUMAN RESOURCES: Hire more staff 5 WORKFLOW: Improve efficiencies 6 MARKETING Promote the new doctor 7 DR. VARGO serves as Prima Eye Group's vice president of Optomet- ric Consulting. A published author and speaker with more than 15 years clinical experience, he is now a full-time consultant advising O.D.s in all areas of practice management and optometric office operations. To com- ment on this article, visit tinyurl.com/ OMcomment.