PUBLICATION EXCLUSIVE: Improvements in instruments, sterilization and anesthesia set stage for office-based vitreoretinal surgeries

Remarkable advances in vitreoretinal surgery have occurred in the past 20 years. Diversified and miniaturized instruments have been produced, surgical time has dropped, and most procedures are done under local anesthesia, all of which have made hospitalization unnecessary in many cases. The number of vitreoretinal procedures performed in an outpatient setting has grown, and some surgeons feel that the time is about right to shift surgery to the office.“There are currently 5,500 ambulatory surgical centers in the U.S. doing 25 million surgeries. We feel comfortable with it, at least in (Read more...)

Private equity offers new option for ophthalmology practice consolidation

Ophthalmologists and ophthalmology practices are steering toward consolidation in a fragmented market, and private equity firms may offer a new option for physicians as the firms look to invest in the field.Private equity firms, investment management companies that make investments in operating companies or startup companies, have been focusing their attention more on the ophthalmology field over the last several years. For example, in May 2014, Varsity Healthcare Partners, a health care services-focused private equity investment firm, acquired Katzen Eye Group, one of the nation’s largest ophthalmologic and optometric services (Read more...)

Do you believe private equity investment will be more successful than the physician practice management companies’ attempt at consolidations in the 1990s?

PointFor many years, eye care has been considered “outside the nest” of traditional medicine, and now as the payer world is evolving and there are solid attempts to consolidate through ACOs, IPAs, mergers and acquisitions, we need to find a way to differentiate ourselves and jump back into that “nest.” It is more critical than ever that we proactively build strong relationships with payers and legislators. We must invite them into our world to help them understand who we are and where we fit in the health care continuum. Consolidation (Read more...)

Woman referred for blurry vision, flashes of light and floaters

A 26-year-old Caucasian woman with a 3-day history of blurry vision, flashes of light and floaters in her left eye was referred by an outside comprehensive ophthalmologist for a retina evaluation. She had a medical history significant for hypothyroidism managed with a low dose of levothyroxine. Her ocular history was remarkable for one episode of unilateral iritis 3 years ago. She was a non-smoker, denied intravenous drug use and was in a monogamous relationship with her boyfriend. Her family history was non-contributory. On review of systems, she denied shortness of (Read more...)

Both junior and senior practice partners could benefit from private equity transaction

In the following paragraphs I would like to present an illustration of how a private equity transaction might work for an ophthalmology private practice, and it is important to emphasize the word “might” with the usual caveats about inability to predict the future. Nonetheless, I think the illustration will help many understand the economics.First, a few personal thoughts and disclosures. My partners and I at Minnesota Eye Consultants (MEC) recently completed a private equity (PE) transaction with Waud Capital of Chicago to create an entity called United Vision Partners (UVP). (Read more...)