After 25 years of working in a corporate-affiliated practice, Lisa M. Greene OD, and a practice partner opened an independent practice, Asheville Vision and Wellness, in Arden, North Carolina, in April 2021. In 2022, the partners decided to stay open the week between Christmas and New Year’s. But Mother Nature had different plans. A cold snap shut down the water supply to the office, “so we closed by default,” she says.
It was a surprise, but it wasn’t horrible. The office, even though it was still fairly new, was seeing most patients by appointment, not through walk-ins. “The patients who followed me to this office were used to appointment-only scheduling. Plus, we had gotten active with flyers that emphasize annual eye exams but de-emphasize the dependence on vision benefit usage. We don’t want people queuing up just to use their insurance,” she says.
This year, the doctors and staff sat down in early November at the weekly staff meeting, “and we gave them an option.” The time off this year would add up to only 2.5 days because the doctors had already chosen to close on Christmas Monday and the day after, and Friday the 29th would have been a half day.
Even so, she gave the staff this choice:
- close for the 2.5 days only if they have met the bonus goals
- stay open
- close, regardless of whether they make the bonus
The majority voted to take the time off, regardless of whether they made the bonus. “However, they’re working very hard to make sure that we do meet our goals. Our staff booked 60 appointments in two days after that meeting. Whenever there is open slot availability, they do everything they can to fill every slot,” she says.
That includes calling patients who may not have found the new practice location yet and calling patients who have not been back for an eye exam in several years.
“We are on target for our goals,” Dr. Greene says. And patients have been very supportive. “Our patients understand that family time is a big part of quality of life. We look forward to this being our normal in the years ahead,” she says.