“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
– Malcolm Forbes
“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
– Leo Buscaglia
After 25 years of formal education, the last thing you probably want to take right now is another pop quiz. But this one is different — and perhaps more directly predictive of your future economic success than any other you have been obliged to take. So bear with me.
Here are five questions. About half of all ophthalmic administrators in America — and a somewhat lower percentage of eye surgeons — can nail this test.
Right below the question set is an answer key. Let’s be really lenient and call 60% a passing grade. But don’t cheat and look at the answers until you have completed the quiz.
1. A solo cataract surgery practice sees 500 patient visits per year, including postops. How many technicians, including working up patients, testing and scribing, does this practice need to employ?
d. None of the above
2. This same practice performs an average of 60 cataract surgeries per month. Which of these statements best describes the surgical density of this practice?
a. About average. The typical eye surgeon seeing 500 visits per month is going to generate about 60 surgical cases per month.
b. Very low. This must be a very hesitant surgeon.
c. Quite good. This doctor has three times the surgical density of the average practice.
d. Extremely high. This surgeon’s surgical density suggests that he or she must be coercing patients into having unnecessary surgery.
3. A three-surgeon general suburban practice with $3.8 million in annual collections spends $1.4 million each year on lay staffing, excluding OD, MD and DO providers, and $300,000 on office facilities, including rent and utilities. Would you say that this practice’s staffing and facilities costs are:
c. Typical — right around where they should be.
4. This same practice employs a total of 27 lay staff. Would you say that these support staffers on average are:
5. A five-partner mixed subspecialty practice, including pediatrics and retinal care, has a 40% profit margin. All of the doctors are paid with a simple formula: They receive 40% of their individual collections. How would you characterize their financial arrangement?
a. Just fine, no need to change.
b. Pretty close, but the board should hold back a slush fund of profits, such as by paying everyone 35% of their collections, and then distributing the balance at the end of the year to the partners who are most deserving of a bonus.
c. Way off. The pediatric ophthalmologist is probably overpaid and the retinal surgeon is probably underpaid.
d. All of the above, depending on the sentiments of the owners.
- Click here to read the full publication exclusive, By the Numbers, published in Ocular Surgery News U.S. Edition, July 10, 2017.