April 2020


Refractive Editor speaks on unprecedented times

by Vance Thompson, MD Refractive Editor

The past couple of weeks I have witnessed some of the best and worst of life experiences. On one hand, this virus has killed some and made a world physically and economically sick. On the other hand, I have never seen such an outpouring of love and support. Families will love and support each other in life, but not to the level shown in this pre-vaccine COVID-19 infected world. But to see a profession like ophthalmology love and support each other like this has been so heartwarming. Combine that with my work family of 200 employees caring about their families but also the health of their work family and the company, and what you have is the world as we know it personally and professionally caring deeper than ever in modern times, and that buoys me tremendously.
I personally am working hard to help our practice in any way I can, and that starts with me making sure that I am addressing my mind, body, and spirit. For me to get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy, workout, be more mindful, and take time to grow spiritually puts me in a mindset to be the best version of me as a partner, a leader, and a coworker in my practice.
Of course, work is different right now than a busy refractive and cataract surgeon like me would like. But I have to climb the mountains put in front of me to go to battle for my family and work family. I can choose to go through a tough time with a good attitude or I can choose to go through a tough time with a bad attitude. I know which one I want. Also, if there was ever a time to over communicate, this is it. Telling our families and work families what we know and what we don’t know and keeping them informed regularly is so important.
There is nothing more important on the work side than our work family. We have worked hard to keep our team intact and not lay people off unless it seems in their situation to be best for them. We have looked at each one of their situations specifically with the goal to have the majority of them stay with us, and we are taking advantage of the Small Business Administration 7(a) forgivable loan through the CARES Act government stimulus package. This has given us great hope, and we are praying the money comes through like promised. We have some employees who want to take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act because of their situation with children home from school closures. In addition to the government help, our banks are being very helpful on the financing side by extending our line of credit, allowing interest-only payments for the next 6 months, and looking at any loan refinancing opportunities in this current low interest environment.
We are communicating with our patients (we did a Facebook Live question and answer session that was very well attended) and our referring doctors (we did a Zoom event with them discussing what we have learned about the virus and our practice, only seeing emergencies, the government loan help for them, advice for their employees, what we have learned about financing, and how to build and bill for a telemedicine program). These communications were extremely well received.
Our messaging and communicating right now is very sensitive to the suffering world. We are not marketing our typical way. We are trying to help the world in any way we can, and it is amazing to us how much the world and all of ophthalmology is trying to help us. Our world will never be the same, and I think in the end we will be better for it.

Refractive Editor speaks on unprecedented times Refractive Editor speaks on unprecedented times
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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