Everyone starting their solo practice should sign up for a volunteer program through the American Academy of Ophthalmology called EyeCare America. If you’re thinking of going solo and still part of a group, get your group to participate in this.
Here’s the link to their program. The program covers comprehensive, glaucoma, and retinal exams for low income seniors.
Basically, this is a way to see patients over 65 and all patient responsibility is waived. Many of these patients have traditional Medicare- so you would waive the 20% coinsurance.
I’ve participated in this program every year since I’ve opened doors and it’s not overly burdensome- every year I see between two to eight patients through ECA. The maximum is 15 per year.
If we all sign up, it makes solos look good and it also makes ophthalmologists look good. If your practice is slow, you certainly have time to help out a few folks. If your practice is busy, you can certainly afford to help out the community.
For a new practice especially not in a saturated urban area I think ECA offers media kits for the local press, which makes your practice look good/ giving back to community. They also give you a certificate to hang in your office.
And for the record, this year I did surgery on a uninsured patient through ECA and ate everything (zero reimbursement). The guy had HM cataracts both eyes and the son told me he couldn’t afford part B premiums. One of the happiest and most grateful patients I’ve had and definitely worth my time and efforts. I even got the surgery center to waive their fee except the $100 or so for the IOL.