DENVER—Eyecare professionals who want to explore a change in ownership and/or equity structures for their practices are seeing a number of new options in the marketplace.
Vision Care Specialists, a doctor-owned entity in and around Denver that has brought in two private practice locations under its operating umbrella over the past four months, is one of these options.
In its most recent deal, announced earlier this month, Vision Care Specialists agreed to acquire Denver’s Englewood Eyecare. It becomes the seventh office location in the Vision Care Specialists group. David J. Newman, OD, who has been in private practice for more than 30 years, founded Englewood Eyecare.
Vision Care Specialists is a “provider network” (a health care classification in Colorado), which allows for common ownership of a practice among ophthalmologists and optometrists, chief executive officer Jeff Poe told dba.
“It really is a group of physicians coming together to provide superior eyecare,” Poe said, noting that all of the group’s ECPs are either board certified or pursuing this certification. “We are very committed to the clinical practice of eyecare, and we really want to be able to deliver exceptional medical eyecare in addition to exceptional comprehensive eye exams.”
The group has grown, in part, by accessing bank financing, internal equity or other options. “Almost every deal is unique,” Poe explained.
“While many eyecare practices have followed the industry trend of private equity buyouts or have joined franchises and hospital-owned physician groups to gain advantages of scale, Vision Care Specialists believes strongly in physician-defined standards of care,” the Colorado firm noted in the recent acquisition announcement. That dedication to an independent medical practice model allows investment in state-of-the-art technologies and the “continual pursuit of the latest in eyecare science and technology.”
Vision Care Specialists has 19 ODs and MDs among its professional staff. Poe added, “We know as a company that the future of health care is tied to outcomes. So we want to be able to document clinically that we are following the latest and the greatest in clinical thinking.”
In July, Vision Care Specialists announced the acquisition of Accent Optics, a longtime private optometry practice founded by Frederick “Rick” Hurlbut Jr., OD, who has been in private practice for more than 25 years.
“This is an exciting time for everyone in the VCS family,” Poe said at that time. “Dr. Hurlbut’s vision is to merge the best clinical eyecare with the best retail optics to create an exceptional eyecare experience for customers and patients alike. This is identical to what we work toward every day, which is why this new practice will fit so well within our group.”