A Rewarding Partnership

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A Rewarding Partnership

Kenneth Sakazaki, OD, Sacramento Optometric Group


Optometric buying groups have been in existence for years and have evolved along with the profession to help independent OD stay competitive and successful. Initially, independent ODs joined together to form a single network in order to gain better negotiating leverage with vendors for better pricing.

That was the main reason our practice joined Primary Eyecare Network way back in 1984 (then known as OCIG). Having PEN in our corner to lower cost of goods and get vendor specials and rebates gave us more cash flow. However, gaining competitive pricing was just the tip of the iceberg; as we discovered, our membership with PEN gave us so much more.

In my opinion, independent OD’s have always offered the best care, and a critical and key component in delivering the best care is surrounding yourself with well trained and well-educated staff. The savings we gained from PEN membership allowed for that in our practice. We took the extra cash flow and reinvested some of it in PEN education programs for our staff.

Over the years, we have sent staff, from entry level personnel to managers, to live PEN training classes. Additionally, we have had in-office training where PEN instructors come to us and observe our daily operations to improve staff knowledge, performance, and efficiency. PEN staff webinars have been very valuable as well. The savings from PEN membership have also allowed us to afford investing in high tech equipment which, in addition to our exemplary staff, keeps us at the forefront of delivering the highest level of care.

PEN has been standing by the independent OD to help navigate several major changes to the profession over the years, such as TPAs, HIPAA, billing and coding compliance, ICD10, to name a few. PEN made implementing these changes into our practice much less daunting.

Another very important benefit of being a PEN member is in the area of practice management. We love having a consolidated statement. And with its resource of the OD network and industry relationships, PEN can offer the individual independent OD proven management strategies, marketing ideas, and business analysis tools, as well as web, social media, and patient communication vendors. In PEN’s concierge service we have an advocate to help represent us and answer any questions or resolve any issues we may have.

Without a doubt our membership with PEN has been a key in growing, evolving and improving our practice. I know PEN continues to look for ways to help all of independent optometry be as successful as possible.