This is the time of year we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, but it is also a time to reflect back on the last year to remind ourselves what has transpired during this particular trip around the sun.
It has been an eventful year for our office. In fact, it could be called the “Electronic Medical Records” year. Beginning in October, this was the year that the government made EMRs a necessity in doctors’ offices across the country. Between coding changes and Medicare rules, the ability to operate an office without an EMR system became an impossibility.
We actually started our planning for this event early last year. To accommodate the necessary staffing for this change, we moved our administrative staff and lab to another space within our building. By doing this, we have increased the capacity for our in-house lab to fabricate our glasses. Shortly we will be able to process over 90% of our own lab work by partnering with VSP vision insurance. Our office is part of a pilot program to allow offices with the capacity to avoid sending their work to the VSP contract labs and perform this work themselves. This will allow us to have our patients receive their glasses in an even more timely manner.
The additional space also allowed us to expand the number of exam rooms we have in our office and welcome an additional doctor, Dr. Vikram Girn, into our practice. It also allowed us to bring in new technologies such as 2 Daytona Optomap devices, which, when combined with the Icare tonometer glaucoma exam, allows us to perform a truly “dropless” exam for our patients. These technologies allow us to provide all the testing needed to make sure our patient’s eyes are healthy without inconveniencing them with the visual annoyances dilation causes for the day.
These changes, as well as last year’s remodel of our frame room area, culminated in our ability to make the necessary changes to go paperless in 2015. Two years of planning and effort paid off!
As a group, our office attended over 600 hours of continuing education this year and spent hours lecturing at the UC School of Optometry. Our office was visited by over 40 students from the UC School of Optometry, and we hosted several high school and Delta college students who were interested in shadowing our doctors to learn more about the career of Optometry.
We were also honored for the fifth year in a row by being recognized by both The Record newspaper and San Joaquin Magazine as the Best Eye Care office in San Joaquin County.
Our doctors were also very busy in their personal lives. Dr. John Demshar was honored for having completed 100 mission trips to Third World countries, providing eye care for those who otherwise would have none. This year he completed 7 such trips. Dr. Rosemary Melrose was appointed to the UC Berkeley Optometry Alumni Board, which acts as an advisory body for the Dean of the School of Optometry. Dr Vanover continued his work with the St. Mary’s Interfaith Medical Center to provide eye care for Stockton’s needy. Dr. Robert Melrose was re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. He was also elected President-Elect for the Stockton Sunrise Rotary Club. Dr. Bob accompanied a 90 year old World War II veteran through the Honor Flight organization which provides WWII and Korean War veterans free trips to Washington DC to visit their memorials and be honored for their service. Dr. Hisaka continued his work teaching at the UC School of Optometry and has been working behind the scenes to bring an exciting new private practice program to the UC interns. Dr. Laurel travelled abroad to Japan this year and Dr. Winnick continued competing in Cowboy Mounted Shooting events in CA. Drs. Skinner and Hsu were kept busy with their children’s school activities, as were Dr. Fujii, Dr Chow and Dr. Scheer. Dr. Loo was busy as a member of the Board of Directors for the Pacific Athletic Foundation at the University of the Pacific and his fund raising team earned the top award for bringing in the most new donations this year during their fund drive.
As we say goodbye to 2015, we wonder what new opportunities and adventures await us in 2016.