Practice Turnaround: How Biscardi Vision Transformed Their Future with NVMI

Here’s the story of two passionate practitioners who turned years of frustration into a practice transformation that helped them rediscover their love of optometry.

 

When Stephanie Bartash, ABOC, initially joined her business partner and now wife, Valerie Biscardi, OD, at Biscardi Vision in Philadelphia, they had a vision for a thriving, satisfying practice that allowed them the flexibility historically enjoyed by independent practice owners. But, as the years wore on, the practice faced one challenge after another: declining reimbursements, an increase in staff turnover, and the economic impacts of COVID-19. Frustrated and losing that vision, they were seriously considering throwing their hands up and walking away from independent optometry.

 

Fortunately for their patients, they didn’t. Today, Stephanie and Valerie have a profitable practice and a new passion for patient care — thanks to their discovery of NVMI and a new specialty that allowed them to turn their practice into source of optimism and opportunity.

Fast Facts

  • 1 Location
  • 1 Doctor
  • 9 months with NVM

40%

Current Patients Converted to NVM

Gone

All Vision Plans Eliminated

New Joy for Optometry

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A Practice (and Two Practitioners) on the Edge

In 2018, when Stephanie joined Biscardi Vision as the Practice Manager, the practice was far from efficient. Like many practices today, Valerie found herself running around wearing too many hats – trying her best to retain patients and keep up with vision insurance, all while trying to galvanize unmotivated, staff. With outdated processes, Valerie needed a boost.

 

Stephanie sought to reinvent the practice but faced similar setbacks. Being short on staff made innovating or improving the practice processes near impossible. The demands of the daily grind took most of their attention during and after the work day. Then, as with many practices, an unforeseen challenge reared its head when they finally began to make progress: COVID.  

 

Feeling “burned out” is an understatement when describing where they were mentally and emotionally:

 

“It took us a good year and a half to just reset and pick up where we were before,” said Stephanie. “At that moment, we hated everything about routine optometry.”

Finding a New Reason to Carry On

Running an independent optometry practice amidst the aftermath of COVID-19 brought an unprecedented set of challenges. Stephanie told us that her patient encounters began to change in ways that they really didn’t understand.

 

“Patients began saying things like, ‘I can see the chart, but I’m still feeling dizzy,’ or, ‘I still feel like I have this double vision.’” As a result, patient frustration grew.

 

“We were spinning our wheels with patients because they were looking for help with symptoms that we hadn't previously treated. We needed to try something different."

 

Something clicked for Stephanie when she began reading about NeuroVisual Medicine. “I said to her [Valerie], ‘please listen to these people. I think they're explaining what our patients are experiencing. I don't want this practice to go under; I want to help you rekindle your passion for being a doctor.’”

 

Early in 2023, on the verge of closing their practice altogether, they attended a webinar hosted by Matt Rosner of NeuroVisual Medicine Institute (NVMI). This would change everything for them. Nearly immediately, they made plans and traveled to Michigan for NVM training as a last-ditch effort to reinvigorate their practice and their lives.

 

Training week at the institute offered a completely new approach for Valerie on how to help these pos-COVID headache and dizzy patients with microprism, and a new business model for Stephanie to rally around. 

Taking a New Approach to Patient Care

Immediately after training with NVMI, Stephanie and Valerie dove back into the practice with a revitalized spirit.  Their new motivation increased as they realized the difference that an NVM focus made in their daily work.

 

One trend that plagued the practice completely disappeared with this new population. “Before COVID, our [optical] capture rate had been steadily steady above 85%, but over the previous two years, it had plummeted 51%. Now we're up to 99% capture rate with these types of patients.”

 

The NVM treatment model enabled them to see fewer patients and spend more time with them, allowing them to get off the treadmill and get to know their patients on a much deeper level. Another bonus: Seeing fewer patients required fewer staff members — at a time when staffing was a major pain point for practitioners, this specialty has enabled them to operate successfully with fewer staff. 

 

A cash-based model with NVM, where patients paid $2,400 for two appointments and a sequence of specialized lenses was groundbreaking for them.

 

“Our goal is at least $5,000 per day. With NVM, I see two people, and I’ve nearly hit my goal. I would have to see 15, 16, sometimes 20 patients to make $5,000 due to our struggling capture rates.”

 

But despite the success that the NVM brought the business, it was far from the biggest win happening at Biscardi Vision.

A New Lease on Life for a Doctor on Her Last Leg

Stephanie said she noticed a change in her wife and partner almost immediately after they adopted NVM: “The first week of patients that we took for NeuroVisual, Valerie turned to me and she said, ‘I feel like I want to be an optometrist again,’ and I said ‘this is it. This is what we’re gonna do.'”

 

After years of feeling handcuffed by rising overhead, disinterested staff, and restrictive vision insurance, all the weight had been lifted because they were finally able to make a difference in their patients’ lives. Now, we want the "problem patients" from other practices because when their doctors don’t have the solution for these patients, we can help. We want those referrals.”

 

According to Valerie, this radical change was long overdue for her: “I haven't felt this good about optometry, probably since I graduated and finished my residency.”

 

NVMI Provides Clarity for the Future of the Practice

Despite being less than a year into their NVM specialty, Stephanie and Valerie are already planning for the future. This is remarkable given how close they were to shutting down entirely. According to Stephanie, their projections are clear: “We're going to shift our whole practice exclusively to NeuroVisual here in the coming months… we're not going back to vision insurance.”

 

It’s clear that Valerie and Stephanie aren’t alone –  the modern ECP is under stress brought on by the changing landscape across the eye care industry. Adopting a unique specialty not only offers a pathway to practice growth – it can catalyze a more fulfilling and satisfying career in optometry.

Ready to learn more? Start with a free practice analysis and see how NVMI can you help you meet your goals — personal and professional.

⦿ Live Webinar

The Vision Plan Off ramp: How to succeed in eye care without relying on vision plans

Hear from industry experts and a successful practice owner on the pitfalls of vision plans, and more importantly, how to break free for sustainable practice growth.

⦿ Live Webinar

The Vision Plan Off ramp: How to succeed in eye care without relying on vision plans

Hear from industry experts and a successful practice owner on the pitfalls of vision plans, and more importantly, how to break free for sustainable practice growth.

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