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The Starting Block

My path with PECAA Frank Aulicino, O.D.

In this regular column, ODC checks in with veteran O.D.s about their experience with a buying group or optometric alliance. This issue, we focus on reopening after mandatory Covid-19 closures.

FRANK AULICINO, O.D.
Vision Care Associates

Frank Aulicino, O.D., reopened his Pittsburgh, PA, practice in mid-May after closing on March 20, when the state mandated elective visits were not permissible. Vision Care Associates, which he started in 1991, is now a 4,000-square-foot, four-exam-room office in a medical plaza. Dr. Aulicino believes in doing due diligence, and that extends to his search for an optometric alliance.

—Stephanie K. De Long

GOOD TO KNOW

Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) was founded in 2006 by three independent O.D.s in Portland, OR.

The game changer?
LOOK AT STAFF.

“The PECAA home office staff are what stands out the most. It’s the people that truly make a business what it is.”

Tip #1
WHEN + WHY.

“I joined PECAA in June 2015. At that time there were four alliances. I did my thorough due diligence and determined that PECAA provided the most comprehensive offering/selection of services and vendor partnerships. I maintain that perception today.”

Tip #2
PANDEMIC PARTNERSHIP.

“PECAA has posted on the members’ site a Covid-19 guide that encompasses information on finance, HR, telemedicine, communications advice, vendor support, and reopening guidance. I have also participated in Zoom meetings to connect and learn with my peers at this tough time.”

Tip #3
SUPERIOR SERVICES.

“PECAA’s platform is built on three pillars. I have utilized and benefited from nearly every service offered.”

  • Connect: “Venues enabling members to connect with each other through peer-to-peer meetings, national member events, newsletters, and more.”
  • Build: “Support in business operations advice, billing/coding, doctor education, staff training, human resources, marketing, workshops, and much more.”
  • Prosper: “A myriad of vendor partners for ophthalmic products, services, equipment, pharmaceuticals. In addition to the significant discounts with all vendor partners, many provide quarterly rebates. The savings are well above membership fees.”

Tip #4
COVID-19 in mind.

“PECAA has been instrumental in providing guidance in helping me determine how things need to operate differently as we reopen…[from] adhering to CDC guidelines for PPE to protect staff and my patients alike…[to] limiting the number of patients per hour…[and] purchasing a special unit to sanitize frames after trial.”