means to an end…

Let’s face it, the world we live in is expensive. Cars, houses, jewelry, electronics, gasoline – you name it – it all costs a lot more than it probably should. Who’s truly responsible for such inflation is anybody’s guess. The market blames the people, the people blame the market, and political parties blame each other.  It’s a debate that does not seem to be going away any time soon, as it has become the very fabric of  the world we live in.  Managing money can be tough for all of us, and although your pocket-book is your business, perhaps we can agree that putting as a price tag on an improved life is impossible. Or at least it should be.

Vision Therapy has not been immune to this financial conversation, in fact, the cost of services continues to be in the forethought of those who decide the enroll in therapy, and those who don’t.  Deciding to put my opinions “out there” via this blog provides me the opportunity to receive feedback from many different directions.  No matter which direction it’s coming from or who’s doing the talking, the cost of services seems to always come up. Always.

So, how do people afford Vision Therapy?

Some people make it a priority and pay for it monthly, some people have insurance to bill, some barter for services, some are willing to utilize credit cards and some people even have cash under the mattress. No matter how they come across the financial resources or what payment arrangements are made, patients and their families seem to have gained a universal understanding that no matter the costs, the value of improving a life reaches far beyond the dollars and cents.

In many ways, we in Vision Therapy suffer the same fate as some others in healthcare.  That is the perception or stigma that we’re all among the rich and affluent.  All doctors are rich, right? This may be true for heart surgeons and liver transplant specialists, but by enlarge, few people in developmental healthcare are living in mansions or driving the latest James Bond roadster. There certainly will never be an Aston Martin in my garage.  To my point, a good friend of mine is an Occupational Therapist working  in a county run psychiatric facility for troubled youths. Noble work, right? She shared with me that her 19-year-old son matches her salary when he works at a local coffee shop, adding together his paycheck with tips. They both ride the bus to work.

Consider the prospect of placing an accurate price tag on improving someone’s life forever.What number do you start with? Even more challenging might be understanding the impact that struggling child has on their family – grades and self-esteem plummeting, parents frazzled, a family fractured and enough stress to start a fire.  It’s almost a guarantee that those parents would beg, borrow and steal to help their kid.  I know I would.

It can be incredibly frustrating to hear a prospective patient say that Dr. So and So said “Vision Therapy doesn’t work, but ‘those people’ will happily take your money.”  As if to somehow imply that services at So and So’s office are complimentary.  If So and So’s surgery or prescribed medications don’t have the intended effects, or if they have unintended side effects, do you get your money back?  As long as live, I will never comprehend how people will willingly pay for surgery or trial medication after medication, but somehow feel ripped off when asked to pay for a therapeutic intervention dedicated to improving function and quality of life.

In my almost 15 years in Vision Therapy I’ve been privileged to work with some of the best doctors and Vision Therapists in our business.  My immediate circle of friends includes three award-winning Vision Therapists (COVT of the Year), and a handful of others who no doubt will receive the award in due time. More peripherally, I’ve also been honored to associate with some of the finest and brightest minds around Developmental Optometry. Without question, there is one undeniable and immutable truth that applies to all of them:

This is not about the money.

Money is just a necessary evil and a means to an end. Frankly, putting a price tag on our services only serves to diminish our passion.

We’re here to help our patients; to improve their lives.  We want it. We work towards it. We dream about it. We get excited when it happens.

This is about changing lives and improving the world around us.

Remember that.

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Posted on August 1, 2014, in From My Perspective... and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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