Vision Health Eyecare's Tipton location has closed, consolidating with the existing California branch. The Tipton location closed last month.
Dr. Jacqueline Byrd, an optometrist at Vision Health, said while the coronavirus pandemic oftentimes plays a role in changes like this nowadays, the decision to consolidate was rooted more in a desire to improve the care experience for patients.
"We know for a lot of the Tipton patients, the drive to California is less convenient, and this was not an easy decision for us," Byrd said. "When looking at closing the Tipton office and consolidating to one office or keeping them both open, we really felt like we were faced with either improve patient access, with access to care being in both California and Tipton, or improve patient experience. We chose improve patient experience."
By moving to just one office, Byrd said the eye care center will have more availability for testing and better access to special instrumentation for detecting a host of medical conditions. The California office has equipment the Tipton location simply didn't have, Byrd said, which will allow for a better patient experience.
The California location also has a bigger selection of optical frames, which will be able to expand even further by having only one location.
"This is the case with operating any business, we'll have an opportunity to be more efficient and have better efficiencies — that's going to allow us to control our cost, which then we can turn around and continue to keep the fees low for patients just by having our costs low," Byrd said.
Byrd said Vision Health hopes to retain all of its Tipton patients. It's an easy transition from the eye care center's end since all of its patient medical records were already stored electronically.
Byrd said the only differences would be the improved level of care and slightly longer commute for Tipton-area patients to get to the clinic.
"Our main focus when making this decision was just that the people in this area continue to experience the type of quality care that gives them the confidence to continue receiving their eye care locally and from providers that they know, have trusted in the past and will continue to trust," Byrd said. "Consolidating to one location gives us the opportunity to make no sacrifices in the level of care and product we offer to the patients that we care so much about."