American Optical Services (AOS) is nearing its 100th practice acquisition, a milestone that comes just two-and-a-half years since the founding of the company.
AOS was formed in 2010 to provide independent optometrists and ophthalmologists with a viable and appealing exit strategy to sell their practice and be freed from operational burdens while continuing to see patients. Under an AOS acquisition plan, the eyecare professional is assured that the practice which took years to build and nurture remains true to its name and values, with staff intact and patients unaware that an ownership change has taken place.
“We’re very pleased that our unique practice acquisition concept has resonated so positively with the professional community,” says Pierre Keyser, AOS founder and CEO. He notes that of the nearly 100 practice acquisitions in the AOS network, there is an even mix of OD and MD practices. “Over the past two years, independent eyecare professionals from both disciplines have enthusiastically embraced this winning option as one that will help to preserve independent practices well into the future.”
When AOS acquires an independent optometric or ophthalmological practice, the company assumes full ownership and management of the practice. AOS runs the day-to-day operations such as scheduling, staffing, payroll, purchasing and billing and coding, and it provides marketing and legal services, as well.
OD and MD practice owners sell to AOS and then remain in the practice, as an employee, for a minimum of a year, with options to remain longer. In addition, the practice name remains the same, and the staff remains intact, as AOS employees. This ensures a smooth transition, preventing an employee exodus that can occur when practices change hands. Importantly, valued patients see continuity, even improvement. Under the AOS plan, doctors find that, with business management duties lifted from their shoulders, they enjoy spending more time with patients.
“We speak with independent eyecare professionals and ask, ‘What is your plan for retirement?’” says Keyser. “We find that while ECPs think about retirement, they often don’t have a plan for it. They know they need an exit strategy, since managing–and eventually selling–a practice is increasingly complex. We provide a proven pathway and great value proposition to help them to reach their ideal situation.”