SNAPP Insider Monthly – September 2019

By October 1, 2019 October 24th, 2019 Newsletters

We’re Getting Good at This

By Ken Kopolow, OD, SNAPP Board member

Many attendees of the recent SNAPP National meeting in Las Vegas have reached out to Board Members with powerful feedback around just how meaningful this event has become to them. While SNAPP’s Board has always had a clear vision of this organization’s objectives, I believe the dynamic between the Board, the members and the vendor partners has helped SNAPP evolve into a premier professional organization.

For me, the highlights of SNAPP Las Vegas 2019 included the clinical CE, as well as the highly innovative Member-Only Think Tanks and business-building sessions. Drs. Craig Thomas and Joe DeLoach were at the top of their game with anterior segment and posterior pole pathology presentations. First-time SNAPP speaker, Dr. Carlo Pelino brought an academic perspective to the serious topic of intraocular tumors. The practice management sessions were equally valuable, with rave reviews coming in for sessions from Dr. April Jasper and others.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to working closely with my wonderful colleagues on the SNAPP Board to provide another provocative experience when we meet again in Atlanta next spring. Below, see some photos from our time in Las Vegas.

First SNAPP Meeting Wows Member

Meeting provides ideas that were implemented immediately upon his return

Paul V. Hamel, OD, of Peabody, Massachusetts, has been a SNAPP Group member since the society was founded. Lack of doctor coverage or family commitments kept him from attending other live meetings, so the recent meeting in Las Vegas was the first he was able to attend. “I joined SNAPP as soon as it was established because I felt that it was a great opportunity to be part of something that was organized and controlled by franchise owners with the same interests as I have in running my business,” he says. With so many changes occurring in the industry and with Luxottica, “I felt it was important to be present at this meeting and be in the same room as my colleagues to discuss what everyone is doing to make sure we excel.”

The gathering with his colleagues did not disappoint, and within a week of attending, he was back in the office already taking action as a result of what he learned. “I loved the idea that was given about using a spare cell phone to text patients to inform them that their eyewear is ready,” he says. “This will save my staff a lot of time, and I have already implemented this.”

Dr. Hamel says that the experience he had attending one of the clinical CE courses motivated him to purchase new equipment for his office, and he is looking forward to leveraging this new technology as soon as it arrives in his office.

He’s also planning to implement new pricing, thanks to lessons learned with an introduction to the Contact Lens Pricing spreadsheet tool from ABB Optical Group. Dr. Hamel envisions this tool will help patients understand that his office offers competitive contact lens pricing.

Breaking News: DOL Releases Final Overtime Rule, Effective Jan. 1, 2020

Tip of the Month from AmCheck

The Department of Labor has announced the new minimum salary for certain exempt white collar employees. The new minimums will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Exempt Executive, Administrative, Professional and Computer Employees (EAP)

Salaried exempt EAP employees must be paid at least $684 per week on a salary basis (an increase from the current minimum of $455 per week). This is the equivalent of $35,568 per year.

Up to 10 percent of this minimum may come from non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions (collectively, “incentive pay”), as long as these payments are received on at least an annual basis. If an employee does not earn enough incentive pay to meet the minimum by the end of the year, the employer has two options: pay the difference with a “catch-up” payment within one pay period after the end of the 52-week year or retroactively remove the exemption and pay the employee for any overtime worked during that same year.

Teachers, practicing lawyers, practicing doctors and outside salespeople are exempt from these minimums under federal law, though may be subject to state minimums.

Exempt Highly Compensated Employees (HCE)

The HCE exemption is intended for employees who don’t quite qualify for the EAP exemptions due to their job duties, but who happen to be paid extremely well. This exemption is used much less commonly than the others and most exempt employees will fall under the EAP exemptions.

Employees classified as exempt under the HCE exemption must make at least $107,432 per year. Of that amount, at least $684 per week must be paid on a salary or fee basis, with no reduction for future incentive pay. The remainder of their income, however—nearly 67 percent if they make $107,432—may come from incentive pay. If the employee does not earn enough in incentive pay to meet the minimum by the end of the year, the employer has the same two options as with EAP employees. They can make a catch-up payment (in this case within one month) or retroactively remove the exemption and pay the employee for any overtime worked during the previous year.

State Law

California and New York (coming soon in Washington) have laws in place that make the minimum salary for exempt employees higher than the new federal thresholds. Since employers must follow the law that is most beneficial to employees, the new federal minimums would not affect employers in these states.

What Now?

Employers will need to evaluate anyone who they currently classify as exempt from overtime and pay less than $684 per week or $35,568 per year. Once these employees are identified, employers will need to choose between giving them a raise to meet the new minimum to maintain the exemption or reclassifying them as a non-exempt and paying overtime.

Motivate Your Staff Members and Yourself to Distinguish Themselves

By Shane Shepherd, Sr. Insurance Sales Manager, VisionWeb

Some employees believe working at a small business limits their ability to climb the corporate ladder. Although it’s true a small business doesn’t have hundreds of job opportunities or resources. But despite its limits, it can be the perfect place to build your career.

Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to have worked in each facet of insurance processing. My first job was at a large insurance company. Later, I worked in a data entry company based out of India. Then I was employed by a national reference laboratory. These were all experiences that added to my resume, but the success I strived to obtain still alluded me.

It was at this point that I landed at an optometry practice. It may sound overly dramatic, but I’m being sincere when I say it changed my life. Why do I say that? Well, it was the first “small” business I had worked at. And what I didn’t know at the time was that effort is king at a small business.

There are many variables that affect our professional success. Among those are some you can’t control—financial resources that limited your education, for example. But the wonderful thing about your current job is that you DO control the #1 variable. Your work ethic supersedes any other ability you may or may not have. As a “small” business owner myself, I can tell you that finding an employee that cares and puts his or her heart into the work is invaluable.

The level of effort you put forth is the variable you, and you alone, control. If you have a decent head on your shoulders and the desire to go above and beyond, you will succeed. It’s really that simple. Your employer can teach someone to push the buttons but they can’t teach someone to work hard.

Learn little things that others don’t. Do the necessary work that others don’t want to do and do it with a smile. Give more than your employer expects. It’s when you offer more than what is in your job description that your employer begins to think: “Maybe this person needs more responsibility!” Do the job and then you’ll get the title. It very rarely works the other way around.

I challenge you to visit with your employer and ask them what they value the most. After all, what do you have to lose? At the very least, they will know you care about your career.

Our ebook, Expert Staff Management in Eyecare, can help facilitate the conversation towards establishing career goals and a long-term plan.

Shane Shepherd is the Sr. Insurance Sales Manager for VisionWeb. He’s happy to answer questions you have about your claim filing methods at