• Meet the OPAL Program Participants: Bansari Mehta

    Learn how 2019-20 OPAL participant, Bansari Mehta, got involved in the program in part three of AAOE's recurring series, "Meet the OPAL Participants."

    AAOE’s Ophthalmic Practice Administrators Leadership (OPAL) Program is designed to move you to the next level of your professional growth. Work one-on-one with a mentor, develop a unique project and showcase your leadership skills at a special event during the Academy's annual meeting. Application submissions for the 2020-21 cohort are due by April 30, 2020. Apply today!

    What prompted you to participate in OPAL?
    I am constantly looking for ways to expand my health care administrative knowledge and keep up with the ever-changing world of ophthalmology. I heavily rely on the abundance of information and expertise that is the AAOE® community.

    As the past AAOE regional network lead, I learned about OPAL while at the annual conference. When I was presented with an opportunity to be a part of this program, I had no second thoughts. I am constantly intrigued by the nuances of leadership and best practices and hence OPAL seemed to be the right fit for me. Through OPAL I see myself growing as an administrator, furthering my love for this profession and doing my part for the field of ophthalmology, especially retina.

    What are your biggest challenges as an ophthalmic practice administrator?
    One of the biggest challenges is the ever-increasing complexities of payer demands for premium drugs and clinical procedures, i.e. benefits investigations. This impacts the bottom line and causes patient and staff frustration. Depending on the structure within an organization, a thorough benefits investigation can be achieved with solid policies and processes in place.

    The field of ophthalmology is dynamic, and it can be a challenge to keep up with the constant changes, especially in a busy referral-based specialty practice like ours. In this field, it is necessary to stay ahead of the curve and to always keep evolving.

    What will you do for your capstone leadership project, one assignment of the OPAL program?
    Specialty medical offices rely on referring doctors to maintain a steady stream of referrals. Due to this, it is vital to have a front desk team that understands the importance of time and quality spent on answering calls, including the patient experience while in the office.

    Traditionally, the medical office’s front desk is expected to multitask and handle patient check-in, checkout, calls from referring doctors, fulfill insurance expectations and other miscellaneous tasks. Add to this the growing payer complexities and expectations — the overall patient and referring doctor office experience is affected.

    I will be working on streamlining, simplifying, creating, implementing and measuring a foolproof process to handle high phone-call volume while keeping in mind satisfaction for patients, referring offices, office staff and payer requirements.

    How did you get involved in ophthalmic practice administration?
    I think I may be one of those rare administrators who started working in ophthalmology “just-by-chance.” I am a respiratory therapist with experience on the clinical, administrative and clinical trials side. Having worked in various other specialties early on in my career, I was looking for my niche. When I was offered the job as the Medical Practice Administrator of Retina Vitreous Center, in spite of no previous ophthalmology experience, I was up for the challenge. I love being able to work with people and empower them to be the best version of themselves. I strongly believe that an organization’s strength is its people and their level of contribution reflects on every aspect of the company and its product. As an administrator, it is also fulfilling to affect policies and procedures to provide the best patient-centered care. This profession keeps me on my toes, but I love every minute of it. 


    About the Participant

    Bansari Mehta is the practice administrator for Retina Vitreous Center in Oklahoma City — a practice with four physicians, six locations, and staff of 35. Prior to her current position, Ms. Mehta was a respiratory therapist and obtained her master’s in health administration and policy from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to her practice administrator role, Ms. Mehta teaches webinars and has presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives® (AAOE) Program at the Academy’s annual meeting. She is currently a participant in AAOE’s Ophthalmic Practice Administrators Leadership Program (OPAL).