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The End of GWCO 2005

on October 18th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

Well, my family is home safe from PDX. We had a miserable time because the kids were sick (at both ends) and we didn’t get to see all of our friends. On the plus side the people we saw were great and the CE was good. On Saturday I especially enjoyed Dr. Smythe’s class on GP contact lens fitting considerations. She mentioned how it’s hard to get docs to come to contact lens lectures anymore. (I guess there’s not as much money in CLs.)

There was not only a free lunch but also a free breakfast on Saturday. I talked with more exhibitors. The best conversations I had were with other optometrists. None of them were willing to do a podcast with me, so I’ll loosely paraphrase. Dr. Adam Dayley in Orofino, ID has taken a dying practice and started to turn it around. Dr. Dayley graduated with me 2 years ago. He found a diamond in the rough. Apparently, one of the reasons the practice hadn’t been doing so well was that the Dr. was not TPA certified! Ouch. Think of all the missed opportunities if you can’t even Rx drugs for eye conditions! Adam has a lot of sage advice for the new O.D., and I wish he had a website I could link to.

Another couple of new ODs out there, making the grade on their own: Chris Johnson and Jon Ashbaker. Chris actually used the Williams Consulting Group and told me, “What ever they say, just do it. Even if you don’t understand it, just do it.”
That’s saying something from Chris because he’s a smart person that has to understand everything- figure it all out in his head.
I talked with Jon a lot about coding and billing. He has some pretty good office forms that he graciously showed me.

One thing, doctors. When I was searching for your office website, I had to do a lot of searching. Ideally, I should just be able to type in your first and last name (or your practice name if I know it) and city and state, and bam, I should see your practice at the top of the list. Your web sites? Nowhere to be found. I had to search through VSP’s doctor locator or eyefinity. Let’s get some web search savvy!

Back to GWCO, they cater to the coffee drinkers. There is always a free cup of joe in the foyer, but what about the hot cocoa drinkers! It would have been so easy to have hot water and packets of cocoa. I particulary enjoy Stephen’s gourmet hot cocoa. (hint hint ;)) My tuition money went to pay for coffee I would never drink.

Anyway, my final thoughts on GWCO. It’s hard to blog an optometry conference. I heard Adam say they are all pretty much the same, and he’s right. I will go on to say that they shouldn’t require new grads to have CE for 2-3 years after graduation since things change relatively slowly. I also dissagree with most state boards limiting the amount of CEs one can obtain via correspondence (internet, mail). I can get a whole degree online, so why can’t I get most of my CE’s online? After blowing $1000 in tuition, travel, room, and food, I’m a little disappointed in what I’ve come away with. On the whole a good experience, but worth the monetary price? I don’t know. I was happy to see that the president of the AOA came, but I’m pretty sure there were less people in attendance this year than last year. I don’t know if GWCO releases their numbers.

GWCO does well in Portland, but since it is the Great Western Council of Optometry, will they ever hold the meeting in another state? I’d like to see it held in Seattle, Boise, or (Heaven Forbid) Salt Lake City. Since the meeting has been held in Portland every year in recent memory, I’m sure they’ve come to some consensus on why it has to be in Portland every year. I’d just like to see the arguments. If it’s all about money, then why do any of the conventions change venues from year to year? I’m sure it has to do with the PUCO support of the whole thing. They rely on PUCO interns to help with the doors. They rely on many of the speakers being from PUCO. It’s a great meeting, but it’s clearly an Oregon meeting. I like visiting Oregon, so I don’t hold any grudges.

GWCO 2005 overall Grade: B
That’s just me. What’s your opinion?

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