Carrie Rengers

Who’s out – and who’s growing – for optometry

Photo illustration
Photo illustration

Via Christi Clinic is phasing out its optometry services this summer, which is leading to a new Grene Vision Group clinic for a Via Christi optometrist. A second unrelated Grene Vision clinic is opening as well.

“We’re always having to really look at how to best utilize our resources,” says Donna Johnson, Via Christi Clinic’s director of practice management.

She says community resources are a factor, too.

“We do have some great community providers in optometry.”

Via Christi optometrist Alan McCormick currently has a Carriage Parkway office with Via Christi and will operate there through the end of August.

In September, he’ll open a new Grene Vision office at Central Plaza at 5231 E. Central. That’s the center where Angelo’s is near Central and Edgemoor.

McCormick wanted to remain close to the Carriage Parkway office as a convenience for patients, says Collin Hermreck, Grene Vision’s director of marketing and public relations.

Grene Vision is taking 2,600 square feet there. There’s still 1,100 square feet left to lease there.

Chad Stafford and Michael Madden of Occidental Management and Jeff Maes of Salina-based ComPro Realty handled the deal.

Grene Vision currently has 19 clinics, including a new one in Buhler.

“We have another one that will happen before Central,” Hermreck says.

Grene Vision is purchasing a practice at 1014 W. 29th St. South. The purchase will be official on Aug. 1, which will make 20 Grene Vision clinics.

Wichita optometrist Ashley Carson, who currently works out of two Grene Vision offices in Hutchinson, will take over the new south Wichita office.

“This gives her an opportunity now to live in and work in Wichita,” Hermreck says.

The new Grene Vision clinics will offer eye exams and diagnoses and optical departments as well.

Currently, Via Christi has only two optometrists.

Optometrist Ashley Ralston is leaving Via Christi’s Andover clinic at the end of July. Johnson says Ralston will remain in Andover but has not finalized her plans.

Johnson says the moves will allow the optometrists to be in a larger network of providers and will “kind of allow them more flexibility,” she says.

Previously, Via Christi disbanded ophthalmology services. Johnson says there had been a couple of ophthalmologists at the Founders’ Circle office who decided on their own to relocate. She says Via Christi did not make a decision to get out of ophthalmology, and the absence of that department didn’t directly lead to the decision about optometry.

She adds, though, “They do work hand-in-hand together.”

Via Christi offers a lot of specialties, but Johnson says it doesn’t offer everything, nor can it.

“You do have only so many resources,” she says.

“Everybody’s wanting you to do more for less. It’s a very different environment.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers