Alumni Focus on Mark H. Rinkov (OD'73)
DR. RINKOV'S STORY
Were you the first optometrist in your family
Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
I grew up in Columbus and was always a Buckeye fan. I went to undergraduate and optometry at Ohio State. The Ohio State College of Optometry is the best in the nation.
Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?
I was accepted after three years of undergraduate, thus I have only one degree, OD, 1973.
Name a mentor from the College of Optometry or a person who had a positive effect on your education.
Dr. Leonard Supman from Kingsport, Tennessee. On a Christmas vacation visit to a fraternity brother's home in Tennessee, Dr. Supman exposed me to the world of optometry. I was in my second year of business school at the time, came back and switched to arts and sciences to pursue my goal of becoming an optometrist.
DR. RINKOV'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Where do you practice, currently?
Rinkov Eyecare Centers, with eight offices in the Columbus area, in addition to a separate support center, which handles all insurance verifications and billings.
Briefly explain some of your daily job responsibilities or patient interactions.
Actively examining patients. Ensuring that all offices are providing exceptional patient experiences by coordinating and meeting with my management team and doctors. Determining what new instruments , new lenses, and new contact lenses will help us provide improved patient care. Continually trying to improve our EHR efficiency.
Tell us a special story that relates to your career now.
We have been awarded the Consumer Choice Award consecutively for the past 13 years. Recently, I was honored to be chosen as one of the top 20 healthcare providers by Business First. Also, I was honored to be one of the Top 50 smart business people in Columbus by Smart Business Magazine. I also received an award from the Conway Center for Family Business.
What’s one thing you learned during your education which has affected you most in your career?
Always have the patient's interest at heart.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
It is a great profession which allows and challenges me to continually help change patient lives.
What optometric issues concern you the most?
There are a number of issues I am concerned about. Aside from online glasses, possible online refractions, I am concerned about the perception that this creates with the public that eyecare is a commodity. Additionally, I am very concerned that the major vision care plans are controlling our profession, the type of care we give, the labs we use, and the reducing fees we receive. I can see one day where they may go directly to the patient, trying to bypass the OD Although the Affordable Care Act is supposed to provide all types of care, there is no clearly defined direction, nor is there any mention of reimbursement to the OD. The home health care model reminds me of the HMOs of years ago. It will be interesting to see if the M.D. Panels allow ODs to participate as we are truly the gatekeeper for good eye health, particularly for the diabetic and hypertensive population. With the squeezing of reimbursements and the expense of running a practice with the required computer software for the government, I am concerned that the solo small practice will not survive. I am personally confronting this issue by increasing the number of offices and doctors with my practice, mostly through acquisitions of individual or small group practices that want to focus on patient care, allowing us to handle all of the day-to-day aspects of running a business.
Why are you passionate about your career?
I love optometry. I enjoy the continual learning and challenges I face each day. I love the one-on-one interaction with patients who become your friends and trust you for their eyecare needs. I enjoy using new technology to provide my patients with enhanced care year after year. Mainly, I truly get great satisfaction in helping change people's lives.
Advice for other aspiring optometrists.
Have a true passion for helping people, work hard, and always keep the patient 's needs first and foremost.
DR. RINKOV'S FUN FACTS
Most memorable moment(s) at Ohio State.
Meeting my wife, the excitement of college life, and obtaining my OD degree.
Who is your idol/mentor?
My idols were my parents, who taught me that good values and hard work would help me be successful in life.
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
Golf, tennis, biking and travel. I sponsor a yearly educational lecture at Ohio State for Ovarian Cancer and a 5k run/walk in memory of my wife, Claudia, who passed away from that terrible disease in 2001. Spending time with my three children and six grandchildren.
What does Ohio State mean to you?
It means a lot. I received a first-class education and made many life-long friends. I cherish the tradition that Ohio State brings both academically and athletically. I am proud to be a Buckeye!
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
I would be an entrepreneur!
Final thoughts ...
I would do it all again!