Eyecare office plans to close March 1 – Clovis News Journal


The expansion of health care under the Affordable Care Act is at least part of the reason Eye Associates is closing its doors after three decades in Clovis, according to CEO Vince Townsend.

Townsend said the explosion of new patients with insurance coverage is creating more demand than Eye Associates has doctors to help. Recruiting doctors is extremely difficult, he said, and wait times of a month to two months for patients have become common.


“If you’re a patient with glaucoma … you need to see someone before then,” said Townsend. “If your mission is patient care, you’ve got to look at how you’re serving the patients.”


Thus, the Eye Associates board made what Townsend described as the painful decision to shut down the Clovis operation effective March 1. The Clovis clinic will be open one day a week each week during March to provide followup care to patients who recently underwent surgery or eye injections. After that, the doors will be locked for good, Townsend said.


Eye Associates is based in Albuquerque, with clinics located in Clovis, Espanola, Farmington, Gallup, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Roswell, Santa Fe, Socorro, Rio Rancho, and Taos, according to its website. Townsend said the Clovis clinic is the only one being closed.


Doctor shortages aren’t a new problem across the state. The latest figures show the state has 1,429 active primary physicians but another 219 are needed, based on the population, according to The Associated Press.


The Affordable Care Act with a glut of 160,000 new patients only makes the situation critical, according to Jerry Harrison, director of New Mexico Health Resources, Inc., an Albuquerque nonprofit that seeks to recruit health care providers.


Harrison said New Mexico has the largest proportion of doctors over age 60 and the smallest percentage of physicians under age 40 than any other state.


Curated from Eyecare office plans to close March 1 – Clovis News Journal