It’s Been Nöjd!
After completing Howard University College of Medicine, his residency at West Virginia University Eye Institute and a fellowship at the University of Minnesota Eye Clinic, Emmanuel Kai-Lewis, MD, and his wife returned to her native Sweden. In addition to learning the Scandinavian language in a matter of months, Dr. Kai-Lewis became a member of the faculty at St. Erik’s Hospital in Stockholm and completed thousands of complex surgeries.
When the family decided to return to the U.S., Dr. Kai-Lewis interviewed in many place, looking for a practice where he could make a difference and “where the physicians were both great and humble. I didn’t run into that much,” he says, laughing. But when he met Thomas Quigley, MD, he found what he was looking for. “I had worked so autonomously that it would have been very difficult for me to come work for a micromanager,” he says. “When I talked to Dr. Quigley, he said, ‘Even though I’m the owner, I’m not your boss. You’re going to develop your practice the way you want to.’ No one had said that to me.” The family atmosphere within the Quigley Eye Specialist locations he visited also resonated with him.
Now that he’s been part of the group for nearly five years, Dr. Kai-Lewis can use the Swedish word “nöjd,” an expression of contentment and satisfaction. “Working at Quigley has allowed me to branch out and utilize all of my skill set. I’ve been able to establish a cross-linking practice and expand on the level of cornea subspecialty care that I can provide for our patients. Dr. Quigley’s early and ongoing support has allowed me to build a reputation as a strong surgeon in a great practice. He has recommended me to both doctors and patients as someone who can provide top care in an emerging area.”
Optometry Practice Brings Complementary Aspects to Quigley Eye Specialists.
Denise Billings, OD, FAAO, was thinking about her patients and her legacy when she began talking with organizations about selling the private optometric practice she had started nearly 40 years earlier. She chose Quigley Eye Specialists in part because she already knew some of the key players. She had been referring patients to Thomas Quigley, MD, “an excellent surgeon,” for years, and a Quigley-affiliated practice in her area had been referring its contact lens and low vision patients to her.
The fit was a good one for a number of reasons. Dr. Billings appreciated the package she was offered from Quigley, and she enjoys her work. Removing “some of the headaches of owning your business and the tremendous benefits package” were enticing. In fact, when she received an email from Quigley Eye Specialists about using or losing her PTO, she remembers being surprised by the concept that she would be paid for time off. As a solo owner, that was a luxury she hadn’t had. Plus, she is able to continue seeing the patients whom she has served for decades and enjoys seeing others.
For Dr. Billings, who had strabismus as a child, eye care is a family affair. Her son, who is now in an ophthalmology residency, participated in a program that Dr. Quigley offered high school youth in the area. These young students were invited to shadow him for about two weeks in the surgery center, an opportunity that clearly planted some seeds. “To this day, Dr. Quigley will ask about him, and he passed along the message that there’s a job at Quigley for him in the future.” Her daughter is training for a career in physical therapy, demonstrating how caring for others is a deeply held conviction.
The Scenery Has Changed; The Commitment Remains.
About three years ago, Duane Wiggins, MD, felt he was ready for another career change. This one, transitioning away from being a partner in a practice in New Mexico, was less surprising, perhaps, than the one he made earlier—when he decided to attend medical school after having worked as an accountant for two years.
With their children reaching adulthood, he and his wife began envisioning where they wanted to live—and Florida’s oceanside towns held great appeal. That goal became more intriguing when he saw a Quigley Eye Specialist posting on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website. He began to research the company after having spoken with CEO and founder Thomas Quigley, MD, and some of the other physicians. “I found the physicians, administration and staff to be down-to-earth and committed,” he says.
He also appreciated that Quigley Eye Specialists had a longstanding, excellent reputation in the community. The deciding factor, however, was that the organization was willing to provide charity care to those who cannot afford essential eye care services. “Making a difference in the community is important to me,” he says.
Dr. Wiggins says that he is pleased he made this decision. “The company allows me to practice in the patients’ best interests. I do not feel constrained by being told what I must do or cannot do, so I feel like I’m an independent practitioner inside a company that supports me.”