Wilmington Eye merged with Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic on Monday, both eye care clinics will operate under the name Wilmington Eye.
The merger will increase efficiency and lower expenses, according to a news release.
“Healthcare providers are under tremendous pressure to maintain a high quality of care while reducing the cost of care and to adhere to growing government regulations,” Wilmington Eye practice administrator Kathy Erickson said in the release. “The nationwide trend is consolidation in order to achieve success for patients, physicians and staff.”
The Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic locations on 1120 Medical Center Drive and 8068 Market St. will remain open with the same staff and physicians, with some staff rotations possible between locations.
Erickson said the merger will reduce costs by offering patients expanded access to care.
“We can manage multiple problems with fewer visits,” Erickson said. “Our physicians follow a standard of care protocols by the American Academy of Ophthalmology which minimizes unnecessary testing.”
Both clinics provide regular eye exams and several types of surgeries, officials said.
Erickson said Wilmington Eye decided to merge with Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic because of the similarities between the companies’ histories in Wilmington and their missions.
“Wilmington Eye’s growth strategy includes merger and acquisition to continue to meet the increasing demands on health care, regulatory burdens and declining reimbursements,” she said. “Wilmington Eye’s primary focus is patient care for our community and the physicians at Coastal were a good fit for our practice culture.”
Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic was founded in 1975 by Stephen Kash. James Kesler, a surgeon who implanted the first intraocular lens in Southeastern North Carolina, joined Kash in 1979. Molly Allen, a surgeon who came to the clinic in 1984, was the first female surgeon and ophthalmologist in Wilmington.
Wilmington Eye was also founded in 1975, by James Sloan under the name Eye Associates of Wilmington until it changed to its current name in 2015. Wilmington Eye has six locations in Wilmington, Southport, Hampstead and Jacksonville.
Erickson said the goal was to make the merger seamless for the patients.
“While we mailed information to our patients a few weeks ago, we only had our first day together on Monday,” Erickson said. “Monday was exciting for us, and we did receive positive feedback from our patients.”
Corrections: This version corrects the previous name of Wilmington Eye and the founder of Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic.