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Expansion doubles VEI’s space in Williamson County

Feb. 7, 2013, 8:23 AM

Officials cut the ribbon Tuesday to commemorate the opening of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute’s newly expanded practice in Franklin, now called VEI Williamson County. (photo by Steve Green)

The Vanderbilt Eye Institute has solidified itself as the largest, most comprehensive ophthalmology practice in the region with the recent expansion of its Franklin practice, now called VEI Williamson County.

The new offices, located at 4601 Carothers Parkway, will combine the adult and pediatric eye care services into one facility while providing separate clinical areas for adult and pediatric patients.

The move has been much anticipated by both practitioners and patients alike.

“We saw the need to combine the adult ophthalmology and pediatric practices for quite some time,” said Daniel Weikert, M.D., assistant professor of Clinical Ophthalmology. “This is an exciting time for our current patients as we will be able to provide comprehensive services in a state-of-the art facility.

“We were simply outgrowing the space we were in,” said Weikert. “With the expansion, we will be able to continue to meet the needs of Williamson County residents and bring more subspecialty services to our patients.”

The nearly 10,000-square-foot office almost doubles the space previously available to VEI practitioners in Franklin. The first patients were seen in the new facility on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“The opening of this beautiful, state-of-the-art branch of the Eye Institute is a wonderful addition to Vanderbilt’s presence in Franklin,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., George W. Hale Professor and chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt.

“We are thrilled to provide this new and convenient location to accommodate the growing number of patients seeking our care in Williamson County.”

The adult practice will be anchored by three full-time ophthalmologists — Weikert, James Felch, M.D., and Mark Kroll, M.D., and will include weekly clinics held by retina specialists Edward Cherney, M.D., and Stephen Kim, M.D., and oculoplastics expert Mark Melson, M.D.

The expanded facility offers 12 adult examination rooms and a minor treatment room to allow for an expansion in outpatient procedures and options.

The combined practice will feature separate waiting areas and examination rooms for adult and pediatric patients. In addition, there will be five treatment and testing rooms for use by both clinics.

“We are going to be able to expand our clinical presence in Williamson County in addition to being able to join our colleagues on the adult side,” said David Morrison, M.D. “Working together will allow us access to a larger array of equipment and on-site services that was typically only available on the main campus or within the adult setting.

“We have been trying to keep pace with our growing clinical volumes. We really want to provide the best care for the children in this area. We are excited about the ability to join forces with the adult practice,” Morrison said.

The pediatric clinic will feature a dedicated pediatric, child-friendly waiting area and four examination rooms. Morrison will be joined by Robert Estes, M.D., and optometrist Lori Ann Kehler, O.D.

Estes echoed Morrison’s sentiments:

“Having access to extensive diagnostic tests like visual field screenings and optic nerve imaging will provide a great source of convenience for our patients who previously had to travel to another location for these evaluations.”

Regina Bennett, assistant director of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, said the consolidation of both practices is a win-win for the community as well as the practitioners.

“This will allow for a more concerted effort to serve our referral sources including primary care doctors and optometrists and their patients in a more efficient way,” said Bennett. “We are looking forward to being able to better serve our patients in one convenient location.”

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