Business

Learning never stops for eye doctor

Praising her for clean contacts, Snoqualmie Falls Opthalmologist Rebecca Dale, right, takes a peek at Sara Davis’ eyes. Dale emphasizes a philosophy of caring at her practice. - Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Praising her for clean contacts, Snoqualmie Falls Opthalmologist Rebecca Dale, right, takes a peek at Sara Davis’ eyes. Dale emphasizes a philosophy of caring at her practice.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Important lessons are learned every day for Rebecca Dale, eye doctor and founder of Snoqualmie Falls Ophthalmology, PLLC.

Dale, who opened her business this year in Snoqualmie’s Kimball Creek neighborhood, designed her practice around providing patients with a caring, quality experience. She extends her philosophy of care to employees, business associates and the people of the community.

“We exist to serve all who come through our doors by providing medical and surgical eye care with excellence and love,” Dale said.

Dale served as a general medical officer in the United States Navy for three years. During humanitarian deployment in Southeast Asia, she had a chance to help Navy ophthalmologists give sight to people who were legally blind from catatracts.

Completing her naval service, Dale moved to Portland, Ore., where she underwent three years of specialty training in ophthalmology at the Casey Eye Institute. She was in private practice in Mount Vernon for two years prior to deciding to open Snoqualmie Falls Ophthalmology.

“From the business side, I’ve found it is very important to trust my instincts,” Dale said. “When we first started, we were out-sourcing our billing processes. I couldn’t put my finger on what was making me uneasy, but something didn’t feel quite right.”

So, early on, Office Manager Sarah Davis shouldered the immense task of bringing thebilling processes in-house, learning about ophthalmology billing —which was new to her — and a new electronic billing system.

“It was a lot of work, but definitely worthwhile to follow that instinct,” Dale said. Once the process was in-house, they found the new system had fewer errors.

“And as an added benefit, now when patients have a question, we have the answer locally,” she said.

As the only ophthalmology practice in the Valley, Dale believes her business has a responsibility to the local community.

“We regularly participate in community events to help increase awareness about eye health,” she said. “I purposely chose to live very close to the office so that I can be nearby in case of emergencies, and am a willing resource for the area primary care practitioners and emergency departments. Unlike many practices, we have not limited our care to only those patients with high-paying insurance plans.”

Dale creatively balances her work and personal life.

“My toddler knows right where the pretzels are in the office and loves to come play here,” she said. “It’s pretty common for me to bring him along when I see patients outside of normal business hours.”

When she works on the first and third Saturday mornings of the month, her son and husband go swimming at the Si View Pool.

“He’s having so much fun, he’s not missing me a bit,” Dale said.

She does a lot of administrative work after her son goes to bed at night.

“I don’t know that there is any perfect balance for anyone, but we try to make time as a family for the things that are important — a walk, a trip to the zoo, dinner together — and we let some other things slide,” she said.

Dale said she is happy to report that she has not felt any unique challenges as a woman in business.

“The people in this area have been incredibly welcoming, and I absolutely love the community spirit that thrives in the Valley,” she said.

Dale figures she has one of the most beautiful five-minute commutes in the nation.

Dale encourages any young person who is thinking of going into medicine as a career.

“There will always be a need for caring medical professionals,” she said. “I’d also encourage young medical entrepreneurs. We need creative thinkers working on how to provide both high quality care and cost-effective care in our country, and I believe there is still room for new ideas.

“Finding a field that you are passionate about and creating a work environment in which you can fulfill that passion is truly a joy,” Dale added. “That kind of satisfaction has a value beyond financial gain.”

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