What is VCD (Vision Care Direct) and IECP (Independent Eye Care Proffesionals and why has the NYIPA become a shareholder? IECP is an association of independent IPA’s (Independent Practice Associations, like the NYIPA) in 24 states and soon to be 34. Each is owned by its doctor members and each IPA can own IECP, which may empower each IPA as you will see from the examples below. In question and answer format:
1) ACOs – How many other states have successfully integrated with ACOs via the IECP IPA vehicle? Ohio, South Carolina, Kansas are some of the biggest successes. Our medical contracts are the biggest block of lives and exceed 3 million lives. Our self funded business blocks is larger than VCD. VCD is the smallest block. IECP states have secured 4 major contracts this year exceeding 500,000 lives.
2) How will IECP/VCD open the door for ACOs in NY state? ACOs work on a local basis. Getting involved with ACOs starts with identifying the opportunity. IECP tracks every ACO opportunity and then notifies the state leadership of the areas affected. Local doctors must reach out to the people forming the ACOs. ACOs want primary source credentialed networks. Our Kansas IPA provides that service to state IPAs now. IECP has on its team people who can provide contracting advice and actuarial services.
4) How many doctors are in the VCD? Over 5500 and while ACOs are a big topic of concern for Optometry’s financial medical future, I think we should also address Optometry’s historic financial foundation, Vision Care.
The money in eyecare is in materials. Ask yourself, why are EyeMed and VSP not rushing out to secure ACOs? They have the money, the people and the ability.
5) How can VCD/IECP help ODs compete with reimbursement reducing plans like Eye Med, Spectera, Davis? The owners of VCD, the state IPAs, have mandated that we not join the race to the bottom on reimbursements. If IECP cannot improve conditions for its members, it doesn’t get involved. Low vision plan rates are pervasive. VCD now has cut the cost of goods portion of the vision plan through VCDlabs.com. Its new vision plan VCD Complete Eyewear which utilizes VCDlabs, and through this vehicle puts doctors in a tter position to compete on price but still meet the goal of providing a better reimbursement than EyeMed, Spectera and Davis – though granted not significantly better. beUnfortunately too many independents have signed onto the lower price plans. If buyers can access doctors already on EyeMed,Davis and Spectera, its hard provide something different. VCD Complete Eyewear is providing a compelling options that meets the wants of patients. IECP is building a structural foundation that we hope will provide the financial security to help doctors refuse joining the race to the bottom!
6) How can VCD/IECP help doctors avoid a situation where they are forced to offer discounts on non-covered services? IECP has created the only plans that do not force discounts on non-covered services. When the Kansas state legislature follows the Georgia law with a law of its own that stops vision plans from forcing discounts on non covered materials and services or requiring the use of a vision plan labs, VCD Kansas was not affected. In fact, the Kansas IPA works very closely with the state optometric association to better optometry. But here is the most compelling reason for VCD. ALL plans, reimbursements and strategies MUST be approved by local leadership. VCD does NOT require any state to implement any plan or plan option, IECP offers up tools, the local leaders decide what works in their state.
7) How is the VCD network structured? Who owns what (IECP, VCD, IPAs? All these terms get confusing to people) -ECP and VCD are owned by the state IPAs. The IPAs elect a board, the board staffs IECP. IPAs are all owned by doctors. Everything, therefore is owned by doctors through their local IPA.
8) Where does the money from premiums paid go? Where does the compensation of services go and again where does IECP, VCD fit in (ie what is their cut)? ALL, absolutely ALL contracts are held by local IPAs – VCD, self funded, medical, exchange and ACO contracts. The money for vision plan premium and claims flow through the IECP office but all money is deposited into state IPA bank accounts. The states hold the money. IECP keeps 10% to provide claims and admin services. IECP does earn a small percentage of the rebates from the preferred vendor program. The biggest source of income to operate the non claims/admin portion of the business come from service fees to IPAs or from a percentage retained by VCDlabs.
In essence IECP/VCD is owned by independent doctors who own their state IPA’s. IECP/VCD then acts to catalyze opportunities with forming ACOs as well as support Optometry’s fundamental need to stay in the vision care game without racing to become the low paid stressed out doctor at the bottom of the pile!
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The NYOIPA thanks all its membership for your trust and confidence shown through your purchase of membership and support by your dues payments. We are pleased to be able to reward you with the profit opportunities you may choose to share via using VCD Labs and the coming vendor and lab rebates.