A Grass Roots Perspective Of IPA Opportunity

I just met a young lady who is director or HR for a 100 employee company in Danbury CT.  It is a 15 minute highway drive from my office but in the neighboring state of CT as I am in NY on the CT border.  If an IPA sells a plan to this company, whose IPA should fund the plan?

I emailed Jeff Palmer, the CT IPA president, and asked,  “would you like me to contact this lady and if we sell a plan, share it with NY?”   He said sure!   Later he suggested it be a NY Plan that CT be invited to participate in as we would set most of the

Fundingparameters. I suggested that I would contact the HR Lady and arrange a meeting but then it occurred to me, NY would not want to fund this plan as 95% of the patients (which could end up being 3 – 4 hundred, if it went well) would be in CT!  Ami Ranani and I are  the only NY docs that might benefit.
What’s the point of selling this plan?  Is there a value in IPA cooperation? I see the opportunity for a Tri-state co-op of IPAs as exciting as winning the Powerball!  When you start a rocket off the pad, 70% of the fuel is used in just overcoming inertia and getting it moving off the pad, the other 30% gets it into space and to its target.  VCD Labs is a great idea but the need of getting VCD Labs  launched and used by all IPA docs might be better served by using its profits and “financial capital’  (fuel)  to launch IPAs that USE VCD Labs to launch themselves!  This is what the Space Shuttle does with its fuel tank first stage;  the shuttle depends upon the power of its first stage to get off the Earth and then uses its rockets for its special mission.  VCD Labs will never be “Required” of IPA docs because we set the policy and we in essence will own the lab as it grows and if it grows.   However recognizing the economic realities of our times and wanting to duplicate the financial success of EyeMed and VSP,  ALL VCD IPAs must seriously align themselves with VCD Labs to get off the ground and own a piece of  Earth’s Space.
Without staking our claim and defining out  lab financial “Turf” now, at this opportune moment,  we may forever lose an opportunity for independence!  Vertical integration IS PROVEN!   It makes EyeMed and VSP market juggernauts that appear unstoppable until you realize the power of the VCD co-operative marketing concept that cuts out the middleman profits and makes VCD unstoppable, if we can all see the opportunities of VCD labs. vcd labs logo Yes, we can outdo EyeMed if we are willing to work together and stop squabbling over some small intrusions on our perceived freedom of choice!   If our country’s forefathers had forbade any power to our Federal Government,  America never would have been born!  If they did it and it gave us freedom, why should we not follow in the very same footsteps to economic freedom?  Davis beats you to death with financial clubs because they are confident that you are afraid to give up one ounce of independence to work as a team.  You would rather be beaten by Davis and bitch about it at society meetings!  Are they right?
If owning and using your own lab (as EyeMed does)  is such a great idea are we, as VCD,  unstoppable?   Well VCD Labs is a small part pfo globalof  PFO Global which sets up labs accross the world.  PFO Global is going to become an IPO  very soon!  (You will likely see the same from Vision Source, whose franchise fee is now 2.65% to make it really fattened up and ready for an IPO slaughter in my best guess).  If  we want to stay in this game, we need to be part of the ownership of PFO Global  or find an alternative. Both are options.  The best and easiest is to be a part Owner of PFO Global and keep control of the superb technology we now have our hands on. The lens quality is unbeatable and the prices phenomenal.
How can a new IPA do this, sell plans and fund plans?  For many this is the $64,000 question.  I think there is a way to do this and it involves a change of plan and vision by IPAs and VCD Labs.  Each IPA should be trying to sell its plans;  but, when it is neonatal,  it is not going to sell much or be able to fund much of anything.  If the  Neonatal Launch Plans were re-designed around a Required VCD Labs Based Plan – an option to launch the IPA …. not a required process for every plan we sell. Then VCD Labs could fund any plan its ‘contracting IPA”  sold by  taking the contract’s financial value to the bank with almost no risk, as I explained over the phone to Reid Nelson and Don Railsback.  VCD Labs could also invest in its/our  future by possibly even helping to sell plans.
You light a lighter with a spark, not by hiding it in a dark room.  To many IPA doctors the true importance and value of VCD Labs is invisible.  Docs get their feathers ruffled when you talk about a required lab for a given plan!   But keep your feathers down,  NO IPA would be required to use VCD Labs, it would just be a launch option that becomes less needed as an IPA albert-einsteingrew.  But,  who would stop using something that you  liked,  made you money and you had an investment in, via IECP?  Do you throw your widowed mom out the door when you get your first job?  In essence,  I believe, VCD Labs could help launch IPAs and IPAs can help launch VCD LABS.
As for CT and NY,  there would no longer be an issue in selling the plan I have envisioned. All border docs would be equally motivated even though they are in financially independent IPAs.
Not enough doctors using VCD Labs?  Perhaps it needs to be more than a lab, just as IECP is more than a VSP.
———-     here below is an interesting view from the lab industry newsletter.  OpticalLabProducts.com ——–
Issue Date: OLP November 2014


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Recently, I took my 13-year-old daughter to a book signing by a 21-year-old vlogger (video blogger) who’s written a book called “The Pointless Book.” It’s an innovative way to make money. These minor celebrities are actually YouTube partners and get paid by YouTube for creating their own “original” videos, and uploading them on a regular basis.This experience got me thinking about how the ways of doing business have changed so dramatically. During these leaner times, labs need to become more creative, just like these celebrities have.

Managed Vision Care (MVC) is now a big part of our industry with some type of MVC coverage being used to buy 60% of eyeglasses. Perhaps labs could team up with vision care plans to offer patients more choices in terms of eyewear, lens types, and lens options?Two major vision care plans have integrated with their retail stores: EyeMed Vision Care/Luxottica and Davis Vision/Visionworks of America. Will we soon see Walmart stores get into this space?

I asked Richard Sanchez, managing partner at Visibility Management, LLC, who moderated an Optical Lab Division panel at VEW what he thought. “I think labs should look to partner with vision care plans,” he answers. “Some vision care plans have gone with an optical lab exclusively, while some (Avesis) are partnering with labs in various regions. The trend is that managed vision care plans do want to partner with labs and are looking for partners that can meet their needs in terms of quality data management, eligibility, claims files, and pricing.”

Eventually, he says, there will be some MVC plans that acquire a lab or vice versa. For an in-depth look at the panel discussion, see “Managed Care and Money.” An independent lab, therefore, should explore its options.

Carol Gilhawley is Editor-in-Chief of Optical Lab Products and can be reached at cg@visioncareproducts.com.

Dr Joseph Ross, NYIPA

About janrssor

Author whose Nome De Plum and main character share the same name. I am a programmer, eye doctor, holistic practitioner, student of religion, student of mysticism, student of science, business net-worker and I strongly believe that life without a challenge and daily growth is not worth living. My motto is Live Outside The Box.

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