Monthly Archives: January 2015

A New Years Vision ……

???????????????????????????????????????The Future – Medical / Optical or Medical / Eye Care?


A predictor of the future is sampling what everyone “in the know”  is doing to survive. Keep in mind that Burger King grew cheaply by opening next to locations McDonalds had researched and built upon!


What are “they” doing?

  • UHC is making Spectra part of its health care package  UnitedHealthcare vision offers a diverse network of more than 53,000 access points, including both private practice and leading retail chain providers
  • BCBS has contracted with EyeMed but owns the third largest vision chain in America as ECCA: With 384 stores in 36 states, Eye Care Centers of America, Inc. is the third largest retail optical chain in the U.S. The company’s brand names include EyeMasters, Binyon’s, Visionworks, Hour Eyes, Dr. Bizer’s VisionWorld, Dr. Bizer’s ValueVision, Doctor’s ValuVision, Stein Optical, Vision World, Doctor’s VisionWorks, and Eye DRx. Founded in 1984, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, visit
  • BCBS is making EyeMed a “free” part of its plan to buyers! …… United Cerebral Palsy in Putnam County gets their “vision plan’  free…. and it is very low end too, but free!
  • AETNA:  Offers, LensCrafters®, Pearle Vision®, Sears® Optical, Target Optical®, and JCPenney Optical
  • OXFORD:   GVS (general vision services) and Spectra

Why are optical chains doing this?

  • The obvious reason is that joining a medical network that exists creates huge instant expansion opportunities
  • The less obvious reason is that Medical Care (health care reform) has no interest in optical stores. As a result Del Vecchio (Luxotica) created EyeMed and asked PRIVATE ODs (those he wants to put out of business) to join so that he could claim his network included Medical EyeCare!  ……. you join EyeMed to help them gain medical inclusion (now they have medical eyecare) so they can kill your practice and employ you!  They are now ramping up Medical Eye Care at Lens Crafters and other stores so that they can absorb as an employee by killing you as a private practitioner.

$$ incentiveWhat is the Financial Incentive For Medical to join with vision Care?:  In essence it appears that Medical Plans are being encouraged to add vision plans as “free”  or low cost items to capture the market.  One reason medical plans want this is to capture the 15 to 35 year old age group that does NOT go to medical doctors for preventive care and as such are a liability for ACOs!   However they do go to optical stores for “blurred vision” better known as myopia!  By capturing them in the optical store, then can detect diabetes, etc and ideally save the ACO big bucks by avoiding catastrophic illness (strokes, heart attacks and diabetes related disabilities).


What Should private practitioners be doing?

The answer is forming what the system wants and needs  OD/ OMD networks that diagnose and treat disease and capture the “healthy” 15 – 35 years old market who sees doctors for blur, Myopia!

How Should Private Practice Accomplish This Goal?

  • Be Part Of A Team: Join into large untied well communicating teams that allow each doctor to own their own independent practice but benefit from the empowerment of team commitment.
    • There is no “I” in team only keeping an eye on the team! To succeed we have to agree to follow the groups “best practices”  decisions which means change and some loss of total indepenence.
    • The best option:  IECP / Vision Care Direct  (if it can function nationwide as a team that overcomes local greed and practitioner egos!)
  • Develop Medical Networks by Working With OMDs And PCPs –  OMD / OD teams must create networks for reproducible health care entities that can contract with ACOs for medical and vision carve outs.
    • IECPNATIONAL DUPLICATION: This must be coordinated by national leadership but duplicated locally
    • LOCAL COMMUNICATION:  This must be coordinated by good technology that keeps doctors communicating:  This could be OcuHub or similar technology that is evolving and long as there is  “Joint Value Creation.”
    • CONTRACT OWNERSHIP:  Contracts must be owned my local IPAs and not by any organizing media (such as OcuHub). If not,  it becomes another VSP.

Should We Beat Ourselves Up Before VSP and EyeMed do it?

The title is a bit misleading in that we don’t want to ever “beat up” ourselves or our membership; however, the market does!  shadow boxingVSP and EyeMed make lots of money by forcing you into contracts you don’t want but MUST take.  They anticipate and create the market that they then make you play in!   They then make all the profit and screw you as the Investment Bankers did so nicely in 2008 …. and still do.   Can you beat them at their game by “beating” yourself up?  If “beating yourself up” means anticipating the market trends and doing to yourself what VSP will otherwise do first then the answer is likely YES!  Lets consider what this means in terms of opportunity for you and the change you might have embrace before it come and takes you down!

20 Years ago I belonged to a Visionary E-Commerce business that saw the opportunity of being like Amazon but in an era of dial up,  when it was too slow and frustrating.  Had they held on a bit longer,  been more creative and shared more money with their partners (vertical integration),   I would likely be close to being a billionaire.  They were too greedy and wanted to enslave their workers and keep the profits,  Like VSP and eyemed.  They did however make a visionary statement that is absolutely true today. They said, “PEOPLE DON’T WANT MORE CHOICES, THEY WANT MORE OF WHAT THEY WANT AND LESS CHOICES.”  If you can deliver this before VSP or eyemed makes you do it for next to nothing,  you will make a lot of money!

There is strong evidence that the coming vision plans will NOT allow you to up sell much if any.  Plan buyers want to come in and have everything covered on every purchase (more of what they want and less choices). Quick, simple and easy.  If VSP all-inclusivesells this type of plan, what will happen is any profits will go to make VSP very much richer and you will be really eating dust.  However,  what if your IPA sells the plan and (I shudder to say it since you will have to embrace change) you contractually need to use your IPA’s lab (the one we own) to make it profitable?  Well what would happen is at first you might think your IPA is forcing you to use a lab like eyemed and VSP do. NO!  What is different is that you own the lab and instead of VSP or eyemed getting the profits you do! Vertical integration.   Not to mention you may have dozens of plans that may not require your owned lab,  if you can sell them. So, you have choices,  it is options not commandments as VSP and eyemed require of you!

The bottom line is you will likely make twice as much profit as if VSP or eyemed sells it!  On top of that you can sell it for less to a company than VSP or eyemed can.  In essence, you can BEAT VSP or eyemed out of their market share little by little!  Think they believe it? Well you had better because they are shooting at buying up labs so we cannot do it!   So, the next time you think about a possible plan that may include a required lab (that you own) and one that can potentially fund the plan so you don’t have to raise money,  get excited not negative!   The alternative is getting money from tightwad ods who don’t want to pay cash to their IPA  but don’t notice VSP is already taking the fee,  the IPA would charge for dues, and lots more by forcing you to take their low fees!  THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

Just imagine this:  You know an HR officer of a local company and you or your IPA’s salesman goes to them and offers them a plan (from an easy to present pre-designed pamphlet)  that provides a reasonable selection of currently styled frames with poly s/v or progressive  lenses, a/r coating,  scratch coating and far better quality than Essilor and all for no patient out of pocket. Not to mention they don’t have to go to Cosco or Pearle.  Using VCD labs we should be able to do this and reimburse you far more than VSP because by the VCD model we cut out the middle man.  Now here is something far better you did not expect:  Since you don’t have to spend hours educating and selling A/R ,  Poly,  Scratch Coat etc.  your cost goes down in time paid to employees and you make more sales because the same employee can sell more in less time!  Not only that but there are always second pairs “at a discount”  form your plan and at a big profit form VCDLABS  (Which also financially supports your IPA.  Can you think outside the box?   If you don’t see this,  VSP will be sure to make you see it in the near future as they claim to have to compete with eyemed that is doing it!