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.
What 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.
- NATIONAL 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.