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American Optometric Association Writes Letter to VSP Chairman Criticizing Company’s Practices

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AOA takes aim at VSP’s Premier program, proposed frame policy.

On Saturday, July 2, the American Optometric Association issued the following press release:

As the advocate of the profession, the AOA, together with our members, vigilantly fights activities, policies and organizations that threaten OD practice and access to important eye health and vision care for patients.

On Monday, June 27, the AOA sent a letter to VSP Global Chairman of the Board Daniel Mannen, O.D., taking issue with several of the company’s practices, including the Premier program, which the AOA believes makes artificial distinctions between doctors of optometry, not related to the quality of care that they deliver; and a proposed frame policy which was planned to go into effect on July 1. The policy would require doctors to purchase a certain amount of VSP-owned frame lines to maintain current levels of
reimbursement for non-VSP frame purchases by VSP enrollees.

In the letter, AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D., and AOA President-Elect Andrea P. Thau, O.D., articulated legal concerns regarding the new policy, including concerns about legal and regulatory compliance. The AOA believes the policy, if implemented, could impinge on doctors’ freedom to run their practices in the manner they see fit and it did not appear to be driven by considerations of patient care, patient choice and the doctor-patient relationship that is at the heart of optometry practices.

Yesterday, the proposed effective date of the policy, VSP announced that the company made a business decision to postpone the policy’s effective date “to allow further review and consideration of frame reimbursements in relation to industry pricing and practices.”

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The AOA will remain vigilant in advocating for vision plan practices that enable high-quality, patient-centered care.

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