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Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety Responds to FTC Proposed Contact Lens Rule

“It does not fully address patient safety concerns around robocall verification of contact lens prescriptions”, chairwoman says.

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(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON – The Healthcare Alliance for Patient Safety (Alliance) released the following statement in response to last week’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed supplemental rulemaking on the 2016 proposed Contact Lens Rule.

Congress charged the FTC with enforcing contact lens prescription verification requirements with the passage of the 2004 Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA). However, a lack of enforcement of some patient safety protections and the allowance of robocalls as a permissible form of communication for prescription verification has contributed to a growth in illegal sales, including through the filling of expired or non-existent prescriptions and the filling of prescriptions with devices other than what was prescribed by the doctor which put patients eye health and safety at risk.

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The FTC’s proposed rule acknowledges some of the key problems associated with prescription verification via robocalls but does not close the verification loophole. Instead, the proposed rule only requires that automated verification telephone messages are “delivered in a slow and deliberate manner and at a reasonably understandable volume,” and “that prescribers be able to repeat the message.”

The FTC shared its concern about the misuse of the prescription verification process to substitute a different brand or manufacturer of lenses. The Alliance agrees with the FTC that contact lens brands are not interchangeable and that substitution is a growing problem in the market, but the Alliance believes that greater enforcement is necessary to ensure that patients receive the exact lenses prescribed by their doctor.

Dr. Deanna Alexander, chairwoman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, said, “The FTC’s proposed rule does recognize important issues with the contact lens market, but it does not fully address patient safety concerns around robocall verification of contact lens prescriptions or the ongoing enforcement of illegal substitution for what the patient’s doctor has prescribed. Re-playable, slow and deliberate messages are not the same thing as accurate and secured verification. We believe there is more work to be done to close the verification loophole and protect patients throughout the verification process.”

More than 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses – U.S. Food and Drug Administration Class II and Class III regulated medical devices – for safe and effective vision correction. Contact lenses are more complex than they appear, having differing shapes, strengths, and water contents. There are no generics. Improper lens usage, which can result from the substitution of lenses not as prescribed by the patient’s doctor, can lead to serious health complications, including infections and other sight-threatening conditions, such as corneal edema, ulcers, and neovascularization.

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The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety has made it a priority to close loopholes within the existing verification process and prevent the substitution of lenses to reduce the risk of preventable vision loss. We will continue to work with the FTC, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Congress to be a strong voice and advocate for patient health and safety.

The Alliance was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and to protect and defend the doctor-patient relationship—the essential foundation of personalized health care decision making. For more information, please visit www.PatientSafetyToday.com.

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Press Releases

Coburn Technologies Introduces TruBlu Edging Pads

It’s a general-purpose blocking pad.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTH WINDSOR, CT – Coburn Technologies, Inc. introduces TruBlu edging pads. Compatible with all types of lens materials, styles and base curves, TruBlu is a general-purpose blocking pad, which also provides a secure bond on most AR coatings. TruBlu edging pads are manufactured at the Coburn manufacturing facility in South Windsor, Connecticut.

“With proven performance at various testing facilities worldwide, TruBlu Edging pads are engineered for excellent adhesion,” states Khristina Selley, consumables sales manager at Coburn Technologies.

“TruBlu also provides excellent torque resistance with clean removability from the lens and block,” states Selley. She added, “TruBlu edging pads are available in most common shapes and configurations with a precision die cut.”

TruBlu edging pads will be showcased at this year’s Vision Expo West in Las Vegas at booth LP6075 and are also available through Coburn’s brand new e-commerce site, www.shopcoburn.com, where eye care professionals can conveniently order consumables and spare parts. For more information, visit the site or directly contact a representative at 1-800-COBURN1.

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Innovega Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign with Crowdfunder

Funds will be earmarked to move Innovega’s eMacula toward commercial launch.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BELLEVUE, WA — Innovega Inc., a company engaged in developing stylish, lightweight, wearable display technology with a panoramic field of view for virtual and augmented reality, launched an equity crowdfunding round with Crowdfunder, a leader in funding high-growth ventures. Funds will be earmarked to move Innovega’s eMacula toward commercial launch.

Innovega’s eMacula is a wearable display system that includes patented disposable soft contact lenses (“smart lenses”) and a range of display eyewear (“smart glasses”). This combination system meets wearers’ parallel demands for lightweight, stylish eyewear and access to high-quality media with a high-resolution, panoramic field of view. eMacula provides a synthesis of features that is unavailable in other AR/VR products — which are typically encumbered by heavy, obtrusive headsets or eyewear with a narrow display field.

With a network of more than 130,000 entrepreneurs and investors, Crowdfunder is an equity crowdfunding leader for sourcing and funding high-growth ventures. Crowdfunder provides access to a global network of accredited investors who participate in funding startups.

Innovega’s business model allows established contact lens manufacturers to bring the eMacula system’s smart lenses to market, and allows multiple manufacturing and distribution partners to commercialize its display eyewear, configured for many applications or use cases. Its patented portfolio of Enhanced Retina Technologies covers the system of contact lenses and smart glasses, including key sub-systems such as eye tracking, and is protected by twenty-six filed patent applications and thirteen granted U.S. patents.

To learn more about Innovega and the eMacula system, and the opportunity for equity investment during the current limited-time funding round, please visit https://www.crowdfunder.com/innovega.

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Press Releases

VSP Global Premier Program to Launch National Consumer Advertising Campaign and Program Enhancements

This is in support of private practice.

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(PRESS RELEASE) RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – As part of its commitment to support private practice Doctors of Optometry, theVSP Global Premier Program announced it will launch a national consumer advertising campaign, designed to drive patients to Premier Program practices. Debuting later this month, a mix of television, radio, outdoor, and digital advertising will motivate patients to schedule an appointment at a local Premier Program private practice, where they can maximize their benefits and receive a personalized eye care experience.

Enhancements to the Premier Program were also announced to provide doctors more of what they are asking for: improved revenue opportunities, more patients, marketing and exclusive offers, as well as access to the best brands and robust staff training and education.

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Through a new tiered loyalty framework, the Premier Program offers a competitive advantage to private practice through business-building benefits, increased patient traffic, and greater profitability.

“Doctors have asked for greater choice and flexibility, and we’re excited to expand the Premier Program in response to that feedback and support private practice’s ability to differentiate and compete,” said Michelle Skinner, VSP Global’s chief provider relations officer.

Practices can choose their level of participation from three new distinct tiers. To unlock the benefits, practices must meet tier criteria, including flexible combined purchases within the last 12 months from Marchon Eyewear, Altair Eyewear, and VSP Optics. Qualifying practices must also offer consumer conveniences like retinal imaging, exclusive VSP ‘Member Extra’ offers, and free fittings and adjustments. Tiers and key benefits include:

  • Silver: Practices can leverage My Marketing Team to increase patient engagement and will have full access toPremier Academy360.
  • Gold: In addition to enjoying all Silver benefits, practices will receive thePremier Program banner, enhancing their listing on vsp.com to increase patient traffic, complete with online appointment scheduling and more. They will also enjoy special offers and discounts withPremier Program Partners.
  • Platinum: In addition to all Silver and Gold benefits, practices will unlockadditional payments and rewards. They will also have access to job posting andrecruitment services, as well as enhanced marketing services, including complimentary social media management and much more.

Practices can learn more at: EnhancedPremier.com

Additionally, in response to feedback from doctors, Premier Academy360 is a new educational platform which will soon be made available to practices participating in the Premier Program. Premier Academy360 will offer comprehensive training and education programs tailored to VSP network doctors and staff. Designed to expand potential practice services, enhance the patient experience, and save doctors time and money on staff development, it will include 24/7 online education, webinars, and in-person workshops.

Since the Premier Program’s inception in 2013, $9.2 billion in revenue has been delivered to participating practices, with over 32 million patient visits – with nearly half of them being new patients. Data shows that practices with the Premier Program banner average 2 times more clicks on the vsp.com ‘Find A Doctor’ directory than those without. In 2018, VSP sent 1.4 million members direct marketing encouraging them to visit Premier Program locations to maximize their vision benefits and take advantage of special offers, which helped reduce out-of-network claims.

“In fulfilling our mission of helping people see, we remain committed to connecting VSP members with the core of our network – Premier Program private practices,” added Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “We’re excited by these new investments in the program because they are critical to fulfilling that commitment.”

Additional investments and business-driving initiatives will be announced through the end of 2019, with more to debut at ‘SHiFT19,’ the annual Premier Program meeting in late October.

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