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    ODs’ top 4 gripes about vision care plans: Part 3—Reimbursements

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    In order to continue this dialogue, and in an attempt to help bring some clarity to the landscape around vision plans, I have put together this five-part blog series. Part 1 of this series outlined the four big topics ODs seem to have the most complaints with vison care plans (VCP). In Part 2 of the series, we covered if it has to be this difficult.

    For review, here are the four gripes:

    1. Does it have to be this difficult?

    2. Reimbursements

    3. Competing with me for retail sales and patients

    4. Misleading and misinformation

    In Part 3 of this five-part blog series, let’s take a closer look at Gripe Number Two—Reimbursements.

    Previously from Dr. Spear: The benefits of cleaning out your practice

    Reimbursements

    I don’t think anyone finds it surprising that a major gripe was reimbursements. Here are a few of the comments I received from ODs:

    • “Low exam fees. Terrible pay for frames and lenses.”

    • “In many years, no increase in reimbursement (in fact a decrease) despite the cost of business going up, making profitability increasingly difficult.”

    • “Getting paid less for an exam than I did in 1984 when I started practice.”

    • “More and more documentation, less reimbursement.”

    • “Horrible exam reimbursement.”

    What did surprise me in the conversations and correspondence with many ODs is reimbursement was not necessarily the top complaint.

    Many ODs recognize VCPs do bring patients into the office and help provide access to patients. Most ODs would accept the reduced payments much less begrudgingly if the other gripes were mitigated.

    Related: 5 steps to creating a budget

    Although reimbursements are a problem, the following complaints actually make us resentful of low reimbursement:

    • Patients do not know what plan they have—which means your staff must spend a lot of time figuring it out

    • VCP representatives are not available to answer questions, and the answers are often different depending on who you speak with

    • Patients are often misinformed by VCP representatives about what is covered

    • Difficulties in understanding plans and the variety of plans that exist

    Here are four things you can do to make sure you are being profitable with VCPs:

    Click here for Dr. Spear's 4 gripes with reimbursements

    Carl H. Spear, OD, MBA, FAAO
    Dr. Spear owns a multi-location group practice with his wife Dr. Katie Gilbert Spear in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Spear is commander of the ...

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