AOA President Responds to Forbes Article

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Ronald L. Hopping, OD, MPH, president of the American Optometric Association, responds to the article in Forbes magazine by Rob Lynch, president and CEO of VSP Global, about how stand-alone vision plans can help reduce overall costs.

As an independent eye doctor in private practice in Houston and the president of the American Optometric Association, the only national organization that represents and advocates for the nation’s optometrists and our patients, I was concerned to see several inaccuracies included in Mr. Lynch’s commentary. To be clear, VSP is a private company which continues to lobby very aggressively for special treatment from legislators and regulators in order to preserve profits from an outdated business model in an era of great change, advancement and growth in the delivery of quality eye health care by optometrists.

Neither Mr. Lynch, nor the company he currently heads, can be said to represent in any way my profession, my colleagues, my practice or my patients any more than Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United, Aetna or other insurers do. With the health care system at a crossroads, doctors of optometry are correctly being recognized by many as a solution for improving patient access and a key entry point for essential primary care.

While there is and will continue to be a role for stand-alone plans, it’s time for insurance executives to listen to doctors and our patients, to let go of the segregated approach of the past that disregards the advanced education and skills of optometrists today and for insurance executives to embrace the seamless and fully integrated delivery of eye health care.