EYECARE: Managed Care In Response to Pandemic, VSP Global Expands Access to Essential Medical Eyecare to All Insured Members By Staff Thursday, April 2, 2020 12:27 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—To meet the needs of its members during the COVID-19 pandemic, VSP Global has expanded access to essential medical eyecare services to include all VSP Vision Care insured members and their covered dependents. The new policy, which VSP Global announced April 1, will provide access to services for 57 million insured VSP members who do not already have this benefit, a company spokesperson told VMAIL. It is effective through April 30, 2020. These additional members now have access to supplemental medical eyecare for the detection, treatment, and management of ocular and visual conditions, and can see their VSP network doctor in-person or remotely to get treatment for a variety of conditions including conjunctivitis, eye trauma, and sudden changes to vision, VSP Global said.Members can also use their routine VSP coverage for lost or broken glasses or replacement contact lenses to meet immediate eyewear needs by contacting their VSP network doctor. “Expanding essential medical eyecare services for VSP members is critical to ensure they can access the care they need in this COVID-19 environment,” said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “In doing so, we can help keep VSP members and their VSP network doctors connected, lowering the likelihood of our members visiting primary care physicians or emergency rooms and reducing demand on our strained health care system during this unprecedented time.”While most practices are closed for routine eyecare due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of VSP network doctors are still providing essential and emergency eyecare, according to the VSP Global spokesperson. Due to the dynamic situation, VSP is encouraging its members to contact their VSP network doctor to verify availability and practice hours.Based on a patient’s essential eyecare needs, VSP network doctors can determine how best to safely provide care, whether in person or delivered remotely. If for any reason the VSP network doctor is unable to meet the patient’s needs, VSP customer service can be contacted to assist in finding alternatives to support the provider and their patient.Recently, optometrists were included as essential critical infrastructure workers as part of guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. As new legislation allows optometric physicians the flexibility and recognition to treat patients remotely, a webinar resource for VSP network doctors, “Optometry & Telemedicine During COVID-19,” is now available from VSP’s Premier Academy360. The webinar, which is available to all VSP network doctors, explores guidelines and how a practice can implement telemedicine, as well as information about telemedicine coverage through VSP plans. It is available on-demand here: vspproviderhub.com/covid-19.htmlAdditionally, Eyefinity is providing telemedicine functionality to all Eyefinity EHR users to enable efficient documentation and coding of remote patient consultations. This supports VSP network doctors’ ability to ramp up telemedicine capabilities for patients with essential eyecare needs. In the coming weeks, Eyefinity is also slated to make available patient video chat technology for Eyefinity EHR users.As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, Premier Academy360 will accelerate efforts to offer free education and training resources for VSP network practices, VSP Global said. Details will follow, with access to resources on topics ranging from applying for Small Business Administration loans, to leadership and financial management.