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VSP Retail: Visionworks Acquisition is Complete but Not Our Investments in Private Practice

By Gordon Jennings, OD October 02, 2019

As you have likely seen or read, VSP Global® has just announced that the acquisition of Visionworks is complete.

At the same time, you may also have seen the news release that announced major investments in the VSP Global Premier Program for private practice doctors.

You may be asking: What is VSP really up to? It boils down to two things.

One, we’re making major investments in the Premier Program for private practice because the majority of consumers prefer the experience they get in this setting. Two, we’re addressing a critical vision care client and member need for choice by adding retail options.

Let’s talk about the investments in private practice first. Doctors continue to tell us that they want the Premier Program to help them better compete and differentiate and we’re doing just that with new initiatives like a nationwide private practice advertising campaign, new tiers and benefits, and an all-new education and training offering, Academy360. All of this, and more, is coming your way in the next few months.

But what about Visionworks and the need for retail? Simply put, while three out of four consumers prefer private practice, there’s a segment of consumers, roughly 20%, that prefer retail options. Offering a consistent, substantial, and sustainable retail choice is critical in VSP winning vision care contracts that drive patients to our practices.

Ask yourself: Would you prefer to have access to 75% of 100 million members who prefer private practice because VSP has a retail offering or 75% of a much smaller member base because they didn’t?

That’s why Visionworks and Eyeconic stores now have the Premier Program banner, addressing the gap for consumers that prefer a retail setting.

The reality is that the Premier Program has delivered for private practice and it’s going to deliver even more in the future. Consider that:

  • The program brought $9.2 billion in revenue and 32 million patients in the first five years.
  • Premier Program practices average 47% more new VSP patients compared to 32% more than those who are not.
  • In 2018, 1.4 million members received direct marketing encouraging them to visit a Premier Program location, driving down out-of-network utilization by over 2%.
  • As of January 1, 2020, private-equity backed provider groups1 will no longer be able to advertise with the Premier Program banner.

As I’ve stated before, this strategy is about growth, not replacing independents. We’ve been clear from the start that our focus is to win more patients for Premier Program locations and VSP Global will continue to invest in opportunities to do just that.  

To learn more about VSP Retail and the acquisition of Visionworks, please visit JustTheFactsVSP.com. To learn more about the Premier Program, please visit PathToPremier.com.

1 Private-equity backed provider groups refer to investment groups that buy and take controlling interests of the assets of eye care practices.

 

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