Recap of Jim McGrann’s Power Hour Radio Interview

By Patrick Ibarra February 22, 2016

VSP Global President and CEO Jim McGrann appeared on Dr. Gary Gerber’s Power Hour radio show for the fourth time on Wednesday, Feb. 17 to answer questions posed by Dr. Gerber as well as multiple callers from across the country, covering a wide range of topics.

For those unable to listen live, the following provides a thematic overview of the questions and answers, along with a link to the full interview.

VSP’s Members-first Philosophy

Dr. Gary Gerber: How would you respond to Dr. Jones, who says, “Why are you focused on members first? You should be focused on me; I’m one of your providers?”

Jim McGrann: Our members equate to patients, so we need to continue to grow our membership base so that we can continue to drive patients into the professional optometry channel. That’s why we focus on the members. Because if we focus on the members first and have the proper offerings around eye care and eyewear that they want to leverage and use, then they are going to be showing up in doctors’ offices. Eighty-five percent of our members today go in and visit a private practice doctor. That’s why it’s critical to focus on the members and to grow that number.

VSP’s Partnership with CVS

Gerber: What is the relationship (with CVS)?

McGrann: We were not going to stop CVS from getting into the optical business, so we believe that working with them, we could figure out ways to bring our doctors and CVS closer together. Our working with CVS is not about competing with you. I believe the best option is having that seat at the table working closely with the doctors in those neighborhoods to figure out, is this a way for them to expand their practices? (For instance,) when a patient presents with a medical condition that needs further treatment, referring out of the CVS (and) into a local VSP doctor, that’s the model and what we wanted to influence in being a part of that pilot.

The Premier Program

Gerber: Anything new with the Premier Program?

McGrann: A couple of things that I want to make clear: It’s a 100 percent voluntary program (with no cost to participate, and) it is not an exclusive program. So doctors can be members of buying groups, doctors can be Vision Source doctors, and still participate in the program. As far as the data, on average, practices that are part of the Premier Program have seen 26 percent more new VSP patients and when you translate that into dollars, that’s about $256,000 over the course of the year per practice. It really is about more patients, more value and more support in any way that we can.

Buying into Eyeconic

Gerber: Why does Eyeconic exist? Why does it have to exist?

McGrann: The world is moving from a business-to-consumer model to a business-to-individual model. Our view is that for our members we need to make sure that we’re able to meet all of the requirements that the individuals may have related to their desire to have their eye care and eyewear delivered. We set it up so you stay in the loop and continue to be part of the process. We have to figure out how to maintain those relationships between the doctor and the patient, and provide the opportunities for individuals to shop the way they want to shop. We need to build solutions that keep the doctor tied to the patient; that’s why we got into the Eyeconic business.

Partnership with the Sacramento Kings

Listener: Explain the relationship between VSP and the (Sacramento) Kings. 

McGrann: Sacramento is a very important city to us, because of it being our headquarters, so we have always partnered with the Kings. What we just recently signed with them was a legacy partnership deal. The other thing that came out in the news with that partnership was we’re taking some space (in the Downtown Commons near the new arena in downtown Sacramento) there as a retail incubator. Our innovation space, The Shop, is based a couple of blocks away from the arena. What we want to use the incubator for is testing new technologies, (to) use local VSP doctors to work and test solutions that we can deliver in the marketplace. It’s an extension of our innovation lab focused on the customer experience.

On the Future

Gerber: Five years from now when you come onto the show, what are you going to be talking about?

McGrann: When we look out five years, we have to remain focused on this concept of B2I, Business to Individual. We have to make sure we have the appropriate channels in place to deliver eye care and eyewear to our members, (that) those channels are staffed by professional optometry in a way that is a win-win-win for the doctor, the patient/member, and for VSP, so that we can continue to grow and thrive. I feel very strongly that ourselves, and (with) other key players in the industry working closely with the AOA and the profession of optometry, that we can be prepared for a really great future.

To listen to the full interview, including Jim McGrann responding to doctor call-in questions, click here.

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