Is Managed Care Managing You?

OK, so it’s time. Let’s have a discussion about Managed Care. I’ve been on all of the forums and from what I can ascertain, most Opticians not only dislike Managed Care, they downright hate it. I’m seeing words like “charge back” and “lab delays” and “poor quality lab work” and they are usually paired with other colorful words of the four letter nature.

So, we have established that by and large our field isn’t overly happy with Managed Care, right? Sooo, here’s the biggie….. what can be done about it? Are we just complaining to complain? Because if we are, I can’t participate in these conversations anymore. I’m not wired that way. If I see a problem, I deeply want to make it go away. Call it a problem solving OCD if you will, but that’s just how I’ve been made. 

Now, I have to tell you that I’ve decided not to participate in any vision plans that require you to only sell certain products. That’s not what I believe in when it comes to Opticianry. I believe that as an Optician, my job is to help the patient choose the best product for them based on what their needs are, not based on what their plan pays for. I guess for me, it doesn’t make sense that the car insurance industry will sell you insurance, but wouldn’t dare tell you what kind of car you had to buy in order to utilize your coverage. I’m not sure how the vision industry came to this point regarding managed care, and how we allowed them to become so powerful. But here is the trick. It’s here, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. How are you and your practice going to deal with these issues?

The way I look at it, the managed care industry is going to continue to push the provider out of the picture until the provider pushes back. Case in point, VSP currently encourages the patient to buy their glasses online from their website directly. Seriously? Are we going to allow this?

Now, I love this forum because I’m not here to create a rant about the evils of managed care, but because I am seeking a solution to the problem at hand, I would ask for nothing more than for us to all take a look with open eyes at this issue and let’s have an informed discussion about it. Are you in?