Dr. Craig Hyre and the Family Eye Care Center will no longer be a participating provider of Vision Service Plan (VSP) effective May 1, 2014. VSP has recently made some business changes that are not in the best interest of our patients. Whereas we have participated with VSP since its beginning in the early 80’s (in fact VSP was created by Optometry) when VSP was created by Optometry for the purpose of providing patients an affordable access to their Optometrist of choice. At the time, medical insurance excluded vision and medical eye care. Until 2014 both Optometrists and our patients have enjoyed a positive relationship with VSP.
1) VSP has had their own “house brand” of frames and recently purchased an additional frame company. Patients were forced to pay as much as 25% more out of pocket for their frame co-pay IF they wanted a frame of their choice instead of selecting a their “house frame”. This caused us to both defend their action and create more work in repairing a frame we did not value. We chose NOT to stock either of these frames.
2) VSP encouraged practices to stock their “house frames”. A practice would be listed as a “preferred provider” IF they purchased $25,000.00 worth of their frames. In other words, they were attempting to equate the quality of our professional skills with the volume of purchases we made. We felt this was unethical.
3) In addition to “house frames” they were requiring greatly increased co-pays for certain lens types (such as anti-reflective lenses (AR)) instead of using the products which we feel are of higher quality such as Crizal and Teflon. Whereas they were not doing this yet, if they continue down this path it would not surprise us if they offer financial penalties for more and more options in our practice.
4) They have aligned themselves with large commercial stores. Whereas we feel this is fair we have a problem with allowing these stores an unfair advantage. For example, they are allowed to use their in house lab and we are required to use an outside VSP lab. In addition, we have noticed over the past six months that the turnaround time with these labs is nearly double that of our private lab. It is unconfirmed that they are having excessively defective work that they are sending some of their orders to private labs.
5) It has been reported by Optometric sources that VSP is creating “brick and mortar” stores on the west coast where VSP patients are required to seek exams and materials. This, functionally, separates patients from their Optometrist of choice. We felt if we continued to participate with VSP we were helping them get to the place where these will be available in urban areas across the country. That would mean you would eventually not be allowed to have Dr. Craig Hyre and the Family Eye Care Center provide your professional care.
Your Options if you continue VSP Insurance
If you have a medical condition such as (but not limited to) diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, hypertension, dry eye or eye allergies you can still have your medical eye care provided by Dr. Craig Hyre as it can be billed to your primary medical insurance. You will have a co-pay which is typically similar to VSP’s co pay.
If you purchase your eyewear through us you will receive a cash discount and we will complete your VSP form and they will reimburse you. Otherwise your glasses can be purchased through another VSP provider. Please call our office at 304.636.9111 for details.
If you do not have a medical condition We will complete your VSP forms for your exam and/or eyewear so VSP can reimburse you. Again, we provide cash discounts and when combined with VSP reimbursements you still have the option of receiving the high quality care and products which you have come to expect from Dr. Craig Hyre and Family Eye Care Center.
Should I quit VSP?
In no way are we suggesting you quit VSP. This must be a personal, private individual/family decision. We suggest you look at the expenses in paying for VSP and compare them to the benefits you receive. As an example, most people have payments at least monthly but only get materials every other year. In these cases they learn they are paying significantly more than the benefit they receive.
Why Continue to Select Dr. Craig Hyre
Dr. Craig Hyre is one of only five board certified Optometric Physicians in West Virginia. This voluntary certification requires 150 hours of CE (continuing education) every three years as compared to 43 hours every other year as required by the WV Board of Optometry. He was inducted into the American Academy of Optometry in his second year (his first year of eligibility) of private practice. He has been named as the West Virginia Optometrist of the Year. He is solicited by business, industry and numerous Boards of Education to provide CE for teachers and nurses.