The Vision Care Channel

A building block for a healthy, growing, full-scope practice.

By Matt Alpert, OD

I am a third-generation optometrist in a practice with an 80-year history in Southern California. The practice has two locations, and we continue to experience significant growth and opportunity at each. A large portion of this growth stems from the patient flow that is generated by managed vision care. Vision plans have been and continue to be the most significant access channel to my practice.


Patient flow is critical to eye care practices. Complementary medical and vision access channels offer the opportunity to see a large number of patients for routine vision care and grow the practice.

I am an advocate for preserving and enhancing the vision care channel for many reasons, but, most significantly, because it is the gateway not only to vision care but also medical care. Many of our patients begin as vision care patients and soon transition to medical care as a natural extension. The key is for patients to find us and then for us to win their confidence for additional services.

Patient flow is critical to any practice. Sufficient patient volume allows our practice to add associate practitioners, to purchase new equipment, and to elevate the patient experience. In my office, most of the patient flow is generated through vision plan access.

Complementary access channels are the best of both worlds. Why would I limit opportunities to provide patient care? The managed vision care channel provides an
opportunity for the practice to see a large number of patients for routine vision care and to provide materials; the medical channel allows my practice to grow by
providing medical eye care services. Both are important access points for my patients and both provide significant profitability for the practice.

There is no question that patients with managed vision care are seen more frequently and stay loyal to the
dispensary at a much higher level than patients without these plans. Arguments against managed vision care tend to describe the unfavorable exception rather than the very favorable norm. In my experience, 98% of managed care patients are clearly a positive, and it is important to let that reality determine business decisions.

My advice is to embrace the managed vision care
channel and make the most of the opportunities that this flow of patients provides. It can serve as an important building block in any healthy, growing, full-scope practice. n

Matt Alpert, OD
• optometrist, Alpert Vision Care, Woodland Hills, Calif.; chairman, optometric innovation at VSP Global; member of the board of directors, VSP Global
• financial disclosure: board member, VSP Global