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Building Patient Loyalty During Trying Times
With many experiencing job loss or decreased benefits as a result of COVID, it has been especially critical for our practice to find ways to continue to provide care to these patients. We want them to be able to maintain their exams and continue to obtain high-quality products, and we want to keep them in our practice. VSP Individual Vision Plans provide a way for us to care for these patients and any others who do not have vision benefits or who have lost them for whatever reason.
As a practice that participates in the VSP Global Premier Program, we already benefit from VSP’s marketing reinforcing that members can maximize their benefits in Premier Program locations. The VSP Individual Vision Plans Doctor Program allows us to reach additional people who wouldn’t otherwise come to our practice, like those who have lost their job or coverage. The Individual Plan allows them to get a benefit they are familiar with, and in many cases, a richer benefit than they had before, so they can maintain their regularly scheduled care.
Another group that has benefited from individual plans during the pandemic are Medicaid/Medi-Cal members having a difficult time finding clinics or doctors to see them. We had a large uptick of Medi-Cal patients voluntarily signing up for the individual plan in addition to their Medi-Cal coverage, just so they could be seen and get richer benefits and a wide range of materials when they needed them.
A third group of individuals impacted by the pandemic are patients whose health plans shut down their vision care clinics and stopped providing eye exams. Many of these patients signed up for the individual plan to help them with the costs of being seen outside of their normal system.
We've definitely seen an increase in patient retention and loyalty by telling patients about the individual plan during the pandemic. And, we find that once they have the plan, patients are more likely to accept the lens options and upgrades that I recommend or consider purchasing a second pair of frames. Most importantly, they see that we are going above and beyond to help them get what they need to see better, and they become strong referral sources for the practice.
I strongly recommend VSP Individual Vision Plans to doctors and patients alike. Compared to private pay patients, a patient with an individual plan will have a higher frequency of visits; they’re more likely to stay in the office for their purchases during those visits and to accept the enhancements and upgrades I recommend; they’re more likely to bring in family members who never intended to come in for an exam; and, they’re more inclined to upgrade glasses they already have. Most importantly, even during trying times patients and their families can receive the vision care and materials they need to see, which is a key part of overall health and wellness. As I see it, that’s a win for everyone.
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Dr. Winnick is the owner of Family Vision Care Optometry and a VSP Ambassador.
Note: As a member of the VSP Individual Vision Plans Doctor Program, when your patient clicks on the Individual Plan website banner ad and lands on the application page of MyVSPPlan.com, purchase of a VSP Individual Vision Plan isn’t required to receive the advertising payment. You must be a member of the VSP Individual Vision Plans Doctor Program and have an active IP website banner in place to receive advertising credits.