VSP has a very large number of individuals enrolled in their vision care plans, and has many eye care providers on their panel. Until the last year or so, VSP concentrated its efforts on the business of delivering eye care to its enrollees. Just a little over a year ago, VSP purchased a major frame manufacturer, Marchon. Putting VSP not only in the vision care business, but also in the eyeglass frame business.
As of late, VSP is having trouble keeping the two separate. A very successful frame manufacturer/distributor, Aspex, has had some issues with VSP, which are not related to product quality or support as far as I can tell. For reasons that have not been spelled out by VSP to providers or enrollees, as of June 1st, 2010, patients will not be able to use their benefits for Aspex frames. Even though we have been providing these high quality frames to our patients for quite some time, we are now in a difficult position. Stop selling Aspex frames (its not really advantageous for us to use a frame line that we can’t supply to our VSP patients given the cost of keeping the inventory available and supporting the product), tell our VSP patients “too bad, you will have to choose something else, even if you just want to reorder your frame” or some other option which we are trying to come up with.
You can rest assured that we are taking the side of our patients, not VSP on this matter. I hope that we don’t end up dropping Aspex frames over this, but it may come down to that. All because VSP wants to control a competitor’s access to patients and business. It would be in everyone’s interest if VSP would remain a vision care benefits company and not try to advance their frame business at the expense of their patients and providers.
A resounding Boooo to VSP from our office.