Our responsibility to you
As independent eye care providers — that is, not affiliated with a chain or “big business” — we focus our business decisions on how we can best provide for our patients. Patients are our life-blood. We don’t have any other corporate interests or considerations to factor in.
We want to choose eyeglass lens labs based on accuracy, quality, and turn-around time, as well as affordability. We choose our frame vendors based on not only finding styles our patients will enjoy, but also on the quality of frames: will they withstand getting prescription lenses put in them (including heavy or difficult prescriptions), and will they hold up with regular wear and tear? We then stand behind our choices, and if one of our vendors doesn’t deliver, we take responsibility because we are responsible — we chose them.
Vision Plans are increasingly common
But with the increase in our patients arriving with Vision plans, especially in our market with large employers such as the school districts and Boeing, the playing field has changed.
Vision Plans, such as Davis Vision and VSP, usually require us to use specific labs and specific products before they will pay benefits. Their choice of labs and products are NOT based on the same criteria as Cascadia Eye, because their “customer” is not you, the patient – it is the employer, whose goal is to provide benefits to their employees at the lowest possible cost. And all plans are not created equal, and all labs are not the same.
But our patients, no matter which insurance plan they use, are equal – and equally deserving of good service and quality.
Herein lies our latest dilemma. Just last week as I was visiting the neighboring grocery store to invite them to our open house, the florist shared a story from a patient that was complaining about us. She was upset that she had paid for two pairs of glasses and they weren’t ready yet and it had been three weeks. The florist was so turned off by this report she wouldn’t accept our invite!
As it turns out, the patient who told the florist about her complaint had a vision plan that forced us to use their own lab – which is known to take a month for simple prescriptions (and usually they come in scratched, which means we have to return them for another month). Although we disclose to patients that we are using a different lab and it will take longer, and assure them that this is only because of their insurance, they still hold us responsible and are still unhappy with us.
The difficulty we face now
A few years ago, we had previously accepted this plan – but we dropped them that same year because of so many patients complaining to and about us (and, as previously mentioned, we had no control to correct the problem). The vision plan was literally ruining our business and reputation.
Fast forward a couple years, and this same plan came courting us again. They had just signed a contract with a very large employer group in our area and were having trouble getting doctors to sign up with them. We had several negotiation sessions with them, explaining our past problems and eliciting promises that all had been fixed or greatly improved.
We begrudgingly accepted, not for the sake of our business, but for the large group of patients that were requesting it.
But according to the florist, things are not better.
So this blog is a customer service announcement. If you have a vision plan and are having a hard time finding a provider who will accept it, your complaints belong with your employer who chose them. If you do find a provider who is willing to accept the plan and the order is slow or you are not happy with the quality — your complaints belong with the vision plan.
And, if the doctor’s office gives you the choice, like we do, of bypassing your plan, and opting for the quality of service and product you deserve (at a discount), you may want to strongly consider it. Only your doctor sees YOU as the customer to satisfy…your employer, and your insurance plan, do not.
Sheri Saldivar, Cascadia Eye Administrator
Contact Cascadia Eye
If you would like to learn more, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at Cascadia Eye, please contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have!
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