VSP survey and potential findings shows bias against pro-optometry legislation

A misleadingly worded VSP survey attempts to elicit responses in an effort to cast doubt on crucial AOA-backed legislation curtailing anti-patient and anti-doctor vision plan abuses.

Circulated among network providers at the beginning of August, the "VSP Survey to Member ODs" purports to solicit doctors' feedback on "important industry issues"-namely H.R. 3323, the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act (DOC Access Act)-to help guide VSP direction. However, AOA cautions that many of the questions are inappropriately biased, leading to a predisposed, VSP-desired outcome.

Additionally, VSP attempts to position itself as a voice of the profession, in one question, pointedly asking doctors to decide whether "VSP represents the interest of private practitioners and is a strong advocate of their needs," or "no longer puts ODs first."

"Opinion surveys, such as this one, tend to simplify choices in a way that could be misleading, and many of the questions are leading," said AOA Chief of Surveys and Data Analytics, Jennifer Spangler, M.B.A., M.P.H. "Results of such an inappropriately conducted survey would be prejudiced."

AOA warns that these slanted and flawed figures may be used to support VSP efforts to defeat H.R. 3323, AOA-backed legislation designed to address vision plan abuses. Already, VSP-through its lobbying arm and leading participation with the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP)-actively and aggressively opposes H.R. 3323.

In June, AOA sought VSP's comment on its stance toward H.R. 3323. VSP did not take a direct position, and when asked about NAVCP's opposition to the bill, a VSP spokesperson had no additional comment.

Despite the fact that NAVCP hired a high-profile, Washington, D.C., lobbyist to fight H.R. 3323, AOA doctors and students continue working hard to build support for the legislation, amassing 58 bi-partisan co-sponsors. The joint AOA/American Dental Association-backed effort would outlaw detrimental policies by ERISA and other federally regulated vision and health plans, including:

•·         Restrictions on medical plan participation

•·         Limits on a doctor's choice of lab

•·         Mandates on non-covered services and materials

Doctors are encouraged to continue building support for H.R. 3323 by visiting AOA's Online Legislative Action Center and sending an electronic letter to their legislators, urging their co-sponsorship.

Click here to read more about a new Avalon Health Economics study that details the fallout of vision plans' monopolistic behavior.