As vice president of provider relations and medical director, John Lahr, OD, FAAO, is responsible for the interaction and relationship development with EyeMed‘s health partners in the areas of wellness and disease management support. Previously, he owned a healthcare consultation group to ophthalmic and optical corporations, managed care organizations and eyecare practices. Lahr received his doctor of optometry degree as well as a BS in optometric science from Indiana University.
Richard Clompus, OD: EyeMed has grown to have more than 65,000 eyecare professionals (ECPs) nationwide providing services to over 42 million subscribers. You’ve been with EyeMed for 16 years. Can you share some of the changes you’ve seen during this time?
John Lahr, OD, FAAO: Enrollment in vision plans is increasing. That’s good for ODs. A recent study proved patients with EyeMed benefits are more likely to get an annual eye exam, return for care sooner and regularly update their prescriptions.
The healthcare community has talked about integrating all sources of healthcare information for decades. We’ve developed a relationship with many health plans and are already testing promising technology. Our place at the table ensures eyecare information is understood and valued, placing the optometrist in a valued position.
Technologies like advanced eye exam and diagnostic instrumentation, multiple measurement digital lens instrumentation and advanced retinal imaging are now widely available. Benefits companies embracing smart technology can drive out inefficiencies and help grow network providers’ practices. We continually consider how eyecare innovations fit within EyeMed’s product offering.
RC: Wellness programs are becoming more important by diagnosing disease early before significant health issues develop. How does EyeMed support wellness programs for eyecare?
JL: We’re effectively targeting members with diabetes, hypertension and other conditions to reinforce how regular eye exams help them manage their overall health. EyeMed is redefining the vision member experience. With the industry’s first member app and our award-winning online health education web site. Our new digital “know before you go” tool helps members come to your office informed about their benefits.
RC: Optometrists have a wide variety of opinions about managed care and vision care programs for their practices. Almost every office would like to see streamlined procedures for determining patient benefits and to submitting claims. How can EyeMed help?
JL: We’re committed to making a complicated business easier for everyone”“providers and members. We work with individual providers and professional associations to constructively find common ground and solutions. We recently led the universal credentialing program development with the NAVCP to streamline the process.
We streamlined our fee schedules from hundreds to about 15, then made them easy to find on our provider portal. Next, we eliminated the need for authorizations””members can just confirm benefits on our simple online eligibility screen, then submit the claim. In 2017, we’re offering electronic payments for providers who are ready.
RC: How does EyeMed keep up with coverage of new lenses and materials so optometrists can prescribe the best optical technology for their patients?
JL: We have a phenomenal team of lens experts and an unmatched catalog that’s constantly updated for the industry’s largest choice of lens designs and options. We also offer a large lab network (150+) and the option for ECPs to use their own lab when they’ve made the investment.