AOA Resigns from NAVCP, Citing Managed Vision Group's Health-Care 'Lobbying Campaign'
|January 14, 2010 12:27 AM
ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association resigned its membership in the National Association of Vision Care Plans late last month, citing what AOA president Randy Brooks, OD, called the managed vision group's "lobbying campaign" to secure its members' place in health-care reform as the reason for the AOA's exit. The AOA had been an allied member of the NAVCP since 2008.
In a Dec. 23 letter to NAVCP president Liz DiGiandomenico of EyeMed Vision Care, Brooks characterized what he called the NAVCP's "agenda" as seeking to "give insurers the power to determine how ODs will practice and provide care for decades to come."
Added Brooks in the letter, "A more urgent concern is the assertion that your organization speaks not only for insurers, but for all optometrists and patients across America as well. This approach, coming at such an especially crucial moment for our profession, represents a profound disservice to optometry."
Brooks told VMail the AOA's resignation came because "the two groups' views diverged over health care reform." He added, "The AOA remains ready to work with any and all vision plans, and to have dialogue with individual plans. Our agenda is pro-patient and pro-access to health care."
While confirming the AOA's resignation from their organization, NAVCP executives declined to comment specifically on the move. In a statement to VMail, the NAVCP noted that its board of directors will meet Jan. 21 to 22, adding, "We will discuss the AOA letter and our legislative position relating to stand-alone vision plans at that meeting."
The NAVCP has sent several letters to legislators in the past year as the debate over health care has continued, stressing the importance of maintaining vision coverage in any proposed health-care reform plans.
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