Western Dental’s Parent Firm Acquires EyeMax Vision in a Move to Expand in California

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ORANGE, Calif.—Premier Dental Holdings Inc., parent of Western Dental Services, said it has completed the purchase of EyeMax Vision Plan, a Knox-Keene licensed specialized health care service plan for vision. The transaction closed Dec. 31, according to an announcement earlier this week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. EyeMax Vision is “a brand new plan and network, recently gaining its approvals,” a spokesman told VMAIL. D.K. Kim, a longtime optical industry executive, founded EyeMax Vision, according to the vision plan’s website.

Kim has “a track record of success in the optical industry” and, during his career, developed one of the largest optical lab systems in the nation, according to the website. Kim also pioneered combining lens manufacturing and frame distribution under one roof to provide same-day service for complete eyewear.

EyeMax, which recently completed a build-out of its network and obtained regulatory approvals, has a California statewide license to operate “an attractive contracted network of more than 1,200 individual and group vision care providers, 90 percent of whom are located in close proximity to Western Dental offices,” the announcement stated. The EyeMax network also includes multiple vision laboratories.

“Our strategy is to offer vision as a value-added product with our group and individual dental plans,” Western Dental chairman and chief executive officer Daniel D. Crowley said in the announcement. “Vision plans can be offered on a standalone basis or with our individual dental plans to patients at the time of service in our offices. Individual vision plans will also be available online, and group vision coverage will be offered to organizations alongside our dental plans.”

Crowley called the acquisition “a very complementary strategic addition to our firm that will provide patients with convenient vision benefit options while opening a highly synergistic new pathway for our firm to grow.”

Previously, EyeMax’s Kim founded and managed the Knox-Keene licensed Allstate Vision Plan, which was acquired by Foundation Health, which subsequently merged into Health Net, according to the EyeMax website. (The Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 is a set of laws or statutes passed by the California state legislature to regulate health care service plans, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs) within the state, according to California’s Department of Managed Health Care website.)

Western Dental (with its affiliates Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Access Dental, Blue Hills Dental, South Texas Dental and Vital Smiles) is one of the largest dental providers in the nation, serving approximately 2.9 million patient visits annually in 312 affiliated offices throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama.