RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., and DALLAS—With a focus on supporting independent optometry, VSP Global and Essilor announced they have reached an agreement "that further promotes choice for doctors and patients while bolstering a competitive marketplace for their collective stakeholders now and in the future." With this agreement in place, VSP Global will not proceed with changes to its formulary planned for Jan. 1, 2021. After extensive efforts from both companies in what has been a difficult year, the two organizations arrived at a solution that will allow each to further reinvest in programs and services that benefit doctors, patients, and ultimately the industry, the announcement said.

“By coming together in good faith and seeking common ground, we’re pleased that our organizations have established a positive path forward that benefits our shared stakeholders and the industry we both serve,” said Michelle Skinner, VSP Global chief network officer.

“Because of this agreement, doctors can focus on what is most important to them: patient care. We are all committed to investing in private practice and the choice for doctors to prescribe the lens brands they choose,” said Rick Gadd, president, Essilor North America.

In June, VSP Global originally had communicated to VSP network doctors that its formulary, administered by Plexus, would be updated in the fall to include preferred and non-preferred categories for anti-reflective (AR) coating, progressive, and digital single vision (includes anti-fatigue) lens products, impacting certain reimbursements. In August, as VMAIL reported, VSP said the policy would be postponed until January 2021.

With today's news announcement saying the formulary changes will not proceed in 2021, in response to a question from VMAIL about the photochromics category, a VSP spokesperson said, "In support of greater product choice, all photochromic lenses, from all suppliers, will be included in Category B. While it may take some time for this change to appear across all systems, including practice management systems, all claims will be paid at the Category B reimbursement amounts, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

VSP network doctors who have questions should contact their VSP representative, the spokesperson said. An Essilor spokesperson said that any ECPs with questions could also contact their Essilor account executives.