RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—The VSP Vision Premier Program held its seventh annual SHiFT meeting from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz., drawing more than 800 attendees from across the country. The exclusive event offered eligible doctors participating in the Premier Program a chance to learn about new investments in promotions and practice-enhancing program updates, attend complimentary continuing education from Premier Academy360, enjoy peer-to-peer networking and hear from well-known keynote speakers such as financial news reporter and analyst Ron Insana, Netflix co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph, and Cassandra Worthy, Change Enthusiasm Global.

New data was shared at the meeting, underscoring the value of the Premier Program and its unique offerings designed to help private practices compete and thrive. Among these are that practices with the Premier Program banner on VSP’s Find a Doctor search receive 58 percent more clicks on average than those without. There have been 60 million patient visits to Premier Program locations since its inception, 17 million of which are new patients and  $18 billion in revenue has been paid to Premier Program practices since the program's inception, VSP executives said. 
“Private practice is critical to the future of optometry, the future of VSP, and the future of patient care,” said VSP Vision president and CEO Michael Guyette. “Three out of four VSP members choose private practice for their eyecare needs, and so we will continue to invest in the Premier Program and deliver unmatched value to the core of our network by providing more patients, profits and support to the independent doctors who provide excellent care to those members every year.”
Guyette also broke the news at SHiFT's opening session on Sept. 30 that VSP Vision was acquiring Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA), adding more programs and value for independents. PECAA will continue to operate independently as a division and be led by doctors, he said. VMAIL reported the news from the meeting. 
A VSP spokesperson told VMAIL that currently, there are 7,300 Premier Program locations (practices) across the country. Criteria for the SHiFT meeting attendance is evaluated each year to invite VSP Vision Premier Program Platinum practices that meet specific benchmarks of frame capture rate, selection rate, and geographic distribution among other attributes.
At the meeting, in addition to breakout sessions and an opportunity to meet with VSP Premier Partner vendors, attendees learned about ways that VSP supports practice profitability, with the ongoing Premier Pays More promotion. It allows Premier Program practices to receive up to $68 per pair on qualifying frames and lens products. Kicked off in August, "Premier Pays More" will run through Dec. 31, 2022, concurrently with the VSP PerfectPair member rebate, redeemable exclusively at Premier Program locations.
PremierAcademy360, which provides doctors and their staff comprehensive business-building training and education, has awarded more than 20,000 continuing education credits. To help ease challenges practices face with onboarding new employees, Staff360 Employee Onboarding and Development was launched last month. In the coming months, the program will also introduce a comprehensive step-by-step Certified Paraoptometric Exam Prep guide available at no-cost for practice staff pursuing CPO certification.
In response to doctor feedback for more peer-to-peer networking, the Premier Program also organized networking dinners for doctors this year. More than 50 events have taken place across the country.

Michael Guyette (l), VSP Vision president and CEO with Justin Manning, OD, MPH, FAAO, PECAA chief member experience officer.

Mary Anne Murphy, OD, VSP Vision board chair.

For the first time, optometry students took part in the SHIFT meeting. Here, VSP's Guyette is with students from Kentucky College of Optometry, Arizona College of Optometry, Michigan College of Optometry, UC Berkeley and Southern California College of Optometry. Some of these students joined the “Emerging OD” insights panel.

Wendy Hauteman, VSP Vision chief marketing officer.

Michelle Skinner, VSP Vision chief growth officer, alongside SHiFT Emcee Doug Lipp.

(L to R) The Evolving Consumer Panel included Ron Insana, CNBC senior analyst and panel moderator; Randall Baldwin, VP industry marketing, CareCredit; Jens Boy, president North America, Zeiss; Eduardo Martins, president North America, Hoya; Harry Rhodes, VP of sales North America, Maui Jim; and Scott Sennett, president and CEO of Tura Eyewear.

Jarrett Johnson (l), OD, MPH, VSP Vision board of directors and Kasey Ann, COA and practice manager of Primary Eye Care of New Orleans.

Marc Randolph, Netflix co-founder alongside SHiFT Emcee Doug Lipp.