Coronavirus BRIEFING

COVID-19 Crisis Response Tactics: Allergan, Blue Sky Vision, The McGee Group, Shamir, WestGroupe USA

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VM brings you the latest information from optical companies and organizations responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Allergan announced several new program enhancements designed to assist ECPs and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Lowering copay savings card offerings for Restasis, Restasis Multidose, Lumigan, Combigan, and Alphagan P
• Beginning April 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020, eligible commercially insured patients will pay as little as $0 using the My Tears, My Rewards, or At Your Service programs. Patients can enroll at restasis.com or savewithays.com.
• Extending additional payment terms for product purchased directly from Allergan, specifically OZURDEX and XEN, on or before March 23

Additionally, the Refresh brand has donated $250,000 to DirectRelief to support their ongoing COVID-19 emergency relief efforts, as part of the Refresh America program. Allergan is increasing the coupon value on all Refresh products from $4 to $10. Patients can visit RefreshRewards.com for their coupon.

Blue Sky Vision, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based practice management and services partnership among doctors and the investor group Sterling Partners, has established a COVID-19 response team to monitor the coronavirus. Following recommendations by the AAO, AOA, CDC, CMS, as well as local, state, and federal governments, Blue Sky said it acted swiftly to provide support to its partners in their continued efforts to see only medically necessary and emergent patients while providing a safe clinic environment.

To protect patients, families and team members for all partners, Blue Sky Vision also has set up its call center team to work remotely and maintain personal communication for patients; implemented telehealth for eyecare patients; created protocols, tools and resources for all partners and referral sources; and utilized systems to continue providing consistent updates to patients and team members through previously integrated social media and BSV platforms.

“Our focus is on safety and sustainability,” president and chief financial officer Dan Shoemaker said. “We are here to support and protect each other and are determined to get through this and be stronger on the other end.”

The McGee Group, located in Marietta, Ga., has implemented a wide range of safety precautions including remote working, social distancing, additional office and warehouse cleanings, sanitization of products and wearing of masks and gloves. The company reported that it is still safely shipping orders daily and its customer service team is available online, via email at customerservice@mcgeegroup.com and via phone at (866) 487-1036.
In a statement, company management said, "The McGee Group is regularly assessing the situation and instituting additional measures as this situation evolves. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with each of you."

Shamir has developed a dedicated response team designed to field customer questions, concerns, and orders. “We developed Siiresponseteam@shamirlens.com along with our customer service line at (877) 514-8330 and Technical Support line at (888) 370-0736 and e-mail (Technical@shamirlens.com) to offer more immediate attention to our customers,” Phil Pasit, director of marketing, told VMAIL. Pasit said Shamir’s core business continuity group, which consists of the departments needed to keep its business processes flowing, is maintaining a consistent workflow for customer orders. He added that access to Shamir designs through its Prescriptor software remains fully operational, and that Shamir’s blanks inventory is available and stocked for normal sales volumes to labs.

Looking ahead, Pasit said Shamir continues to focus on its R&D pipeline in Israel to ensure product innovation ideas come to fruition that help its lab partners and ECP customers rebuild their businesses. Pasit noted that Shamir is now using the phrase, “Committed to Caring, Together as One,” in many of its marketing channels to promote unity during the COVID-19 crisis and acknowledge Shamir’s commitment of caring for people.

WestGroupe USA's distribution center, located in Plattsburgh, New York, is permitted to remain open with a skeleton staff after New York State deemed optometry “an essential service,” the company said. The staff will process and ship all orders received during the COVID-19 shutdown, although there may be some delays in processing orders due to below normal staffing levels. WestGroupe said it is adhering to proper sanitary and safety precautions outlined by federal and state governments to protect staff and customers. WestGroupe USA's customer service department continues to work remotely, and customers can submit orders via telephone, web or through sales representatives.

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