Alan Ulsifer, OD, founder/CEO,

CALGARY, ALBERTA, Canada—This week, FYidoctors, a private, optometry-owned eyecare provider based here with more than 400 optometrists at 212 locations throughout Canada, has formed a 50/50 joint venture partnership with VSP Vision Care Canada to provide an eyecare benefit plan in Canada.

VSP will market, sell and administer its vision care insurance platform to employers across Canada. Covered employees will then be able to access eyecare from FYidoctors’ network of optometrists as well as its Vision Source Canada franchise locations. (FYidoctors purchased Vision Source’s Canadian assets and operations in October, as reported by VMail Sept. 9, 2013.)

“FYidoctors and Vision Source doctors will be invited to be on the panel, and other doctors may be eligible for the panel as well, based on pre-established criteria,” Alan Ulsifer, OD, founder and CEO of FYidoctors told VMail. “Optometrists outside of FYidoctors and Vision Source will be able to join the panel if they meet specific criteria that ensures members receive the highest quality of care and patient experience.”

Currently, approximately 270 optometrists service 108 FYidoctors locations, and about 160 ODs serve 104 Vision Source Canada franchise locations, according to Ulsifer. FYidoctors also operates its own free-form lab and distribution facility in Burnaby, British Columbia.

“The landscape of Canadian health care, and optometry more specifically, is changing rapidly, and we must remain relevant to our patients,” said Alan Ulsifer, OD, founder and CEO of FYidoctors. He cited the changes occurring in Canadian health care as the impetus for this partnership: “A more competitive and saturated market is making it more necessary to develop a value proposition, market and ultimately grow market share.”

About the new joint venture partnership, VSP Global’s corporate communications director, Pat McNeil, told VMail, “At this point, our focus is on bringing together both of our experiences and expertise to connect Canadian patients to a network of independent eye doctors. It’s still in the early days of the partnership. In the next 18-24 months, these vision care benefits are expected to cover over 100,000 patients.” VSP currently has approximately 2,000 covered lives in Canada, according to McNeil.

Ulsifer added, “FYidoctors did a great deal of due diligence on many potential partners, and we found that VSP’s platform, combined with this unique partnership, offered the best fit for us to be able to enter into the world of vision care plans while maintaining control over decisions related to optometry, fees and standards of care.”

“This joint venture with VSP will allow us to create a value proposition that will encourage patient access to our clinics across the country,” Ulsifer concluded. “This venture provides our optometrists with the ability to have more control over their own destiny, despite current and future competition, and ultimately helps to preserve standards of eyecare in Canada.”