Versant Health Announces New Eyewear Dispensing Program as Part of Agreement With Essilor of America

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BALTIMORE—Versant Health, a leading managed vision care company, reported this week that it has entered into an agreement with Essilor Labs to fulfill lab orders using Essilor’s nation-wide laboratory network. Once implemented, eyecare professionals will be in position to dispense commercial orders from a catalogue featuring lens products from Essilor, Shamir and Kodak, according to the announcement. Implementation of the new program will occur over the next 12 months, according to this week’s announcement of the agreement. “We are starting with a pilot in July and then using a phased approach to rollout the eyewear dispensing program,” a spokeswoman told VMAIL.

“Until the ECPs’ rollout takes place, nothing will change for him or her.” In addition, during the pilot phase, Versant Health said it may identify adjustments to the program.

Versant Health will continue to operate its existing manufacturing and lab facility in Newtown Square, Pa., the company told VMAIL. Once the new dispensing program is fully rolled out, however, the only ECPs who will place orders through the Newtown Square facility will be those who are dispensing for their Medicaid patients, the company said.

“We anticipate that the new eyewear dispensing program will ease administration for eyecare professionals in the Superior Vision and Davis Vision networks through an integrated lab ordering process using a brand-new online portal,” Versant Health noted. “We also anticipate great turnaround time for eyewear orders because, once fully implemented, there will be a network of dozens of labs across the country. ECPs will be able to dispense a larger variety of lenses, including the most utilized and requested digital progressives, anti-reflective coatings, and blue light protection.”

Currently, ECPs in the Davis Vision networks dispense from the Versant Health manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, and they have access to Shamir and Kodak products, Versant Health said. “Under the new program, Davis Vision ECPs will have access to vastly expanded product selection through the Essilor lab network,” according to the spokeswoman.

Until they are phased into the new Essilor program, ECPs in the Superior Vision networks will continue to order their eyewear from labs of their choice, which, according to the company’s research, often includes Essilor labs and labs that offer Shamir and Kodak brands. “Without a doubt, the new agreement offers much more to our Davis Vision members, while the group pricing we have negotiated will benefit ECPs in the Superior Vision network,” according to the spokeswoman. “And, again, our new portal will allow for administrative simplification for the ECPs.”

Versant Health chief executive officer Kirk Rothrock said the new dispensing agreement "is part of a larger initiative to make Versant Health the most trusted managed vision plan in the market." He added, “The program gives members access to high quality eyewear using advanced technology and broad choice in lens functionality.”

Essilor of America president Rick Gadd said Essilor is "excited that Versant Health is expanding choice and access [for] eyecare professionals." He added, “The selection of Essilor Labs in this expansion means that patients will have greater access to the best visual solutions possible, which supports our mission of improving lives by improving sight.”

Versant Health, which serves more than 33 million members nationwide, was formed in mid-2017 through the combination of Davis Vision and Superior Vision, as VMAIL reported, and announced its new corporate name in May 2018.