Davis Vision: Steve Holden, President

by HCE Exchange on September 6, 2011

In a tumultuous health care market, Davis Vision has been an understated leader in its own niche – managed vision care. Until recently, the company has stayed relatively under the radar, operating mostly in Pennsylvania, New York and other northeastern states. But that is soon to change with the company’s expanding sales force and managed-care options.

Davis Vision is no small company. With 55 million members and a national provider network that has more than 32,000 points of access, Davis Vision has established itself as a leader in managed vision care. Davis Vision is owned by HVHC Inc., which provides access to laboratories, retail vision stores, and a frame-design company.

“We have three main clients–the member who comes in to a store or office, providers, and benefit-plan managers,” said Steve Holden, president of Davis Vision. “We have a niche and are able to give value to each client.”

Meeting the needs of clients

Davis Vision is skilled at meeting the unique needs of each set of clients. For members, Davis Vision is committed to providing the most value – lowest out-of-pocket cost and broadest array of covered-in-full frames. By having access to frames at wholesale prices through its frame-design company, Davis Vision places a large frame selection – Davis Vision’s Exclusive Collection — in independent stores. Rather than having a handful of frames covered in full, Davis Vision members have more than 220 to choose from. And of course, members may upgrade to higher-cost options or use a generous allowance toward any frame at the provider’s office.

“We are unique in the industry for having placed a frame selection in independent offices,” Holden said. “We think our customers are finding this to be of value. On average, 80 percent of our members go home with frames that are covered in full through their plan.”

Davis Vision provides members access to independent-provider locations, as well as their retail locations, Eye Care Centers of America. The company also offers competitive pricing to appeal to benefit managers.

Even with a 97 percent contract-renewal rate, Davis Vision continuously improves benefits to clients. The most recent investment the company has made is in its laboratories, focusing especially on its anti-reflective coating equipment. Holden said he anticipates this to be a high growth area in the near future.

With the success the company has had in the northeast, Davis Vision has also invested in a larger sales force to promote its vision-care benefits to a larger geographic area. The sales force also regularly obtains feedback from clients, which Davis Vision uses to proactively develop next-generation vision products.

Future growth and challenges

“Vision care is a relatively inexpensive, high-value option, but in this economy, our clients are challenging what they spend money on,” Holden said. “We haven’t seen a lot of people leaving yet, but there is some pressure for companies to offer voluntary plans where members pay the full cost. There may be less of a group signing up if that happens.”

Despite uncertainty, Davis Vision maintains the highest quality care and best service to its member base. It is the only managed-care organization whose lab network and customer-service center are certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards. The lab is also COLTS-certified for Prescription Accuracy and FDA Conformance. Davis Vision ensures the quality of its provider network by operating an in-house NCQA certified-provider credentialing process. These types of distinctions are unique in the industry, and Davis Vision has been fairly modest about these achievements, but that’s looking to change.

“Davis Vision is one of the largest vision benefits companies in the industry,” said Tom Davis, chief marketing officer. “We’ve not celebrated our growth publicly, but we are going to become a national player. We offer the best value in the managed vision care industry in terms of benefits and out-of-pocket expense.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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