It takes some dedication for a family to commit to bringing a child to vision therapy, says Gwen Gnadt, OD, FAAO, of Eye Vision Associates in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. They have to work regular sessions at a vision therapy practice into their already busy schedules, and, often, they need to have some follow-through at home. Dr. Gnadt does not want to add financial worries to what families may already consider obstacles. That’s one reason that this 60-yearold, six-doctor practice, which has a strong focus on vision therapy and developmental vision, gives patients the option of using the CareCredit credit card.
Medical insurance plans don’t cover vision therapy for children if it’s done for a learning-related disability. “It’s not considered medical,” says Dr. Gnadt, “even though children can benefit greatly. So the time and the monetary commitment required by parents is not unlike that of a child who needs braces,” she says.
Similar to the way that orthodontists offer patients payment or installment plans, the practice used to make similar arrangements with patients for vision therapy. But then more than a decade ago, the doctors realized that CareCredit credit cards took the issue of financing patient purchases away from the practice. It became much easier for the practice to have a third party determine qualifications and manage financing for patients who wished to make monthly payments. Plus the practice gets its money faster, which is a huge benefit, says Dr. Gnadt. “We realized we didn’t need to be the bank for our patients. It’s really a perfect complement to our practice.”
At Vision Expo East in March, Dr. Gnadt attended a luncheon co-sponsored by CareCredit, Solutionreach and VSP. She says she began to realize that the office isn’t using the financing option to its full potential. “Our primary purpose has been to use it as a way to help families pay for vision therapy, and on the side, we’ve had people use it for the purchases of eyeglasses,” she says. Now she’s rethinking that strategy and has begun talking with the staff about how to promote it more from the front desk onward to expand
patients’ purchasing power in the dispensary.
The practice does offer one incentive for patients to use their CareCredit cards for services, and that same incentive could be extended to product purchases as well. CareCredit financing allows patients to pay the principal for a short term with no interest if paid in full within the promotional period.