United Eye Care Providers to Partner with Professional Eye Care Resource Co-Operative and iCare Health Solutions

CHICAGO—United Eye Care Providers (UECP) said it has agreed to enter into a partnership with Professional Eyecare Resource Co-operative (PERC) and iCare Health Solutions (iCare) in order to offer their members group purchasing power and the necessary infrastructure to attract additional payers.“Our goal was to create a working relationship with all the major carriers, build a stronger acceptance of optometrists in the medical community and expand that concept to all optometrists in Illinois,” UECP president Rick Peterson, OD said in a statement. “In order to reach that goal, our board recognized that we needed partners with and expertise in aggregating our purchasing power for sustainability and health care to meet the requirements of a very sophisticated and complicated health care delivery market.” Peterson told VMail that there is no financial relationship between UECP, PERC and iCare.

In 1997, UECP formed an Independent Physician Association (IPA) that directly contracted their panel doctors with Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO). Since then, they successfully opened the pathway for all optometrists to participate with Blue Cross Blue Shield in Chicago, Illinois six years ago, and over the last 18 years have worked to become participating providers with all major PPO groups, including a network contract with United Health Care nearly three years ago.

Commenting on the partnership, David Golden, OD, president of PERC, said, “Our doctor alliance group perfectly aligns both functionally and structurally with the independent eyecare providers (ECP) whose strategy is to form local networks or IPAs”. PERC works in the background to allow IPAs and other groups of independent doctors to keep their identity but need the administrative support, educational programs and the purchasing power of one of the largest doctor alliance group in the United States. Additionally, PERC will use its resources to help grow the UECP network throughout the state of Illinois.

Peterson said he partnered with iCare Health Solutions to deliver a fully-integrated eyecare solution through the UECP provider network.

“We are a doctor-owned, patient focused, and guided by a fundamental purpose to create a better health care delivery system where integration and collaboration drives better outcomes” said Tamara Bruns, vice president of strategic alliances for iCare Health Solutions.