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I’m Going to Bentonville!

on February 27th, 2010 | Filed under Optoblog


Nice logo, Walmart!

I got a very special e-mail today (see below for full text). After a huge campaign which cost taxpayers…well, nothing, I’m one of the few optometrists who have been selected to attend the Walmart annual Health and Wellness Conference for 2010.

I intend to blog about my experience daily. As one of the few selected, I imagine there will be an occasion for me to express concerns and ask questions. If you have any comments or questions you would like me to consider voicing in Bentonville, then please write it in the comment section below. (Please be serious and civil.)

Here’s that e-mail:

Dear David Langford

Historically, the annual Doctor meeting was primarily focused around Optometry. As our health and wellness businesses continue to become more integrated, we seek to further expose the important work of health care professionals to the greater Walmart organization. We also want our senior leadership to better understand the difference you are making every day in the lives of our patients. With that in mind, we will be hosting the Health & Wellness Conference May 3-5th, 2010 in Bentonville Arkansas.

You have been chosen through a nomination process to take part in this exclusive gathering of professionals; you’ll hear from the executive leadership of Walmart on our company’s ongoing growth strategy; discussion from governmental and NGO’s on health care reform in America as well as inspirational messages from medical visionaries on the impact they are making within their communities.

We have made several changes of this conference design from years past. For example a smaller more intimate gathering will facilitate the opportunity for you to interact with and learn from key leaders as well as your peers. Representatives from all of the Walmart Health & Wellness business units will take part including professionals from the practices of Optometry and Pharmacy as well as our Clinic Operator partners in addition to select representatives of our internal support teams.

In addition we elected to conserve time and resources in an effort to present a holistic message around health care and the challenges that our customer, health care professionals and company is facing today, therefore CE credits will not be offered at this meeting. And as this meeting has been limited to a select group of attendees, we are asking that spouses not attend.

We look forward to having you take part in the Health & Wellness Conference 2010. Please click the View Event Summary link below, view the event details, and respond by clicking either the Yes or No button at the bottom of the invitation. Or you can simply select the register button on the Event Summary website. Registration will close on March 13th, 2010

Thank you,
Health & Wellness Professional Affairs

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6 Responses to “I’m Going to Bentonville!”

  1. mike says:


    Now that WalMart owns and or is a partner with 1-800 Contacts will you ask if they would oppose changing Utah Contact Lens law to the medically accepted one year expiration date and have positive verification?

    • The Utah law clearly says that if you have an actual medical reason to make the contact lens Rx expire in less than two years, then you can document that in your chart.

      The effects of positive verification was discussed, I think, very clearly by the president of 1800Contacts himself in this audio. Starting around minute ten he documents about how in Texas, positive verification was a terrible experience for patients.

      Why would you try to hold those two things over people’s heads anyway? It’s manipulative. It’s leftist. Someday, tort reform will occur and we won’t have to make expiration dates. People will get an eye exam because they want to have the best eye health and the best vision possible. People that don’t bother will roll the dice and pay the penalty if they run out of luck. How would you like someone to tell you that you can’t drive your car unless you pass a “safety inspection” every two years. Oh wait…the Utah government already does that. It’s stupid. If I care about my car, I service it regularly.

      Maybe kids with refractive amblyopia which isn’t diagnosed until after age 7 or 8 will get a medical insurance premium hike. That way parents are encouraged in a free market manner to get their children in for an eye exam, instead of communist government mandates limiting our liberty.

      We need to wake up people into caring about their eyes and vision- NOT holding a piece of paper over their head.

  2. mike says:

    Just because I want positive verification does not mean I am holding the RX over their heads. I think that is the worst thing you can do. I give my patients their valid RX without grief. I confrim or deny RX requests from retail locations in a timely manner. Even if they seem to fax my office only on Saturday afternoon.
    In fact, they usually buy contacts from me after I explain that the price they were quoted was for 16 boxes once they pay up front, get the contacts, cut out the UPC codes, fill out the forms, submit reciepts, and wait 6 weeks in hopes of a rebate.
    I would encourage you to read your Feb 11 post regarding the people that don’t see a doctor and just pick a name out of the phone book because they know the doctor won’t respond to a request for someone they have not even seen. Bingo! 4 years of contacts, 2 years the first request and 2 more when 1-800 calls to pantry stock the week before the “RX” expires. Nothing like a minus 8 not getting a DFE for 8 years.
    I also expire my RX at one year as appropiate but it seems the contact lens pushers like to tell my patients I am breaking the law by doint this. They forget to mention the entire law.
    On a side note, I don’t think the State of Utah cares if you go off the mountain with your family coming back from Bear Lake becuase you did not fix your car. They care that you may crash into someone else.
    So will you ask the corporate overlords in Bentonville?

  3. I read it. I wrote it. If people want to go blind, they can also poke a stick in their eye. Are you going to legislate sticks? The people that game the system know what they are doing is wrong and they know they are taking risks. If they go blind because of the risk, they can only blame them self. Positive verification is an impossible nightmare for the consumer. I do not advocate punishing the rest of us for the few’s wrongdoings.

    If I were to ever crash my car into someone else, and it was discovered that a crack in the windshield or a non-functioning wiper fluid sprayer on the passenger side was a partial culprit, then they can fine me. The point is I am liable for where my car goes no matter what, with or without a safety inspection.

    I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I don’t want the kind of government regulation you are talking about. If the founding fathers were alive today, most of them would be libertarians.

    You are fee to write Rx’s for whatever term you want with appropriate documentation, but I think patients will shop around if you just do it for one year by default.

    The answer is that PEOPLE NEED TO VALUE THE DOCTOR! People that value the doctor will get checked every one or two years or every interval we tell them depending on their risk factors.

  4. By the way, Mike, your two questions are really for 1800 contacts. Walmart’s involvement is that they teamed up with 1800Contacts to deliver contacts to my patients in just 1-3 days instead of 7-10.

  5. mike says:

    I think we will disagree on the role of government. I am in favor of smaller government, just not as small as you.

    I was under the impression that Walmart had purchased interest in 1-800.

    I think we agree on a lot of things on the other hand:
    People should value their vision and ocular health and obtain vision exams at the recommended intervals by thier trusted doctor.
    Contact and eyeglass Rx’s are a part of the exam and should not be witheld from the patient. They can purchase where they think it best.
    The current two party system of government we have is not what the founding fathers invisioned. I don’t know if they would be libertarians but they formed a government where only white, landowning, males had a vote and served in government as a public service not a job. I am not excited about what we have but I don’t want to go back to that.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Ask if they are replacing any of the opticals with nurse practitioners and health and wellness centers. Are they truly adding to the opticals with health and wellness centers or replacing us. Thanks in advance (just a rumor I heard….)