VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Oct 1, 2006 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Oct 1, 2006
Cover Story
4 hurtful statements clients make
By Ernest Ward Jr., DVM
Your client says, "You care more about my money than you do about my pet." How do you respond?
Associate pay: adjusting for experience
Reward associates for their knowledge, education, time, and experience level.
Managing Smart
Ready set grow!
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
You're stoked about offering your clients new services and products. But your team's response is underwhelming. Here's how to get started and get your team onboard.
Growth Center
Practice saves on high-volume orders
The Clocktower Animal Hospital in Herndon, Va., saves nearly $36,000 a year through a buying group.
Case study: Investing in overnight care pays off
"Clients like to know their pets will be taken care of by doctors they know and trust in an emergency, so having a doctor on staff 24 hours a day just makes sense to us," says Dr. Tom Nelson, co-owner of Animal Medical Center in Anniston, Ala. "Besides, the nearest emergency clinic is 60 miles away."
Checking in
Welcome to my Web
By Marnette Denell Falley
Just think of me as a big, black spider, plotting and planning ways to get you to my sticky Web site. In this scenario, you're the juicy fly, I'm afraid. But when you get to vetecon.com I hope you'll be happy as a clam. (This is where my metaphor falls apart, in case you didn't notice.)
Hospital Design
Blending past and present
By Sarah Moser
Using two historic buildings and a modern design, this hospital successfully honors the past, while stepping into the future.
Practice Tips
Freshen up your walls
Are your walls or trim outdated? New paint, paper, and trim can take your exam room from ughh to ahhh.
Table-top radiographs made easy
"Does the cassette slip around every time you move the animal on the radiograph table?" asks Lynn Kessel, practice manager at Round Rock Animal Hospital in Round Rock, Texas.
Communicating during a crisis
By Rebecca Hart
Take these three steps to make sure you can reach your team members and communicate critical news.
Home-school for dental care
Improve pet dental care with a client brochure.
Protection for blood-typing cards
"After the cards dry, we put a couple pieces of clear packing tape over the front of the card," says Jeremy Gerhard, LVT, CVT, at Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich.
Service that goes above and beyond
By Bob Levoy
This veterinarian's passion for practice—and helicopters—lets him fill a unique niche.
Practice Management Q&A
An accountable accountant
By Cynthia Wutchiett, CPA
My partner and I are opening a hospital and we're concerned about our accounting structure. Is a local accountant with a good reputation adequate, or should we find someone who specializes in veterinary medicine? What kind of costs can we expect?
Mobile compensation
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
How much should I compensate a mobile veterinarian who wants to perform surgeries and dentals at my clinic? She'd conduct the procedures but use my clinic's equipment, staff, and drugs for her clientele.
Don't lay a rotten nest egg
By Gary Glassman, CPA
What are my options for saving for retirement?
Handling HR fees
By Lorraine Monheiser List
We use a human resource company to handle our payroll and medical insurance. Should I include their management fee in our staffing costs?
Walk the line
By Christine Merle, DVM
Should we offer walk-in appointments?
Reality check for a receptionist
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
Our receptionist is excellent at her job, and the clients love her—when she's here. She's been with us for less than a year, but she's frequently absent and still asked for a raise. So we switched her wages from hourly to salary, but now she wants even more money and doesn't want to work Saturdays. Am I being taken advantage of?
Equine Solutions
Get wired up
By Amanda Bertholf
Plug yourself and your team into the latest technology to improve communication—and your bottom line.
Vetcetera
Banfield rolls out meals
Banfield, the Pet Hospital, is partnering with Meals on Wheels Association of America with the goal of collecting more than 1 million pounds of pet food in Banfield hospitals across the United States.
Outlook for sheltered cats deteriorating
Animal shelters in Ohio have reported that since 1996, the number of cats taken in increased by 20 percent, while the number of dogs received decreased by about 16 percent.
Top 10 veterinary claims
Cat owners filed the most medical claims for urinary tract infections in 2005, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), making it the second year in a row the ailment tops felines' list.
Group proposes specialty for family practice
In response to the strengthening human-animal bond and changes in the way veterinarians practice primary care, a new association aims to establish a specialty for general medicine.
Building the Bond
Sunshine on a rainy day
By Elizabeth Devitt, DVM
Just like this doctor, you may find the letters, photos, and mementos you receive from clients provide a critical pick-me-up when the tough days seem to outweigh the joys of practice.
Hot Button
Permission to euthanize
By Karen Wheeler, DVM
Sometimes it's OK to give clients permission to euthanize. And making this choice doesn't make them bad people -- or you a bad doctor.
Click & Copy
Referral form
Avoid miscommunication and use this referral form to help improve patient care.
Weighing in on obesity
An estimated 45 percent of pets in the United States are overweight or obese. So now's the time to tip the scale in favor of leaner, healthier pets.
Legal Ease
Little sleep lost over lawsuit threats
Most veterinarians don't see malpractice threats and lawsuits as their most pressing issue.
New animal drug safety page on FDA site
A new Web site will help you and your clients easily locate safety information about drug products regulated by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Pay for vacation earned
By Sheila Grosdidier, RVT
If an employee quits, do I have to pay that person for his or her remaining vacation days?
Getting out in an emergency
By Phil Seibert, CVT
Take the next step to show your staff members the way to safety.
Dr. Beaver opposes ban on horse processing
Dr. Bonnie Beaver, MS, Dipl. ACVB, stood up in July against a bill that would ban horse slaughter for human consumption. The past-president of the AVMA says, "The legislation doesn't address the financial support required to care for the horses given up by their owners.
Rhode Island curtails stray cats
To breed cats in Rhode Island, owners must obtain a breeding permit. The fee: $100 per cat per year.
BSE risk low, USDA says
Based on an analysis of seven years of BSE surveillance data, the USDA has concluded that the prevalence of the disease is less than 1 case per million adult cattle. Because of the low level of the threat, it plans to pull back on its surveillance program.
Personnel Solutions
Employee warning notice
Use this form to document verbal warnings when you're disciplining employees.
You do what else?
A home away from work
Four years ago, my business partner Dr. Ed Farnham and I purchased the Hexagon House, a bed and breakfast in Pentwater, Mich., off Lake Michigan.
Benchmarks
Team building
By Denise Tumblin, CPA
15 tools and tips to take your team from good to great.
Products
Folding exam tables
Folding exam tables, windows to the hallway, open-front cabinets, and a central vacuum system with floor vents that kick open all enhance efficiency. Two rooms also feature clear Plexiglas ceilings.

Photo by Pam Rouleau, Rouleau Photographics

South Wilton Veterinary Group in Wilton, Conn.
Glass cabinets
Filled with natural light, this area sits conveniently behind the exam rooms and in front of the outpatient treatment room. Clear glass cabinet doors and space for the computer and label printer make it easy to fill prescriptions rapidly.

Photo by Pam Rouleau, Rouleau Photographics

South Wilton Veterinary Group in Wilton, Conn.
Heated exotics cages
With exotic and avian patients making up the 40 percent of the caseload, cages dedicated to these animals and space to care for them was a must-have. Dr. Sitinas had heated exotics cages specially designed that are smaller and are backed in clear Plexiglas to let more light in. The treatment room features space for a variety of patients, something the doctors didn't have in their former facility.
Pendant lighting
A curved desk with varying-height counters gives receptionists a bit of privacy when they're not in contact with clients. Pendant lighting warms up the room, while wall-mounted television screens show off the practice's technological side. A cathedral ceiling, modern colors, and porcelain tiling complete the look.

Photo by Pam Rouleau, Rouleau Photographics

South Wilton Veterinary Group in Wilton, Conn.
South Wilton Veterinary Group
Front exterior

Photo by Pam Rouleau, Rouleau Photographics

South Wilton Veterinary Group in Wilton, Conn.
Two tables
A two-table surgery suite feels like a luxury to Drs. Sitinas and Robertson after practicing in their previous facility. Viewing windows help everyone know what's going on.

Photo by Pam Rouleau, Rouleau Photographics

South Wilton Veterinary Group in Wilton, Conn.

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