VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Feb 1, 2005 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Feb 1, 2005
Practice Tips
Role-playing: more than just fun and games
By Bob Levoy
What does your receptionist say to a client who claims to have forgotten his or her checkbook? Or how does your technician respond to an angry client? In such cases, is everyone following a similar script? Is what they're saying the best response? If not, role-playing may help.
Pay with a personal touch
By Laura Lee, DVM
Let staff members know how much you appreciate all they do by adding a personal touch to their paycheck stubs, suggests Dr. Laura Lee at Acres Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Getting your vision in writing
By Joseph Rubino
Last month, we discussed the power of crafting a compelling practice vision. The next step: putting your vision in writing. As you're writing, see your vision as an already-accomplished reality, not merely as something you hope will happen. Write in the first person and present tense, creating a vivid mental image with as much detail as possible to bring your vision to life. Use all your senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste—to develop your description.
Hire a consultant to tune up your practice
Think your practice could benefit from some expert help? A consultant may be the way to go. But it's not enough to just hire help. You must know what you want to accomplish, pick the best-qualified consultant to help, and act on his or her advice.
Beware of S corporation distribuations and basis limitations
By Gary Glassman, CPA
Many practices are set up as S corporations for tax reporting purposes, enabling owners to receive dividend payments that aren't subject to Social Security tax. Doctors usually receive these payments when the practice pays for veterinary services and management.
What would you do if...
Your team members may find it takes some practice to stay calm and collected when unexpected situations arise. According to Ethics4Everyone, by Eric Harvey and Scott Airitam (Performance Systems Corp., 2002), it's best to prepare staff members for difficult events by playing the "what if" game.
Practice Management Q&A
Why interview when I know?
By Karen E. Felsted, DVM, CPA, CVPM, MS
I'm a solo practitioner with only three employees. Are exit interviews really necessary?
Posting thank-you notes
By Sharon DeNayer
A client sent us a thank-you card for our prompt, undivided attention and praised our team members for their kindness and courtesy. I'd like to post the note on the bulletin board in the reception area. Assuming the client gives permission, is there a downside?
Getting paid for time in court
By Robert Newman, JD
I recently appeared as an expert witness for an abuse and neglect case. The defense attorney subpoenaed me, but I was more helpful for the prosecution. I'd like to bill the defense attorney for my time; however, I anticipate that he won't readily pay. Should I take the attorney to small claims court?
Planning an exit strategy with an associate who doesn't want to own
By Susan Flemming, MBA
I'm the sole owner of a two-doctor practice. I have a great associate. She loves it here, I pay her well, and she knows she's appreciated.
Personal Finances
Don't let good intentions--or a bad day--lead you astray
By Christopher Bauer, Ph.D.
Pinocchio tried hard to be good. But his inner wishes--to have fun and experience life--often won out. And in the choices you and your team make, what's right and what's wrong aren't always as clear cut as the dilemmas fairy-tale characters face.
Industry Issues
Wake up to the realities of Internet pharmacies
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
They're here to stay. And the sites that target consumers are making heavy-duty media buys. Are you often doing enough to explain why clients should buy medications from you?
Vetcetera
Woman performs operations at home
A woman was charged with maiming and mutilating animals after performing two cat operations in her home.
Smart cat bust
Colby Nolan, MBA, worked with a Pennsylvania prosecutor to catch two Internet spammers who were selling bogus college degrees. All Nolan had to do was receive his masters in business administration from Trinity Southern University.
Health insurance costs go up again
Expect health insurance to cost about 10 percent more this year, marking five years of double-digit increases, according to The Washington Post.
Dogs and cats: Together at last
An old dust-covered law that banned dog and cat cohabitation was recently lifted in Provo, Utah.
Incomparably rude doesn't equal incompetence
By Spring Suptic
A Pennsylvania veterinarian's public reprimand by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine was overturned by a Commonwealth Court panel, according to the Associated Press.
Associate Know-how
Asking the right questions
By Craig Woloshyn, DVM
It's difficult to really know what a job offers until you've been there a while (Catch-22!), but a little astute questioning can help. Use these questions as aids. Don't read them to prospective employers as a list of demands—gently work them into interviews when appropriate.
A cure for the common concern
By Katherine Bontrager
As different as associates' experiences are, they generally enter practice with four concerns. Dr. Philip VanVranken, the managing partner at Dickman Road Veterinary Clinic, a seven-doctor practice in Battle Creek, Mich., offers his insight from 30 years of experience and provides some quick mentoring. Here are his answers to four common questions.
Building the Bond
A new puppy and a life renewed
By Sue Blackburn
One hospital and its clients help a family stunned by tragedy pick up the pieces and begin a new life.
Talking Points
6 ways to derail your career
By Marty Becker, DVM
You're enjoying practice, and your clients and team members are happy. But don't let complacency take hold. These common pitfalls can bump you off track.
Law & Ethics
What would you do?
By Jessica Harper
You and your staff members likely make tough ethical decisions every day. Yet only 43 percent of respondents to a recent survey by VetMedTeam.com, an online resource and team training center, say their practice teams discuss ethics.
Creating a code of professional conduct
By Jon Geller, DVM
Emergency nurse Cindy Hill* heard a loud thumping noise coming from the ICU runs. She was monitoring the front desk in the early morning hours, so she headed back to the treatment area to check on her patients.
Client Connection
The unsinkable Dr. Mom
By Karen Wheeler, DVM
It's 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, and our house is in its usual state of controlled chaos. Breakfast bowls are clinking, backpacks are zipping, and comments are flying around the kitchen faster than a budgie on a beak-trim breakaway. Unfortunately, every sentence seems to start with my name.

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