VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Mar 1, 2005 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Mar 1, 2005
Cover Story
Divide and conquer
By Sarah Moser
Clearly separating practice functions set the tone for VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital--and created a unique design feature. Then the design team added a superbly crafted 7,850 square-foot floor plan and thoughtfully chosen materials, securing the 2005 Veterinary Economics Hospital of the Year award.
Managing Smart
Zeroing in on your goals
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Work better with goal planning.
Goal planning form
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
This goal planning form helps you think through the steps you'll take to achieve your objective and spot potential obstacles. (PDF)
Practice Finances
Communicating with your insurance agent
By Kevin M. Quinley
Don't know where to start? Here's what you need to know to communicate effectively with your insurance agent:
Practice Tips
Announcing a new addition
Welcome new associates to your practice with some functional fanfare that simultaneously introduces them to the public. Running an announcement ad in your local paper provides increased visibility for your practice and establishes the new associate as part of the community.
Accelerating tax deductions
By Gary Glassman, CPA
Not all tax deductions are created equal. When it comes to building projects, the normal write-off for building costs is 39 years. However, with a little homework and the help of a builder and architect, you can accelerate deductions. The concept at work: cost segregation.
Know your role when you hire a consultant
Practice consultants work hard for their clients and are well aware of the investment a practice makes for their services. To do the best possible job for you, they need you to be prepared, complete documents as requested, and dedicate the necessary time to the improvement effort.
Making the most of Monday mornings
By Ron Linkenheil, DVM
Dr. Ron Linkenheil, owner of the Corning Animal Hospital, in Corning, N.Y., brightens up staff members' Mondays with a special snack, which helps jump-start the week.
Practice makes perfect
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
I've played hockey for many years, often once or twice a week. One day it dawned on me I wasn't improving. Instead I was doing the same wrong things over and over--I was playing but not practicing. Finally, I took a skills class and was amazed at how much I didn't know.
Creating a practice vision: Practice deliberately
By Joseph Rubino
In prior articles, I gave advice on creating and writing a strong, compelling vision for your life and work. But crafting the vision is just the first step. Next you must figure out how to make your vision a reality.
Your best strategy for improving productivity
By Bob Levoy
Effective delegation is undoubtedly the strongest productivity-improvement tool available. But here's a harsh reality check: Only 47 percent of staff members responding to a VetMedTeam survey indicated that their doctors delegate 80 percent to 100 percent of possible tasks.
Practice Management Q&A
Timing evaluations
By Cecelia Soares, DVM
Is it better to schedule performance reviews during regular office hours or after hours, when I know we won't be interrupted?
Getting clients to pay
By Jim Remillard, MPA, CVPM
My office manager suggested that we discount hard-to-collect, 90-day-past-due accounts as an incentive to encourage patients to pay at least something. We'd offer up to 25 percent off the bill, depending on how much the patient pays. We'd require the patient to adhere to a payment schedule until the debt's paid off. Is this a good solution or does it contribute to the problem?
Dealing with bad-check clients
By Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD
Is it legal to leave a message on a client's answering machine saying that you received a returned check? What's the best way to handle this situation?
A bonus for good buys
By Ronald Althaus
At our practice, we have an inventory team that handles ordering and tracking of drugs, lab supplies, food, and so on. But we still struggle with inventory accuracy. Would establishing an incentive program for the inventory team help?
Equine Solutions
Get a clear picture of practice value
By Cynthia Wutchiett, CPA
A potential buyer will want to know what it would cost to provide the same services you offer.
Vetcetera
Jobs up, pay down
Small business jobs increased 4.4 percent in 2004, according to SurePayroll, which collects data from more than 14,000 U.S. small businesses.
Voluntary beef checkoff lawsuit thrown out of court
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether the mandatory fee on cattle sold in the United States is legal. Half of the money goes to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and half to state beef councils to help fund advertising, research, and education programs.
Flying the pet-friendly skies
Two major airline companies, Midwest Airlines and United Airlines, recently announced incentives for passengers who fly with pets.
Pressing business in Washington
What's the most pressing issue for small businesses that Congress and the President should address?
ID chips migrate from pets to people
In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved VeriChip microchips for medical use in humans. The target: people with tough-to-treat conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
How much is your life worth?
No one likes to put a price tag on human life, but life insurers must--if they want to stay profitable.
Cover story
Ethical recommendations that work
By W. Bradford Swift, DVM
Think you're communicating--and selling--your services effectively? Here are some key points to consider to help you make powerful and persuasive recommendations to your clients
Personnel Management
Avoid these six categories of workplace stress
Different people find different situations stressful, but some stressors transcend personal differences and affect a majority. Many such key job stresses are associated with these six categories:
Stop complaining about negative team members, and show them the door!
By Roger Cummings, CVPM
Let's solve your morale problem by just firing all the unhappy people. Think that sounds rash? The truth is you have nothing to gain from keeping them around. You can't change them. Yes, you can require certain behaviors, such as being on time, doing their jobs, or developing proficient skills or knowledge. But a lot of people simply have a rotten, negative attitude, and there isn't much you or anyone else can do to change that.
Don't let stress pollute your practice
By Willam Lynott
Use these strategies to make sure tension never becomes toxic for you or your team.
Client Connection
All in the family
By Donovan Atkinson
For years, veterinarians practiced reactively, primarily treating illnesses and administering vaccinations. Not anymore. According to the 2004 AAHA Pet Owner Survey, 94 percent of respondents take their pets to the veterinarian for regular checkups to ensure their quality of life. In fact, 58 percent of respondents visit their pet's doctor more often than they visit their physician.

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