VETERINARY ECONOMICS, May 1, 2005 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, May 1, 2005
Vetcetera
Legal lineup: Pets on the wrong side of the law
As pets grow nearer and dearer to the human heart, they also grow nearer to legal trouble. Here are a few recent sticky situations pets and their people have found themselves in:
Credit card rules change
You may need to change your credit-card receipts this year to comply with the The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT), which demands truncation of credit-card and debit-card numbers.
Prevail with polite e-mails to clients
E-mails you send to clients to inform them of new offerings or to update them on practice happenings could be considered spam under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM). To stay on the right side of the law, follow these guidelines, set forth in the CAN-SPAM Act, for commercial e-mails to existing and potential clients:
Pet botox ban
West Hollywood, Calif., is trying to ban cosmetic surgery on animals, including tail docking, de-fanging, ear cropping, and botox for noncurative reasons.
A protein that blocks allergies
Fifty million people in the United States suffer from allergies. But relief could be forthcoming.
Building the Bond
Here's to your health
By Annette Otis
Even veterinarians sometimes overlook the power of the love and support pets provide. But now and then you may get an important reminder that a pet can lend hope and support healing—just as this veterinary student did.
Hot Button
I'm tired of hearing about impossible challenges
By Ernest Ward Jr., DVM
When you remove barriers, you're free to realize your true potential.
Professional Growth
Staving off burnout
By W. Bradford Swift, DVM
I'd wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 7 years old, but after 12 years in practice, I didn't know if I could stand another day. I was frustrated, tired, and worn out by the constant stresses of practice, including staffing headaches, client turnover, and financial strains. And those stresses were having a profoundly negative influence on my personal life, too.
Equine Solutions
Are you grooming your practice?
By James Guenther, DVM, MBA, MHA, CVPM, AVA
The day you become an owner is the day you should start planning to sell. Here's why—and a look at what to consider.
Growth Bulletin
Case Study: Laparascopy and thoracoscopy equal better pet care and happy patients
Using a laparoscopic technique to perform ovariohysterectomy, cryptorchidectomy, and exploratory laparotomy with abdominal biopsy, and using thoracoscopy to perform thoracic exploratory means less pain and quicker recovery time for patients. And for Dr. Rex Bailey, owner of Michigan City Animal Hospital in Michigan City, Ind., laparoscopic services mean better pet care, happier clients, more rewarding work for himself, and good news for his business.
Practice Management Q&A
Cutting accounts receivable
By Emily Williamson, DVM
I read in a past issue about an equine practitioner who requires payment when services are rendered. I'd love to do that, but my clients expect me to bill them. How can I change my system this late in the game?
Firing a client who's making inappropriate comments
By Craig Woloshyn, DVM
A new client makes inappropriate comments to one of my employees. She asked him to stop, but he hasn't. Should I dismiss the client?
Do low exam fees entice clients?
By Jennette Rosier Lawson
I own a feline-exclusive practice. Our prices are comparable to others in the area, except for our physical exam, which is $6 to $14 lower than most of my colleagues'. I've been thinking of raising it by $6 or $8, but several members of my team think our lower-priced office visit gets clients in the door. Once they're here, they rarely decline any additional recommended services. My team feels that without the enticing exam price, potential clients might be tempted to go elsewhere. What should I do?
Starting out a success
By Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV
Is it possible for a start-up to be profitable from the beginning? If so, how?
Practice Tips
Managing workplace confrontations
Confrontation in the workplace can be tricky—you don't want to burn bridges, but you also don't want to suffer at the hands of a colleague.
Practicing on autopilot
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
During the first few years of practice, it's not unusual to dig through textbooks, go online, or read up on cases during spare time. But somewhere around the third year of practice, most of us gain a level of comfort with medicine that stems late-night reading. We go on autopilot.
Fishing for funds during a cash crunch
By Denton Harris
Suddenly, in the midst of attempts to grow your practice, you find your cash flow dried up. And let's say your bank, no matter what you do, can't help you. What else can you do?
It's so easy being green
By Laura Lee, DVM
Acres Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has found a way to help both the practice and its clients see green.
Simple ways to improve practice profitability
By Bob Levoy
Long-range strategic planning requires making hard decisions in your practice. First, you must decide what you and your team are going to do more of. What's working? What services, activities, and products generate the most practice growth and are the most profitable? For example, are pre-anesthetic risk assessments profitable—and good medicine? If so, you may want to challenge your team to increase clients' acceptance of such procedures.
Protect yourself from identity theft
Since 1997, approximately 27 million adults in the United States have become victims of identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commission. To minimize your risk—and the risk to your team members and clients—follow these cautionary steps at your practice:
Cover Story
Aging with grace
By John Lofflin, Special Assignments Editor
By 2010, almost 40 million Americans will be 65 years old or older. Are you prepared to meet the needs of these clients?

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