VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Jan 1, 2006 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Jan 1, 2006
Checking in
Putting together a new look for our pages
By Marnette Denell Falley
I know it can seem like we're always after you to do more, make changes, and improve your job or your skills or your practice. And we are. But it's only because we want to help you achieve your goals.
Cover Story
5-star service
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
I just returned from a practice-management meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. It was our 20th gathering, and we wanted it to be special, which is why we chose a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Everyone knows the Ritz represents the gold standard of service in the hotel industry. How do they achieve this lofty goal?
Vetcetera
Bite this!
To control the hassleand the dangerof dogs chewing up household items, companies are now developing chew-proof products, including a power-cord protector and a universal remote control using chew-resistant polymer, according to a press release from Syndicated News Inc. Coming soon: chew-proof wallets, eyeglass cases, leashes, collars, and cell phones.
Gender gap spans world
The 2004 AVMA-Pfizer Business Practices Study shows that the gender gap is still alive and well. From 1997 to 2003, male practitioners' salaries rose faster than women's.
Keeping private data under wraps
Confidential practice information may not be as well-protected as you think. Up to 80 percent of corporate employees will disclose sensitive company or customer information to people they don't know over the phone, and up to 33 percent will disclose the sensitive information via e-mail, according to RavenEye, an information-security consulting business.
Program supports dairy-animal IDs
Several dairy-cattle organizations have banded together to form IDairy, a program dedicated to dairy-animal identification.
Heartworm problems linger after hurricanes
After estimating that 80 percent of pets rescued from the Gulf Coast are infected with heartworm, several groups have established the Hurricane Heartworm Treatment Program.
Doing time for lack of registration
One more reason to encourage your clients to register their pets: In Bismarck, N.D., a man saw the inside of a jail cell for two days for failing to license his cat, according to an article from The Associated Press.
Criminal history: check, check
Background checks are not a waste of time or money. Here's why.
Practice Management Q&A
Controlling unauthorized overtime
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
I have an employee who regularly stays for overtime that I haven't authorized. My attorney says I have to pay her for the time, even though I didn't schedule it. What can I do to keep team members from working unapproved overtime?
The importance of directory ads
By Roger Cummings, CVPM
How important is it to buy telephone-directory advertising?
Increasing your client base
By Cynthia Wutchiett, CPA
My practice has a steady client base, but we'd like to increase our new clients. What's the most effective way to grow?
Staff expenses
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Q How should salary expenses for staff as a percentage of revenue differ for an emergency or 24-hour practice compared to a traditional practice?
Getting rid of gossip
How do I know if gossip has become a problem in my practice? And what's the best way to get rid of it?
Practice Tips
Gidget the greeter
If your dog leaves a treasure on the lawn Place a windmill beside it before you're gone!
Payroll cuts pose problems
By Bob Levoy
You're looking for improved profitability but could end up with high turnover and service breakdowns.
Recycled, washable warmth
By Laura Lee, DVM
Acres Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, relies on hot-water bottles to help provide comfort to patients.
E-newsletters promote your practice
By Sheila Higgs
An e-mail newsletter is an inexpensive way to promote your clinic.
Feeling cramped?
By Denise Tumblin, CPA
If your burgeoning practice is making you claustrophobic, try these strategies to accommodate growth.
Reward enduring employees
By Jean Weaver
At Catawba Animal Clinic in Rock Hill, S.C., it truly pays to be a longstanding employee.
Figure the true cost of equipment
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
Look beyond the price tag when you buy, then track usage and profitability carefully to make the most of your purchase.
A new 401(k) option
By Gary Glassman, CPA
Starting this month, 401(k) plans can offer a Roth 401(k) provisionwhich could be a better option for your retirement savings.
I Survived!
Toiling to catch up with technology
By Douglas Kunz, DVM
One practice's struggle to update their practice-management software proves highly worthwhile.
Click & Copy
Take action with a warning notice
Take these steps to document poor performance.
Employee warning notice
Use this sample to develop your own written warning notice.
Legal Ease
Addressing questionable ethics
By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
The veterinarian I work for has questionable ethics; he treats animals in ways that clients wouldn't approve.
Pruning poor performers
By Kerry Richard, JD
Legally, you can terminate an at-will employee at any time. Of course, there are some exceptions.
Bill to make antifreeze taste bitter
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California repeals ban on breed-specifc laws
In October 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed S.B. 861, which allows cities and counties to enact dog-breed-specific ordinances pertaining only to mandatory spay and neuter programs and breeding requirements.
Pet-evacuation act proposed
Rep. Tom Lantos introduced the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (H.R. 3858), which would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
Did you know?
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Building the Bond
A wave of compassion
In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Dr. Kerry Levin did the almost unthinkableshe put her solo practice, North State Animal Hospital in Ukiah, Calif., on hold and ventured across the world to volunteer. Armed with a passport, some past veterinary experience in third-world countries, and a desire to help, she traveled alone to Sri Lanka in February.
Equine Solutions
Finding good clients
By Mark Rick
Your clients seek you out because your approach meets their needs.
Hot Button
Putting a price on priceless
By Andrew Rollo, DVM
... I knew this dog was more than an investment.

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