VETERINARY ECONOMICS, May 1, 2006 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, May 1, 2006
Checking in
A new training tool
By Marnette Denell Falley
As you may know, we launched a new magazine especially for team members last fall—Firstline. (Hopefully you've seen it around the practice. I'd be even happier if you saw it in your team members' hands.)
Vetcetera
Creature comforts
A study conducted by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine found that nursing-home residents prefer one-on-one time with man's best friend.
Top 10 breeds of 2005
The United Kennel Club (UKC) released its list of the Top 10 Breeds of 2005. The ranking, based on UKC registration figures, show breeds from the hound group rounding out six of the top 10 spots.
Take a bite out of bites
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites each year; half of the victims are children.
The power of poop
America's dogs and cats produce nearly 10 million tons of waste a year. In San Francisco, animal feces makes up nearly 4 percent of the city's waste?almost as much as disposable diapers. Yet one animal's waste is another animal's treasure.
Cross-training: burden or benefit?
In a recent survey, 54 percent of team members felt cross-training was beneficial.
Feline vaccination report coming
A report from the American Association of Feline Practitioners on feline vaccination is due out this summer. The key premise is it's better to vaccinate more cats in the population, not just the same cats over and over.
Practice Management Q&A
Blood pressure fees
By Denise Tumblin, CPA
Should we charge separately for blood pressure evaluations or incorporate these fees into our annual exam fees for pets 5 and older and ill pets?
Ditch school debt
By Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP
Are there programs that offer recent grads loan forgiveness?
Bundle-of-joy benefits
By Karen E. Felsted, DVM, CPA, CVPM, MS
"When deciding on a maternity leave policy, you need to consider the legal requirements as well as the total benefits package you want to offer," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, a consultant at Brakke Consulting Inc. in Dallas.
Credit for dental prophys
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
When our owner's out of the building and the technicians perform dentals, does our part-time associate receive credit even if the owner scheduled it and already performed a physical exam?
A site with foresight
By Wayne Usiak, AIA
I'm in the process of buying land for a new practice. How much land do I need if I want to expand in the future?
Practice Tips
Seven ways to shine in a media interview
By Rebecca Hart
Interviews are a great opportunity to encourage interest and educate the public about veterinary medicine and public health matters. But good interviews don't happen by chance. It takes thought, skill, and practice to convey your messages effectively. Take these seven steps to make the most of your next media opportunity.
Keep clients from wiping out on the Web
Dr. Doug Clarke at Pet Veterinary Clinic in Grandville, Mich., says it used to send chills up his spine when clients said they'd been looking up medical information on the Internet.
The secret to happy employees
By Bob Levoy
The goal: As Bob Townsend, former CEO of Avis Rent A Car System LLC, has said, "Create the kind of environment that pays people to bring their brains to work." The more you identify and address employees' job-related needs, the more likely they'll engage in what psychologists call "motivated behavior."
Better care with cage tags
Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich., is a large specialty practice with a 24-hour facility. Technicians work different shifts and are constantly passing on important information about patients. "To improve communication between shifts, we made cage tags that highlight patients' special needs," says Kathy Estrada, LVT, the practice's technical services manager.
Make home only a scan away
Dr. Cyrena Rose, a relief veterinarian in Miami, Fla., suggests technicians check each chart during first puppy visits and annual exams to see whether a pet is microchipped. "If the pet has a chip, scan it to show clients that it's still working and remind them to keep their contact information updated with the company that manufactured the chip," says Dr. Rose. If clients moved or never registered, this helps them realize the importance of registering, she says. And of course, if the pet doesn't have a chip, this gives the technician an opportunity to explain the benefits of microchipping to the owner.
Bring purrfection to someone's home
During the spring and summer, shelters face a deluge of kittens. The American Humane Association estimates that 70 million cats in the United States need homes. If you want to help, June?which is the designated Adopt-A-Cat Month?could be a great time to focus on helping potential pet owners find feline companions.
Rein in postdated checks
Dr. Suzanne Miller Hogue, who owns Dr. S.B. Hogue DVM Inc., in Farmdale, Ohio, doesn't accept postdated checks because if something should happen, for example, if the client dies, the check would no longer be good. Instead, she has clients date the check for that day's date and attaches a sticky note with the date clearly marked when the client wants it to go through the bank.
Are you a premium practice?
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
... we reward ourselves with premium products ...
Growth Center
Case study: Senior testing education enhances care and compliance
Dr. Daniel Brod, co-owner of Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Littleton, Colo., says that in about one of every four senior dogs he tests, he identifies early disease processes, such as renal, liver, or thyroid disease?that's about 15 percent higher than in younger dogs at his practice. And he sees similar results in his feline patients. So the benefits of testing are clear. And his team took just a few steps that helped to increase compliance.
Cutting back on Saturdays
High overtime costs prompted Gerard Gervasi, hospital administrator at Collierville Animal Clinic in Collierville, Tenn., and the practice owners to look into the financial impact of being open on Saturdays. "Saturdays were the costliest days of operation for the practice," he says. "And we didn't give the same level of care that we did the rest of the week. By the end of the week, doctors and staff members were tired, and we were only open five and a half hours, which didn't always give us enough time to work up a sick case properly."
Building the Bond
Giving in can be part of giving
By Vivian Jamieson, DVM, Dipl. ACVO
This doctor learned communication is a two-way street. And meeting this small dog in the middle made all the difference in the world.
Legal Ease
FDA: "No" to antiviral drugs in poultry
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a final rule to prohibit extra-label use in poultry of two classes of approved human antiviral drugs in treating influenza: anti-influenza adamantane (amantadine and rimantadine) and neuraminidase inhibitor (oseltamivir and zanamivir).
I'm leaving. Can I take my clients with me?
By James F. Wilson, DVM
I disagree with recent decisions my boss made and with the quality of his practice. After 12 years, I'm ready to move out on my own. I don't have a noncompete agreement and plan to open a practice in the same town. My clients deserve to know I'm leaving and should have the opportunity to follow me. What can I do?
Keeping control of controlled substances
Every practitioner who orders, dispenses, prescribes, or administers a controlled substance must be registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and sometimes with a state agency that regulates such activity, says Philip Seibert, CVT, a consultant with Veterinary Practice Consultants in Calhoun, Tenn., and editor of The Veterinary Safety & Health Digest. What's more, you must keep such substances in a "securely locked, substantially constructed cabinet or safe," according to Title 21 CFR 1301.75. So what exactly does that mean?
Click & Copy
Polish your clients' dental compliance
Use these strategies to promote dental health year-round.
Dental prophy admitting form
Promoting dental health starts with your team. So develop a team approach to educating clients?and use tools such as this dental prophy admitting form to help you deliver great care.
Cover Story
Show bad clients the door
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Difficult clients do your practice more harm than good by damaging team morale and causing conflict. Figure out who they are, and let them go.
Sample client termination letter
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Customize this sample Word document to terminate a doctor-client relationship politely and professionally.
Managing Smart
Find more fans
By Craig Woloshyn, DVM
When your team lives by a set of golden rules for client care, you create a clientele that looks and acts more like a fan club. Here's how to tap this energy and fuel your team's success.
Hospital Design
Specializing in the "perfect practice"
By Sarah Moser
These specialists designed their facility to reflect the care they give, focusing on traffic flow, workflow, and the potential for expansion. Today, clients and employees of Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson know the facility supports their goals.
Equine Solutions
How do you wow 'em?
By Amanda Bertholf
Treat your clients better than their own doctor does. And keep in mind, it's small investments in service that make the difference.
Practice Growth
Starting from scratch
By Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV
Opening your own practice takes courage and vision. And keeping it open requires profits. Tilt the odds for financial success in your favor by answering these six key questions about your new venture.
Team Building
Personnel with personal problems
By W. Bradford Swift, DVM
From divorce to debt, everyone deals with personal issues?and you may feel you shoulder too big a burden. Use these strategies to manage tough situations when they spill into the workplace.
Tech Topics
Be smarter about your hardware
By Robert Lowes
Don't buy home computers for the office?even if the price seems irresistible. You'll save on aspirin when you spend a little more on business-grade machines.
Hot Button
Your practice may be worth less than you think
By Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD
Too often practitioners who thought they were on the doorstep of retirement are finding they need to work three to five years longer than they thought—or even more. The problem: When they have the practice valued, they find a gap between the retirement they envision and what they can actually afford.
Products
Classroom
This large room serves as a continuing-education room for community veterinarians, support staff, and pet owners. A small kitchenette sits adjacent. A separate entrance allows seminar attendees to enter and exit without disturbing clients in the reception area.

Photo by Robert Boulay, The Fine Line

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.
ICU
All hospital functions spring from the ICU, which serves as the central hub for the hospital. With 27 cages, four runs, and two oxygen cages, the ICU sits in the middle of the hospital for easy access to and from each individual specialty area. The pharmacy, lab, and employee entrance are nearby.

Photo by Robert Boulay, The Fine Line

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.
Separate seating
Clients and staff members enjoy a bath of sunlight in the reception area. Separate seating gives clients options, and a curved check-in desk with varying heights of countertops gives pet owners comfortable writing surfaces and receptionists some privacy.

Photo by Robert Boulay, The Fine Line

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.
Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson
Exterior front.

Photo by Robert Boulay, The Fine Line

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.
Windows at dog's-eye level
These rooms feature digital radiography equipment, including computer monitors to view radiographs, CT scans, and ultrasound images. Doctors also use PowerPoint presentations to explain disease conditions and treatments in the exam rooms. More features: windows placed at dog's-eye-level and wall-mounted fold-down exam tables that give the team more space, when needed.

Photo by Robert Boulay, The Fine Line

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.

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