VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Jun 1, 2006 - Veterinary Economics
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VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Jun 1, 2006
Checking in
How much do people love their pets?
By Marnette Denell Falley
Well, clearly a lot. Enough that they buy them designer clothing and luxurious dog beds, in addition to the basics. (The APPMA estimates that we'll spend $38 billion on pets this year.) Enough that they rearrange their lives to accommodate pets' needs, getting out to give that walk or making time to tease with a feather toy. And pet owners rearrange their finances, of course, to pay for veterinary care—and food and toys and daycare and carriers.
Vetcetera
On the lookout for disease threats
In the fight against emerging disease threats to humans, a national surveillance network uses the medical records of pets to pinpoint geographic areas where treatment methods may need to be implemented.
Is your soap harboring germs?
You may want to think again before reaching for that slimy bar of soap.
A step toward uniform codes
Work on developing a uniformly accepted set of diagnostic codes for companion animal practices is nearing completion. According to the AAHA Diagnostic Codes Task Force, beta testing of 2,000 diagnostic and 2,000 clinical symptom codes began this spring.
Sniffles are nothing to sneeze at
Pets suffer from allergies, too. And according to the 2005 claims data from Veterinary Pet Insurance, they suffer from many of the same allergies as humans.
Practice Management Q&A
Coping with distraction
By Marty Stanley
Q. How do I deal with a team member who is going through a personal issue and seems noticeably distracted during work?
Revenue and efficiency swings
By Joel Parker, DVM
Q. Our practice has weeks when we're extremely busy, but we see only so-so revenue. Other weeks seem slower, yet revenue is high. Why is this?
Computer training: A risky business?
By Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
Q. To help my team members improve their computer skills, I'd like to pay for training classes. But I'm afraid a team member might leave soon after and I won't get a return on my investment. Should I take the risk?
Part-time possibilities
By Karen E. Felsted, DVM, CPA, CVPM, MS
Q. How many hours can an associate work and still be considered part-time? Do on-call hours count?
Pinning down percentages
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Q. I'm the medical director of a newly formed emergency clinic, and the board is looking for a formula for my pay. What percentage of production would you recommend?
Practice Tips
Free marketing help from future experts
A nearby college or university could give you new business know-how—even if you never enroll.
Retirees are key piece of callback plan
In the early evening, retirees help Dr. Steve Bishop and his crew at Animal Care Hospital in Phoenix make callbacks, freeing time for receptionists to work on other jobs.
"No plan" is the wrong plan for emergencies
By Jean Weaver
A base plan gives team members somewhere to start, minimizing confusion and panic.
Why good practices sometimes go bad
By Bob Levoy
If your success is starting to slip, it could be that you no longer offer the care you so eagerly gave clients in the early days of practice. But it's not too late to get back on track.
A photo op for dental education
If a picture's worth a thousand words, four pictures are worth, well, a lot.
Hoopla in the staff lounge
Hoops—and a little hoopla—are encouraged at Firehouse Animal Hospital in Denver. Dr. Jed Rogers included a basketball hoop in the staff lounge when he furnished his hospital.
Is your insurance agent a good catch?
By Kevin M. Quinley
Use this four-question litmus test to decide whether you're settling for so-so service.
Growth Center
Investing in computed radiography
Neel Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City, a paperless practice, prides itself on using the latest technology. "Adding computed radiography was a natural step in our practice evolution," says co-owner Dr. Tina Neel.
Case study: Visiting specialist wins clients and revenue
Dr. Brad Rosonke, owner of Hillside Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., has little interest in dentistry. But he knows that offering dental services means better care. His solution: Hire a dental resident.
Talking Points
7 paths to professional growth
By Craig Woloshyn, DVM
Stagnation isn't an option. So use these strategies to paddle along the always-swelling river of new information. You'll find they make professional growth easy and exciting—and keep your passion for practice alive.
Legal Ease
Avoiding an age-discrimination suit
By Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD
A longtime staff member who's in her late 50s is having trouble learning our new computerized billing system. We don't want to fire her, but we need to replace her with someone who can handle our new technology. If we asked her to retire, would we risk an age-discrimination suit?
Tips to avoid malpractice claims
Solid communication skills bridge the gap between you and the client—and reduce your risk of malpractice claims. Use these strategies to refine your approach and avoid potential trouble spots.
Lawsuit accuses clinic of faking dog's death
Dana and Gary Gayner say their veterinarian gave their 2-year-old German shepherd a sedative instead of euthanizing the animal; then the clinic turned around and gave the dog to another owner, because they considered the owners "heartless," according to an article by The Associated Press.
FDA: ECP use in animals is illegal
Estradiol cypionate (ECP) isn't approved for animals, says the FDA in response to reports that pharmacies and veterinarians have compounded ECP for use as an estrogenic hormone for reproductive therapy in dairy cows and beef cattle.
Panel calls for new FEMA
After a seven-month investigation, a Senate panel concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be abolished and rebuilt from scratch, according to The Associated Press.
Contain your sharps smartly
By Phil Seibert, CVT
Proper disposal is the law—and it's for your own safety.
Click & Copy
Wellness for the older pet
Educate clients about the benefits of senior care by putting together a protocol and sending a consistent message. Handouts such as this one can help you deliver your message.
Cover Story
Changes on the horizon
By John Lofflin, Special Assignments Editor
In the next five years, you'll see bigger practices, more referral and specialty hospitals, more women in practice, and better-integrated technologies. And all these changes will influence your work.
Practice Finances
Loving Hands reaches $1.7 million
By Denise Tumblin, CPA
This practice improved scheduling and compliance, established a solid staff management team, developed written standards of care, and more. Not only is Loving Hands Animal Clinic stronger— and ready to move into a new facility—but it made money along the way.
Management Statement
Use this budgeting tool to capture your revenue, expenses, and amount available for compensation and reinvestment.
Hospital Design
Squeezing in more
By Sarah Moser
Two detail-oriented doctors, technological advances, and a tight floor plan combine at Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital. The result: 10 pounds of practice in an 8-pound space.
Equine Solutions
Help! I need somebody
By Amanda Bertholf
EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF MULTITASKING, but equine practitioners take the gold medal: driving the truck to the next appointment, talking on the cell phone, writing invoices, and keeping up with new technology. But at what expense? And how can you manage all those jobs and still focus on providing high-quality medicine?
Personnel Solutions
Sweeten the deal
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Make sure your benefits stack up well against the other options team members could find in your area—and give employees more reasons to stick around.
Professional Growth
Roll with the punches
By Philip VanVranken, DVM , Andrew Rollo, DVM
Learning to take the hard hits with poise and professionalism will make you a better doctor. So when the ugliest parts of your job throw a punch-jab combination, roll with it.
Ownership Issues
Find the right exit
By Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV
Consider these five roads out of practice, and start planning your journey now.
Hot Button
Raising fees only takes you so far
By Roger Cummings, CVPM
For too long, practitioners undervalued their services, charged too little and often gave away care for free. Though this may still be true for some, others digested the message about a healthy business supporting good medicine and raised their fees. But to make this equation work, you need to raise the level of service, too.
Products
Children's play nook
A curved desk links the waiting area, check-in, and checkout. Tile flooring, pendant lighting, and separate seating alcoves make the space feel cozy. A flat-screen TV with satellite feed entertains clients while they wait, and there's a children's play nook.

Photo by Tom ONeil, TGO Photography

Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Salinas, Calif.
Easy access
Both the treatment and reception areas enjoy easy access to the pharmacy and lab. The business office workstation is nearby.

Photo by Tom ONeil, TGO Photography

Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Salinas, Calif.
L-shaped layout
Featuring an L-shaped layout, exam rooms have high backsplashes, vinyl wainscot with wood chair rail, and a client bench. The doctors use flat-screen, wall-mounted monitors for client education.

Photo by Tom ONeil, TGO Photography

Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Salinas, Calif.
Second-story lounge
A roof terrace lets team members take breaks in the California sun. HVAC units and walk pads also share space on the roof. Inside, the team enjoys a lounge and conference area, complete with satellite TV on a flat-screen, wall-mounted monitor.

Photo by Tom ONeil, TGO Photography

Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Salinas, Calif.

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