The opening paragraph of Dr. Robert M. Miller's article "Professionalism counts!" ("Mind Over Miller," July 2005) struck a
chord with me. I have both worked on a percentage basis and received a straight salary at different times in my career. I
find I do the same degree and level of work regardless of the method of compensation, but I sometimes resent the small, low-income-producing
calls when I'm compensated based on production. I have also noticed that some practices that pay associates a percentage of
the income they generate may rely more on the bottom line or average client transaction (ACT) than on practicing good medicine.
For example, I have been told to give another injection to increase the ACT even when the patient's condition didn't warrant
it. I also have seen the efforts of high-producing associates undermined by practice owners who rigged the appointment book
to shift high-grossing procedures or treatments to themselves or who would unfairly adjust the transactions credited to the
associates. Those practices can't keep an associate long, and the practice quality drops rapidly.
When receiving a salary, I and other hard-working associates have been denied an increase because "the clinic is not growing
right now." Yet no financial data to support the claim were ever offered.
I have found if you do it right, the pay usually follows. In the 15 years I owned a practice, I paid only salary and never
hesitated to provide appropriate levels of income for anyone who worked to the best of his or her abilities. I was raised
under the adage "Always give a little more than expected. Then when a better position comes up, you'll be the one your employer
remembers to reward."
Jerry Allen, DVM
Veterinary Medical Center
629 Grandview Ave.
Glasgow, KY 42141