August 2013



Phone (908) 782-4426 -

Increasing Client Visits While Navigating The Changing Trends




Veterinary medicine is undergoing a critical period of changing trends in terms of economics, client and pet demographics, and pricing, and suffering from a lack of proper business management. Fortunately, many of the critical points that continue to inhibit the growth of the veterinary medical community may be reversible by implementing some simple changes at the practice level.


While no single exercise or change will turn around the economic recession, there are things to do as an individual practice to set the stage for economic growth. Before implementing changes, though, baseline measurements must be taken to help clarify which issues are significantly impacting one's practice and, later on, to allow the practice to measure rates of success enjoyed by implementing a particular change.


(Click here to read full article)

Internet Pharmacies: Know the Competition - Major Players & Their Strategies

The major players include national chain pharmacies and big-box retailers such as Costco, Wal-Mart, 1-800-PetMeds, CVS, Target, and Kmart (to name a few). A simple internet search produces everything from mainstream providers to mom-and-pop internet shops. Many of the larger retailers, such as Target and Kmart, have developed specific portals or sections of their websites dedicated solely to the sale of pet medications. Target even goes so far as to provide multiple options in searching for pet medications, including a tab sorting available medications by medical condition. This presentation implies a degree of veterinary expertise likely beyond the actual capabilities of the provider and is potentially misleading to the consumer. Many of these websites also prominently advertise cheaper generic drug options, such as Target's '$4 for generics' tab, front-and-center on their pet meds site.


(Click here to read full article)

Has Your Manual Had A Wellness Review?


Is it ok to have "cookie cutter" employment policies that don't necessarily fit your practice? What's wrong with just borrowing someone else's employee handbook and distributing it to your staff as your own? Why should you spend the money to customize your policies? If you're a small practice, do you really need a Handbook? How often should you review your policies to make sure they are legally compliant?


These are all good questions that practice owners and managers must ask themselves as they assess the effectiveness of their employee handbooks. Employee policies should be clear, concise, and reflect how you want to treat your employees. Some policies are essential and should be included in every practice's Handbook. For instance, an Equal Employment Opportunity policy that prohibits harassment and discrimination will help assure your staff that these unlawful activities will not be tolerated while also providing an affirmative defense against complaints from disgruntled employees. However, many practices unnecessarily include policies they don't need just because they saw them in someone else's handbook. For instance, including information about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may not be necessary if your practice doesn't have enough employees for the Act to be applicable. However, once you include it in your Handbook, it becomes your policy.


Is it better to have some policies than not to have any at all? Well, that depends. Poorly crafted employment policies, or policies that don't reflect what you do in your particular practice, can actually do much more harm than good. Whether your practice employs 3 or 300, it's a good idea to review your policies annually to make sure they accurately reflect the uniqueness of your practice. If you don't have a handbook yet, what are you waiting for?



In This Issue
Increasing Client Visits
Internet Pharmacies: Know the Competition
Employee Manual Wellness
Legal & Ethical Issues: Internet Pharmacies
Clearing Up Confusion - Legal & Ethical Issues - Internet Pharmacies


 According to the AVMA's policy guidelines on prescribing and client purchases, drug therapy (when medically indicated) should be initiated by the attending veterinarian in the context of a VPCR.


Veterinarians should honor client requests to prescribe, rather than dispense a drug, and the client has the option of filling a prescription at any pharmacy. The veterinarian should advise clients to select a pharmacy from those approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (indicates they are licensed and prepared to practice pharmacy via the internet).


Veterinarians are only obligated to approve prescriptions if the Rx is appropriate and a VPCR exists. However, it is within the veterinarian's (not the pharmacy's) power to determine the medical criteria whereby a drug is indicated. Generally, use of foreign drugs lacking FDA approval is not permitted. Veterinarians should ensure that information regarding the proper use of the prescribed drug and the risks associated with its use are communicated to the client, regardless of the drug source. As with any prescription, a written record should be maintained.


According to the AVMA's Code of Veterinary Medical Ethics, referral fees are unprofessional and unethical. Similarly, the practice of 'diversion', whereby veterinarians resell prescription drugs or provide prescriptions for large-scale resale, is unethical. For a thorough consideration of the ethical and legal challenges surrounding internet pharmacies and pet medications, consult the AVMA's resources on Veterinary FAQs.

 Copyright 2013 - Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc. 
 Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter