September 2013



Phone (908) 782-4426 - [email protected]

Zoonotic Implications of Fewer Veterinary Visits

nullDeclining numbers of client visits to their veterinarians may influence a practice's bottom line and, with this decline, there are also real health risks for a client as well as their pet and family. Within a society and culture that supports and nurtures the human-animal bond, people are inviting pets into their homes and treating them more and more as family members. Unsurprisingly, we have seen subsequent increases in pets finding their ways into closer quarters with their human companions, many of them into the same beds. This too is undoubtedly part of the strengthening human-animal bond, but unfortunately also exposes family members to parasites and pathogens. While some zoonotic diseases are relatively mild and self-limiting, others have significant and sometimes life-threatening results. We will broadly discuss some zoonotic diseases of companion animals that could be impacted by the decline in routine veterinary care, and how these diseases could affect clients and their families.


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The Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 1406) - Should You Be Worried?



Touted as a piece of consumer protection legislation, the bill originates in the belief that veterinarians overcharge for prescription products and that clients could save money if they had the option to go elsewhere. This rationale assumes that clients are not already aware of their right to request a written prescription and fill prescriptions elsewhere. Furthermore, support for this bill is based upon the belief that veterinarians are not already providing written prescriptions to clients and that, in some circumstances, veterinarians are even concealing this right from clients.


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More Regulatory Activity on the Horizon?

The Federal Trade Commission's Pet Medications Workshops


In October of 2012, the FTC held workshops bringing together consumers, veterinarians, business leaders, and interest groups to provide input on how current veterinary industry practices affect the following: 1) Consumer choice & price competition for pet medications; 2) The ability of consumers to obtain written, portable prescriptions that they can fill wherever they choose; 3) The ability of consumers to verify the safety and efficacy of pet meds. The goals of the workshop were to examine the ways available to inform and empower consumers to obtain the highest quality, most cost-effective healthcare products for their pets. The discussion also centered on examining how changes in the distribution and portability of prescriptions in the contact lens industry might serve as a model for changes in the pet medications industry.


In its findings, the FTC acknowledged the importance of veterinarians in the VPCR and determining appropriate treatment options, as well as providing information on proper administration of drugs. However, the FTC found compelling evidence of real consumer demand for portable prescriptions and the ability to price-shop for alternative prescription sources, such as on-line pharmacies and big-box stores.   Government regulators have taken notice and regulatory change may be on the horizon. The interest in pet meds by heavy-hitters, such as Wal-Mart and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (both actively lobbying Congress in support of the FTPA)  further demonstrates this point. The FTPA may be 'dead' in committee, but the controversies surrounding pets meds and consumer protection are far from over.




In This Issue
Zoonotic Implications of Few Vet Visits
Fairness to Pet Owners Act
Regulatory Activity
Welcome Daniel!
Employee Manual Wellness
Welcome VBA Extern Daniel Pascetta



Daniel Pascetta is a 4th year student at the Ohio State University where his was the former athletic chair of Omega Tau Sigma, Gamma Chapter. His professional interests include surgery, radiology, and ophthalmology. In the future, Daniel plans to go into practice management/ownership in New Jersey. His business interests span topics such as improving client's veterinary experience, marketing, and team building. In his free time Daniel enjoys soccer, sand volleyball, road biking, and spending time with his Boxer, Maine Coon, and two rats.


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?



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