November 2015



Phone (908) 823-4607- [email protected]

Mental Health Challenges in The Practice: How to Identify and Combat Them  

In February 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released survey results focused on responses given by more than 10,000 practicing veterinarians, most of whom were in small animal practice (69%). The results are worrying.
  • 6.8% of males in the profession have a serious mental illness/psychiatric disorder, with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness; this is twice the prevalence, nationally, for males in the United States
  • Figures for females are even higher, at 10.9%, which is two to three times the national prevalence
  • 14.4% of males and 19.1% of females in the profession have considered suicide, three times the U.S. national average
Here's where it gets even more concerning. The three primary stressors identified by survey respondents were:
  • Demands of veterinary practice
  • Veterinary practice management responsibilities
  • Professional mistakes and client complaints
The reason that this is so concerning: although the survey provides no empirical data about veterinary practice staff:
  • When the veterinarian is dealing with mental illness challenges, this affects the entire practice
  • The stressors that are negatively affecting the veterinarians themselves also affect the entire practice
So, it is likely that the disturbing statistics about veterinarians and their mental health challenges are just the tip of the iceberg. How, then, can this problem be addressed? 

(Click here to read full article
Ask VBA:  What are reasonable expectations for employees called in on a holiday? What is reasonable, as an employer, calling people in on a holiday? 

Let us say the next holiday were to fall on a Monday. Unfortunately, you start the day by finding your practice unexpectedly understaffed, with a full day ahead and an emergency on its way to the hospital. You decide to call in one of your paraprofessionals, who normally works Monday to Friday, but is "off" due to the holiday. Luckily, he or she is free for the entire day and happy to come in and help. He or she finds you at the end of the day because he or she cannot remember the policy from the employee manual pertaining to compensation for that day. You politely thank him or her for coming in and reply:

"You'll be paid a straight eight-hour pay" (8h)
"You'll be paid time-and-a-half for today" (12h)
"You'll be paid an eight-hour pay AND time-and-a-half" (20h)
All of the above (40h)

We at Veterinary Business Advisors believe that choice #2 is acceptable compensation for this circumstance. There is no law or legal obligation of employers to increase compensation to employees for working on a holiday or day he/she was not originally assigned to work. However, in recognizing the employee's commitment to the practice and demonstration of his or her work ethic, we believe time-and-a-half is a reasonable reward.

Now let us pretend your paraprofessional normally works 35-hours per week, Tuesday to Saturday. You call him or her in on a Monday, which also happens to be a holiday. For his or her hard work and time at the clinic, you may expect to compensate your employee with:

1. Time-and-a-half (12h)
2. An eight-hour pay (5h + 3h time-and-a-half)
3. A day off on another day he or she was originally scheduled to work

While these are all potential options, we believe the best answer is #1. Remember, an employer has no obligation to increase pay for an employee on a non-scheduled work day. However, to provide a proper incentive and reward your employees for their hard work, we suggest giving your employee time-and-a-half.

If you need help with your Holiday Policy, VBA can help.

Each month we will try an answer a submitted question.  If you have a question you would like one of our consultants to answer:Submit them here

In This Issue
2016 Calendar for Human Resources

2016 - Is it really here in just the blink of an eye?  

We have updated our calendar with additional events that you should be addressing in 2016 regarding Human Resources related activities.  Please take the time to at least scan the list and pencil in on your appointment book or mark on your outlook calendar or for you techies with the smart phones or tablets, maybe there's an app for that - so that you are proactively prepared to administer or address each event in a timely manner.  

Our list is based on a calendar year and your Practice's fiscal year running concurrently.  But any listed activity below, can be scheduled in the month that you need to begin the activity, so that you have enough planned lead time to get the event executed successfully according to your own schedule.  Not all activities may pertain to your Practice (some depend on the number of employees working for you) and the list is comprehensive but not all inclusive - it is meant to get you thinking about Human Resources related activities and functions for the upcoming year.  
As a reminder, some of the new HR related activities that are listed due to their prescribed implementation dates may change as we get closer to the deadline dates because sometimes legislative acts may get challenged, postponed or shelved.  As we hear of updates, we will post them in our newsletter. 

VBA Recommends:
2015 Benchmarks

Numbers don't lie.  And they're all here.

Veterinary Economics and Wutchiett Tumblin and Associates are back with another edition in their Benchmarks series for veterinary practice owners and managers.  They reveal the fees, revenue, and cost control key to running a well-managed practice!

For more information Click here
 Copyright 2015
2015 - Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc.
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Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc | 1 Washington Drive | Whitehouse Station | NJ | 08889