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Callback programs can generate $404,000 a year

At Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Flower Mound, Texas, every technician and client-service representative calls four clients per day with overdue patient reminders. Employees submit completed call sheets daily to a manager. Main Street Veterinary Hospital pays employees $5 for every overdue preventive care visit that gets completed. “Some staff earn $75 to $80 extra per paycheck, so it’s a big incentive,” says Practice Manager MaryBeth Soto, CVPM. If the hospital paid a $75 bonus, the employee would have booked 15 overdue preventive care exams. Based on industry norms that 60 percent of patients are dogs and 40 percent are cats, you’d have nine dog exams at $208 each and six cat exams at $186 each for a total of $2,988—a great return on a $75 investment. Try these two easy-to-implement callback programs.

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Tips for welcoming a new associate veterinarian

Successfully integrating a new graduate or associate veterinarian into your practice can be equally stressful for both practice owner and employee. Here’s some advice from a prominent consultant and a veterinary student who will soon be the new doctor.

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Word makeovers can boost compliance and grow revenue

While consulting at a practice where dental compliance was 17 percent, I shadowed exams to diagnose why clients weren’t accepting treatment for their pets. The first exam revealed answers. After the veterinarian explained his diagnosis of Grade 3 dental disease, he said, “The girls up front will give you an estimate when you check out.” After the client paid, the receptionist said, “Here’s your dental estimate.” The client left, failing to schedule the procedure.

A communication makeover would significantly improve client compliance, patient care and hospital revenues. Taking the practice from its current 17 percent dental compliance to the AAHA benchmark of 38 percent could bring $274,561 in additional revenue over the next 12 months.

When presenting diagnoses and treatment plans, your team needs to use language that clients will understand. Post these word makeovers on your employee bulletin board.

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Thank clients and attract pet owners with an open house

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, more than 400 pet owners visit American Animal Hospital in Randolph, N.J., for its 14th annual open house. In the parking lot, guests enjoy perusing vendor booths, kids smile as Kennel Manager Diane McKenzie does face painting, and everyone laughs as adults race in the Pooper Scooper Contest, a game with brown and black water-filled balloons that must be picked up with a scooper and placed in buckets at the opposite end of the parking lot. The next scheduled event is a pet costume contest with the hospital's best clients as judges.

Hosting an annual open house lets you thank current clients while attracting new ones. The event often garners media attention and boosts staff morale. To plan a successful event, follow these steps.

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Preventive care plans can increase monthly visits

At age 12, Kodi was diagnosed with cancer, adding to his multiple medical problems. When veterinarians at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital in Waterford, Mich., wanted to perform ultrasound, blood work, and x-rays, Kodi’s family easily said yes. Kodi has been enrolled in a senior preventive care plan for four years, which has unlimited exams, vaccines, heartworm test, intestinal parasite screens, deworming, EKG, blood pressure check, tonometry, abdominal ultrasound, chest and abdominal x-rays, and senior preventive blood work. Because core medical services are on monthly payments, Kodi’s family could afford the level of cancer treatments that their dog needed. Early adopters of wellness plans are seeing increases in patient visits while also boosting compliance. Here are benefits that hospitals have discovered during the kickoff years of wellness plans.

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Don't risk losing your pharmacy income

Veterinarians own majority market share of the $4 billion pet medication market. But Internet and retail pharmacies have tasted success with flea/tick sales, and now they’re hungry for pet prescriptions, which are projected to grow to $9.3 billion in 2015. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reports pharmacy, food and over-the-counter product income makes up 26 percent of gross income in small animal practices. If pharmacy income shifts to retail and Internet pharmacies, most hospitals couldn’t raise professional fees enough to counter the income decline. Follow these proactive strategies to protect your in-clinic pharmacy.

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Explaining finances with confidence

When Tyson, a 14-week-old Pit Bull puppy was playing with another dog, he fell off the couch and fractured his leg. The pet owner had funds available on his MasterCard for the $1,000 surgery but didn’t want to max out his card. Maureen Lovett, front desk supervisor at Rutland Veterinary Clinic & Surgical Center in Rutland, Vt., explained financing through CareCredit. The client put $500 on his MasterCard and financed the remaining balance. “About 25 percent of our clients need a little extra help beyond their credit cards,” Lovett says. Having access to financing was a win-win outcome for the client and clinic.

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Simple service ideas to enrich clients’ experiences

When clients visit your veterinary hospital, are you just another errand in their busy days, or do you create memorable moments? Here are simple service ideas that will strengthen client relationships and generate referrals.

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Is your receptionist losing $6,000 per month?

When a phone shopper calls your veterinary hospital, does a confident receptionist answer the phone? If grumpy Gloria quotes a price and hangs up without scheduling the exam, she could be costing your clinic $6,000 per month in lost opportunity.

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Reignite your team's passion for poop

While most practices have standards of care for routine testing, few have strategies to ensure strong compliance.  Passion for poop generates impressive income and protects pets and people from zoonotic diseases.

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Veterinarian examining a dog

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