DVM Newsmakers: 'Remember theTitans;' Big practice, big medicine: Is the standard of care changing?

DVM Newsmakers: 'Remember theTitans;' Big practice, big medicine: Is the standard of care changing?

Mar 01, 2005

It's considered the largest privately-owned veterinary practice in the country tipping the scales at 58,631 square feet. For Dr. Anthony J. DeCarlo and partner Dr. Thomas S. Trotter, the distinction wasn't even part of the design.

The building, on the other hand, was "a result of what kind of practice we wanted to have," DeCarlo tells DVM Newsmagazine. "Our goal was never to be bigger than the next guy; it was to design a building that met our needs, and this was the end result."

This project was the culmination of about $15 million in total costs and five years of planning, initially soured with a frustrating financing deal that ultimately was sweetened by the courts.

DeCarlo, who focused his practice on neurology before becoming a full-time hospital director, was asked about this project, his practice philosophy, client demand and the changing sophistication of medicine.

"Even from day one, which was in a 800-square-foot dumpy little building, this practice was built around an attitude. The attitude was about being professional and offering the best service we can to clients."

The attitude grew, and so did its staff.

The new practice employs about 240 people — 40 veterinarians, 85 technicians and a slew of support staff. DeCarlo and Trotter also own South Jersey Emergency Service and a physical rehabilitation facility (add another 30 people).

Marching orders for Red Bank Veterinary Hospital staff are simple: Base medical decisions on the best interests of clients and patients. "One thing we all learn at a point in our life is that everything we do as veterinarians is about people. I always cringe when I hear people say I want to be a veterinarian but I don't like people,"says co-owner Anthony J. DeCarlo, DVM.
This general and specialty-service combination offers an array of specialties, including cardiology, neurology, dentistry and oral surgery, internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology and surgery, and a suite of state-of-the-art technology, including MRI, CT, digital radiography and radiation.

Complex structure, simple mandate DeCarlo admits that his guiding management principles are simple.

Take care of your staff and your clients, and you will succeed.

It's the intellectual capital in the practice that makes it move, he says. When you strip away the 280 tons of structural steel or the 24,000 square feet of marble panels or even the 3,000-gallon salt-water aquarium in the reception area, it's the practice's staff who ultimately determines success or failure.

"That is the exciting part, putting a good group of people together who like working together. It is also the challenge. As you get more and more employees, it becomes a bigger and bigger challenge. There is no question the biggest challenge in running any business should be your staff."

DeCarlo asks all of his managers to watch the movie "Remember the Titans". "There is a really good line in that movie: 'Attitude reflects leadership'. I really believe that.