What veterinarians can learn from plumbers - DVM
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What veterinarians can learn from plumbers
We can learn a lot from plumbers when it comes to charging for our services


The plunge

People fees must be evaluated based on the needs of your business, not on your competitive environment. If your staff costs are 25 percent of your overall expenses, then new and increased fees on the people side will need to offset your losses from material markup.

Here are some new codes and fees to consider. This list is by no means all-inclusive:

New codes

> Technician time
> Staff time: Assistant
> Staff time: Radiology
> Surgical nursing

New ideas

> Charge for time spent with clients outside of normal hours, not just emergency fees.
> Charge exam-room consultations fees that reflect the time spent consulting, not a boilerplate flat rate.
> Charge additional doctor-care fees during the day beyond the hospitalization fee.
> Charge for time spent by veterinarians on behalf of the patient outside of the exam room (the lawyer's solution).


Veterinary medicine will fail the next generation if we don't change our fee structures. That cannot be done with a gigantic markup on materials. It's time to charge for what we do, not what we sell.

Dr. Lane is a graduate of the University of Illinois. He owns and manages two practices in southern Illinois. Lane completed a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1996. He is a speaker and author of numerous practice-management articles. He also offers a broad range of consulting services. Dr. Lane can be reached at

For a complete list of articles by Dr. Lane, visit http://dvm360.com/lane


Go online to http://dvm360.com/4321 to read about Dr. Michael Riegger's breakdown of clients, what they're looking for, and how you can best satisfy them. If you're more worried about fees than client satisfaction, check out advice from DVM Newsmagazine contributor Marsha L. Heinke, DVM, CPA, CVPM, on setting a fee schedule at http://dvm360.com/feesetting.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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