Letter of the Law: 4 ways to provide transparency in the veterinary workplace - DVM
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Letter of the Law: 4 ways to provide transparency in the veterinary workplace
Veterinary employers would benefit from adopting the sunshiny practices of labor unions and government.


DVM360 MAGAZINE


3 Give access to client lists—but monitor them closely

One reason practice owners give for keeping transaction information close to the vest is that they don't feel comfortable giving an associate a list of clients for any reason. Even when a noncompete agreement is in force, practice owners are notoriously careful about who has access to client lists. This really doesn't need to be a problem. Supply detailed client transaction data to associates for them to review in the hospital under the observation of managerial staff. The doctors can look over the client transaction information and take notes. Smart associates should insist on this quality time with their individual practice transaction data. Why?

When an associate doctor can spend meaningful time with a list of her recent client transactions and information about the fees she's generated, it helps her to see where the practice missed a charge or undercharged for a procedure. She can also make certain she's receiving production credit for all the items her employment contract stipulates. If the associate knows the client's name and can review the charge history closely, it becomes clear as to whether she indeed received appropriate production credit for prescriptions, refills, medicated baths, e-collars, prescription diets and other items that aren't strictly medical services but should inure to her benefit at bonus-calculation time, per the employment contract.

4 Provide some data on other associates

The economy has changed since 2008, and I know this from the types of disputes and issues that come into my office. In 2007, I was hearing from veterinarians who felt they should get higher salaries because their employers were giving them too many cases to handle. Now the situation has switched: Doctors are nervous their employers are not giving them enough cases to allow them to generate a personal bonus. Multi-doctor hospitals are experiencing disputes among associates who claim that one doctor is grabbing appointments from others in order to generate a higher production number.

The solution? Associates who are concerned about their personal revenue generation should be granted access to at least minimal information about the number of clients other associates see in the practice and their average transaction amounts. While names don't need to be attached to these computer-generated transaction figures, this data can help point out where production inequalities lie and how far off out of balance they are.

Dr. Christopher Allen is president of Associates in Veterinary Law P.C., which provides legal and consulting services to veterinarians. Call (607) 754-1510 or e-mail
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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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