Meet the 2017 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year finalists

Meet the 2017 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year finalists

These 10 top-notch finalists are pros at tackling veterinary practice problems. How will they inspire you?
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Aug 08, 2017
By dvm360.com staff

Click on the individual photos below to read just a tiny snippet of how these veterinary practice managers have contributed to their hospitals. And then be on the lookout for the winner, who will be announced at CVC San Diego in December.

Kyle Wendy Skultety, LVT

 

 

 

Charly Kronberger, BAAS, LVT, CVPM

 

 

 

Jill Bechtel, BS, RVT, CVPM

 

 

 

Molly Lautzenheiser, BSBA, CCFP

 

 

 

Rebecca Rowe, CVPM

 

 

 

Tiffany Consalvo, CVPM

 

 

 

Patrick Fabricatore, MS, CVPM

 

 

 

Amanda Inman, CVPM

 

 

 

Carol Hurst, LVT, CVPM, CVJ

 

 

 

Marshall Liger, LVT, CVPM

 

Kyle Wendy Skultety, LVT

Practice manager
VCA Bayview Animal Hospital
Toms River, New Jersey

 

Home delivery homerun

“When I first arrived at the hospital, I was surprised it hadn’t incorporated home delivery and the online store into routines. It seemed like it would be an excellent tool for establishing reliable recurring income and would free up doctors and technicians. To our staff, however, it was an obscure program requiring additional tasks with no immediate or obvious benefit. Through education, encouragement and repetition, I got my team to buy into and consistently implement the home delivery idea. Now my customer service representatives sign up clients at the front desk, and our technicians use iPads to show clients that it’s just as easy as Amazon.com to sign up and use. The pets never run out of meds and the hospital still makes a profit.”

 

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Charly Kronberger, BAAS, LVT, CVPM

Practice manager
All Pets Animal Hospital and 24-Hour Emergency Care
Katy, Texas

 

Valuable values

“It used to be practice policy to match prices for items that clients found at a cheaper price through an online source. Faxes were constantly coming in and the support staff was having to dig around in medical records and search the internet to verify whatever price an owner might dig up. We were spending a lot of time and money chasing this stuff down, and the support staff was not enjoying their work. And by matching prices, we were demeaning our values. As an AAHA-accredited hospital, we focus on excellence as our standard of care. Price-matching did not fit our mantra. I used my background in industry sales and researched numerous online pharmacies, their payment processing methods and their relationships with vendors and manufacturers. I convinced the hospital owner to switch our online store (which wasn’t user-friendly and didn’t support competitive pricing), and we stopped matching prices. Since then our online store volume has more than doubled and our margins are holding at a comfortable percentage. It’s been a win for our hospital, for the clients and for the pets.”

 

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Jill Bechtel, BS, RVT, CVPM

Practice manager
Nashville Veterinary Specialists
Nashville, Tennessee

 

Smooth (on call) operator

“When I started my hospital administrator role, weekend on-call technicians were being misused. I gathered information from all team members to understand the problems and learned that the main issues stemmed from: 1) a lack of rules for when to call in a technician, 2) a lack of communication between all team members before making the decision to call someone in and 3) specialty techs feeling frustrated that they were called in for ER and expected to cover anesthesia surgery call as well. As a result, I devised a call-in protocol that identified specific parameters that needed to be met as well as approval from leadership before making the call to bring someone in. I also put ER technicians on call for ER and moved specialty techs to cover anesthesia calls for surgeries. The current system is much more clear, and techs are only called in when they’re needed.”

 

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Molly Lautzenheiser, BSBA, CCFP

Practice manager
Avon Lake Animal Clinic
Avon Lake, Ohio

 

Teamwork triumph

“Our business is spread through three buildings and seven departments. With a staff of more than 160 employees, each day brings new challenges and happenings, which I found our managers were facing alone. There seemed to be no time for connection between the different department managers, so I saw an opportunity for improvement through collaboration. In reaching out to them one by one, I learned they were eager to share with and learn from one another. Despite our busy schedules, I rallied the department managers and set the first meeting designed to keep each other abreast of changes, needs and developments. It was a success. Communication, creativity and collaboration ensued. We have since started recognizing the opportunity for cross-training and promotion from within, encouraging staff members to seize the chance to learn a variety of aspects of the business outside of their daily duties. At the managers' request, I present on a different HR topic at each meeting, allowing for continuing education and group discussion. I also created a Slack app group for our management team, which allows us to stay in contact on needs, meeting dates and announcements.”

 

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Rebecca Rowe, CVPM

Practice manager
Seven Hills Pet Clinic
Loveland, Ohio

 

Suggestion box success

“The weekly meeting is the way we introduce our new policies, share knowledge and build a stronger team. While individual patient care is critical in our practice, what we say and how we treat our clients and patients should be the same. Our team has the closest interaction and understanding of these needs, so to access this valuable knowledge, I took our 'suggestion' box in the lobby and changed the meaning. Team members put their suggestions in this box, and I use these suggestions to make our weekly meeting notes. The notes then go to the doctor and owners for their approval and input. This is when new ideas are presented to the doctors for approval. I have found this to be a respectful and professional way to request changes to our policies and procedures. As our meeting notes have become the reference point for our new policies and procedures, I developed a common drive on our server that can be accessed from every computer in the clinic. Employees who miss the weekly meeting must read the meeting notes. Topics from meetings can be easily referenced by searching the folder for the topic, which is helpful if you need to go over a policy that was previously discussed in the meeting. This method helps to keep us consistent and standardized with our policies.”

 

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Tiffany Consalvo, CVPM

Practice manager
Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital
Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania

 

Standard-of-care construction

“Over the first six months of being in this role, I assessed the hospital and realized that we needed to focus on our culture. First, I met with the practice owners to discuss my long-term plans of establishing a culture based on the mission of the hospital. I then listened to their goals and we created a plan for moving forward. We assessed the strengths and weaknesses of individuals on our team and determined which people were natural leaders and who needed to go. After promoting the team leaders, we began to read management books together. We then established monthly meetings that gave the team a platform for solving operational issues. Next, we determined where we needed training and continued to improve our processes. The doctors became our last opportunity for change. Individually, they all practiced good medicine. However, they each had their own recommendations. It was clear that we needed a consistent message from the doctors so we could provide a consistent message to our clients. We became passionate about creating a standard of care that was centered around our mission to provide the best medicine. During our doctors’ meetings, we worked through our recommendations for preventive care and established hospital standards that everyone was comfortable recommending.”

 

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Patrick Fabricatore, MS, CVPM

Practice manager
Perkiomen Animal Hospital
Palm, Pennsylvania

 

CE power to the people (without licenses)!

“In veterinary medicine, whether we like to admit it or not, there seems to be a feeling among team members that CE is only for those with licenses, so I implemented mandatory CE for all team members. It wasn’t about implementing a new company policy that others needed to abide by. It was about building value and assuring all team members that everybody’s contributions matter to us. All team members must have a minimum of 20 hours per year. Some assistants and customer service representatives at first believed they didn’t need CE, but I placed the focus on professional development. They were all encouraged not only to attend job-specific training, but also to seek areas of interest or areas where they believed they could benefit from additional training. At first the program was met with some trepidation, but now they seek out dinner meetings and coordinate their schedules to attend CE they would never have attended otherwise. At each staff meeting or department meeting, team members will present the highlights of their CE to others and are prepared to answer questions.”

 

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Amanda Inman, CVPM

Practice manager
Pet Care Clinic of Kokomo
Kokomo, Indiana

 

Merry meetings

“Our team meetings are my pride and joy. I often go around to individual team members before the meeting requesting that they be the designated speaker on a topic during the meeting. This encourages participation and offers others a chance to enhance their speaking skills. But what really makes our meetings different is that we’ve learned how to make them fun without losing meaning and purpose. Every one of our meetings has a theme. I look at the list of topics and try to find a common thread—like the time we had a lot of concerns with clinic procedures that had to be addressed with care. So that meeting’s theme was 'hot and prickly.' I filled the room with hot tamales, flames and cacti! I was able to start the meeting with a warning that some of the topics that day would be difficult but to hang in as a team to fix things. I always have a gift for the person who volunteers to take minutes, and we often have other giveaways: football tickets, coffee machines, scrubs, dinners and drinkware, to name a few. It’s important to save the clinic money when possible, so we use vendor points for freebies, I watch for sales, and I reuse any decorations I can.”

 

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Carol Hurst, LVT, CVPM, CVJ

Practice manager
ABC Animal & Bird Clinic
Sugar Land, Texas

 

Extra accredited

“Shortly after I was hired, the owner told me that one of his goals was AAHA accreditation. One of my biggest achievements toward this goal was writing our protocol book. My team was involved as well, and each department was able to take its own section and outline what areas we excelled at and what areas needed change. I set goals for when I needed the information (including any new purchases we needed to make), and my team met the necessary deadlines with a sense of pride in the accomplishment. This was something we all worked on together. After passing our accreditation, we celebrated with a party!”

 

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Marshall Liger, LVT, CVPM

Practice manager
Bees Ferry Veterinary Hospital
Charleston, South Carolina

 

Fruitful feedback

“I restructured the monthly staff meetings to make them productive, presenting issues that need to be addressed and also a plan to remedy the issue. For example, we discussed our extended wait times and then explored ways to better schedule appointments and better staff the hospital. I taught my team members statistics and benchmarks that substantiated the plan so they could understand my reasoning. Today, I’m proud to say that clients rarely experience an inappropriate wait time. The meetings also include feedback. I share positive and negative client reviews. When I first started at the hospital, the post-visit client surveys were largely negative. Now they are almost all positive and I love being able to show the team all the compliments clients give them. They earn them! The team can also compliment one another by dropping a ‘shout-out’ card in a locked box in the break room. We end each meeting by presenting all of the shout-outs and congratulating the recipients with praise and fun prizes (like candy and gift cards).”

 

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