Nestle Purina pulls Partners in Wellness program
Effective Nov. 30, Nestlé Purina’s short-lived Partners in Wellness program will be discontinued.
Billed at its introduction in April 2012 as “an effective tool for veterinary practices to help improve patient care, increase client value and drive profitability,” Purina is now telling its participants it’s getting out. “While we believe wellness programs can play a role in the veterinary industry, it’s not the right business decision for us to pursue at this time,” wrote Jill Winte, director of public relations for Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., in an e-mail to dvm360.
Partners in Wellness was developed to be a “turnkey system” veterinary practitioners could use to offer customized preventive-care plans for which clients paid a set monthly fee. PurinaCare, Nestlé Purina’s pet health insurance company, handled client billing and administrative requirements for the program. PurinaCare was acquired by Pethealth Inc. in April 2013, transferring 12,000 policyholders. Nestlé Purina said then what it’s saying now about Partners in Wellness, that the decision “was based on economics and months of careful analysis.”
Nestlé Purina claims that only about 110 clinics participated in Partners in Wellness for a total of 4,800 clients. PAWS (Preventive and Wellness Services), a comparable program offered by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), has nearly double the participants. “While we believe wellness programs can play a role in the veterinary industry, we have determined that the requirements to make this program a long-term success do not align with our long-term business objectives,” Winte says.
According to Purina, it is working with veterinary clinics to transition clients to other wellness plan providers such as PAWS, Avimark Wellness, TruePet and WellPet Prevent Plans, to name a few. “Our veterinary consultants, Partners in Wellness professionals and veterinary team have been contacting actively participating Partners in Wellness clinics to discuss any impact to their business, to provide information regarding alternative wellness solutions and to communicate specific resources that may be available to the clinic,” Winte says.