Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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42 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership To strike a balance between the two, many practices have turned to charitable funds and nonprofit formations to intention- ally and measurably care for our pet communities. How to Do It • Define your mission: Who do you desire to help, and why? How much time and resources do you want to spend caring for this group of people and animals? Do you want the entire team involved — is everyone on board? — or a select few? Spend time thoroughly answering these questions and share what you decide with your team. A clearly defined mission will help keep everyone focused as questions come up and curveballs are thrown. • Establish the eligibility criteria: What services and products are you willing to cover? Does the animal have to be an established patient? Will the owner be responsible for a portion of the bill? Will you require the owner to first exhaust third-party financ- ing? A common practice is to designate a case-review team or to define who in the build- ing is allowed to authorize and offer the use of chari- table funds. If you choose a funding structure monitored by a third party, be sure that your mission and eligibility criteria are ultimately aligned with bylaws or guidelines. • Estimate your budget: What is the scope of your mission? How much money do you expect to need to cover expenses? Where will the funding come from? How often will it be replenished? As veterinary professionals, we are charged through personal compassion, moral conviction or even social pressure to care for animals in need when owners lack financial resources. As business owners and managers, we understand that we can't allow our hearts to lead the way to negative financial consequences. Leadership TAKE CHARGE By Abby Suiter, MBA, CVPM Turn hardship into fellowship Start a charity or work closely with one to ensure that the pets of a financially challenged client get the care they need.

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