Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

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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Page 54 of 69

51 December 2018/January 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM New Diets Call the following day. Ask if the pet is eating the new food and if any side effects have occurred. Benefits: An opportunity to ad- dress and resolve client concerns and help with food transition. Appointment Confirmations Call a day or two in advance of every scheduled appointment. Confirm details of the visit and provide im- portant pre-procedure instructions. Benefits: Fewer no-shows and less chance a surgery needs to be rescheduled because a pet was fed. New Clients Call the day after the first appoint- ment to welcome the client and patient to the practice. Ask how the pet is doing and whether the client has any questions. Benefits: An opportunity to ad- dress and resolve client concerns. Routine Wellness Appointments Call the day after the appointment to ask how the pet is doing and whether the client has any ques- tions. If a follow-up vaccine ap- pointment was not scheduled, now is a good time to do it. Benefits: An opportunity to ad- dress and resolve client concerns and schedule future visits. Maintaining a robust callback system can be overwhelming if the whole team is not involved. Once system parameters are established, share the workload. Decide which callbacks will be made by the nurs- es, the doctors and the reception- ists. Develop a system that works with your team and staffing levels. The division of responsibility might look like this: VETERINARY NURSE • Post diet change • Routine negative lab results • Post medical appointment • Post routine surgery/dentistry • Hospitalized patient update • Post hospitalization • New medical diagnosis or treatment • Post bandage/cast/splint • Post medication dispensed • Post e-collar DOCTOR • New medical diagnosis/treatment • Comprehensive lab results • Positive lab results • Post-advanced surgery • Hospitalized patient update • Post-hospitalization RECEPTIONIST • New clients • Appointment confirmation • Surgery confirmation • Routine wellness appointment Regardless of the type of callback, the conversation must be documented in the medical record, particularly if the course of treat- ment or home care instructions are modified. Proactive communication allows you to address concerns early and head off patient complications. Don't let voicemail deter you. If you can't reach the client direct- ly, leave a message and ask the client to call back for an update. It's important to consider a client's pre- ferred contact method. Some will want a phone call, but others might prefer email or a text message. The key is to make timely contact. Enhanced communication will improve adherence and compliance rates. Patients will receive the med- ication and treatments prescribed, and clients will accept the services recommended. Your clients will see the value in your efforts. Getting Technical columnist Sandy Walsh is a practice management consul- tant, speaker, writer and instructor for Patterson Veterinary University. Continued from Page 49 PITFALLS AND TIPS Damage limitation clauses are typi- cally negotiable. Most third parties, if pushed, will agree to be solely responsible for at least their own negligence. To negotiate a damage limitation provision, either ask that it be removed altogether or add language stating that the limitation will not apply to the negligence or willful acts of the other party. Waiver of Warranties Example: ABC Corp. supplies all in- formation, materials, work product and any other deliverables under this agreement without any war- ranty, representation or undertak- ing whatsoever, express or implied, including but not limited to, any warranty regarding the efficiency, quality, performance, condition, workmanship, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Parties include a waiver of warran- ties to try to limit their liability if the product or service they pro- vide does not work as intended or causes damages. Not all waivers of warranties are fully enforceable under applicable law, but if you want to hold the other party to its promises about how a service or product will function, a waiver of warranties is problematic. PITFALLS AND TIPS The best option is to negotiate out of the agreement a waiver of warranties. If not possible, consider variations of the warranty to make it somewhat limited without entirely absolving the other party. For exam- ple, you can ask the other party to warrant that the product or service will comply with applicable law, will be delivered in accordance with the provisions and specifications of the contract, and will operate as intend- ed for a certain period of time. Venue Choice for Disputes and Litigation Example: You irrevocably agree that the courts located in your county and state shall have the sole and exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising under, relating to or in connection with the agreement. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? A forum selection clause is intend- ed to make litigation more conve- nient and less expensive for one of the parties by creating a manda- tory obligation to litigate disputes in a certain county and state. The clause is not uniformly enforced in all states, but when it is, it can pro- vide a key advantage to the party that does not have to travel to or engage lawyers in a faraway state. PITFALLS AND TIPS Litigating in another state can be expensive, particularly if the forum includes a county with a large city. If you have strong bargaining pow- er when negotiating the contract, asking for a forum selection clause in your backyard is preferable. As a middle ground, eliminating the provision altogether or choosing a neutral location is a good option. Last Advice Savvy practice owners and man- agers know when it is unwise to review a contract without getting legal advice. My most important tip for you is to consider the big picture, thinking about the mag- nitude and potential for liability in any business contract. If you are even remotely think- ing about selling your practice, a potential buyer will scour the provisions of your contracts and weigh ongoing risks and liabilities. While legal advice is not free, it can be the most important investment you make before you sign on the dotted line. Legal Lingo columnist Nicole Snyder is a partner at Holland and Hart, where she advises clients on mergers, acquisitions and complex employment matters. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association. 4 5

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