Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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31 February/March 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM the pet owner and veterinary team to obtain their approval of the lan- guage and any quotes you includ- ed. Make sure your last paragraph — the description of your practice — is up to date. Then, take one last look for poor grammar and factual errors. Now you're ready to move to the next step: pitching the media. Know Who to Approach The practice of media relations is more art than science, but research is required. Those who excel at earning media placements do their homework before they send a single pitch. The rule of thumb is that you must know who you are pitching. This means the reporter who re- ceives your pitch should be inter- ested in that type of news. How do you figure it out? Just about every outlet has a masthead or web page listing its staff. You may think that sending a pitch to the top person on a list, such as the newspaper publisher, makes sense, but you would be wrong. Instead, you must do research and determine who is responsible for what subjects. You may not find a "pet reporter," so look for someone whose stories have included cover- age of pets or animal wellness. Find a key media contact at each outlet, obtain an email address, and you're ready to distribute the release. Getting the Word Out Once the contact list is pulled to- gether, a personalized email should be sent along with a short note explaining why the release that fol- lows will be of interest. The release should follow the introductory text and not be an attachment. Now comes the art of public relations. Typically, a reporter will not respond immediately to your story idea. You'll need to give the person a bit of time and then follow up with a phone call or email. Don't ask, "Did you receive the release?" Instead, explain why the content of the release is of interest to that person's audience. From there, you will learn whether the contact is interested in your case and the next steps the contact wants to take. These steps typically include telephone or in-person interviews, possibly at the practice, and with the pet owner and animal involved. Anticipated Results There are no guarantees in public relations. Some stories hit and oth- ers miss, so regularly pitch persua- sive and compelling case studies. A good pitch and a smart press release will earn media coverage either in the format of an article, online post or TV segment. The upside for the media is a story that educates the audience of pet owners and animal lovers. The benefit to your practice is the simultaneous promotion of your practice and expertise. Jillian Spitz is a senior account executive at WV Fetching, the pet and veterinary practice division within the communications agency French West Vaughan. Douglas R. Peterson, DVM Dr. Peterson is president of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association. 321.185 Veterinarian-client-patient relationship (3) (a) A veterinarian shall not violate the confidential relationship between the veterinarian and the veterinarian's client. (b) A veterinarian shall not release information concerning a client or care of a client's animal, except on the veterinarian's receipt of: 1. A written authorization or other form of waiver executed by the client; or 2. An appropriate court order or subpoena. (c) A veterinarian who releases information under paragraph (b) of this subsection shall not be liable to any person, including the client, for an action resulting from the disclosure. (d) The privilege provided by this subsection is waived by the client or the owner of an animal treated by the veterinarian to the extent the client or owner places at issue in a civil or criminal proceeding: 1. The nature and extent of the animal's injuries; or 2. The care and treatment of the animal provided by the veterinarian. This was an unintended consequence of a confidentiality law passed several years ago. The Ken- tucky Veterinary Medical Association has made numerous attempts to correct this problem, but thus far we have been stopped by forces within the state. It is an issue the KVMA continues to address. Constrained in Kentucky (Continued from Page 4) Viewpoints I'm not a merchant Dan Truffini's article "Don't sell yourself short" [December 2017/January 2018] is noth- ing less than disgusting. I have spent my entire 36-year career working to correct the public perception that veterinarians are not "real" doc- tors. This contemporary doctrine on veterinary practice management, which emphasizes "tap- ping revenue potential" in every way possible, distorts our image from "medical professional" to "merchant." It does nothing but damage and devalue years of hard-won respect and trust. I am rather a lone voice in this new wilder- ness ruled by MBA wolves, so this old dinosaur is glad to be closer to the end of the road than the beginning, seeing the way in which our profession's mission has mutated, like a virus turning pathogenic, away from providing valued medical services and more toward de- vising new and exciting ways to suck cash out of our clients' pockets. W.S. Furie, DVM Rocky Ridge, Maryland You may think that sending a pitch to the top person on a list, such as the newspaper publisher, makes sense, but you would be wrong.

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