Blogs

Livin’ the VHMA Life

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I have spent some time recently considering what makes VHMA such an amazing organization. Of course, it was easy to identify so many different reasons, i.e.: advanced continuing education, networking opportunities, CVPM certification, MemberConnect, webinars, Mastermind Groups, on-demand education, our recently published Compensation and Benefit Survey, and the list goes on and on. While these member benefits are certainly tools that differentiate us from others, they are not the real magic that sets us apart. People. It’s the people in our association that elevates our success. It’s the tireless staff who support and advocate for our members. It’s the volunteers ...
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Fraud, embezzlement, and theft are serious threats in veterinary medicine for a majority of practices. The 2016 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, states that roughly 5% of revenues are lost annually due to fraud for the average company. In your practice, this is a result of theft of products/services, counter-productive behaviors such as time theft, and embezzlement of cash from the practice. These are all perpetrated by people and more specifically, people we hire. It stands to reason that to reduce the instance of fraud within our practices, we must hire the best candidates. Candidates that not only can do their jobs and fit in with your ...
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Happy Holidays VHMA

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Anyone else trying frantically to get everything done this holiday season? It seems each year there is more and more to get done and it starts earlier and earlier. I think I saw Christmas decorations in the store the day after Halloween. As much as I enjoy the magic and excitement of the holiday season, I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed with all that is going on. In the midst of all of this, I remind myself that this is the time of year for ‘a few of my favorite things’! You’re probably thinking presents and egg nog. While I do enjoy those things, it is actually budgeting and strategic planning on my mind right now. Hopefully you enjoy these activities ...
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Happy Holidays VHMA! The holiday season is upon us. The fun and festive time when we give thanks, share gifts, spend time with family and drink too much egg nog. It’s such a busy time. Between preparing meals, fighting the crowds at the mall and neighborhood holiday parties, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of what is most important, the people around us that make our lives better. As I think about all the incredible people who are there for me each day, so many of them are also part of my ‘VHMA Family.’ This year has been particularly meaningful for me, as I accept responsibility of building on our great association. I am ...
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Over the years we have seen an evolution in circumstances pertaining to patients that have multiple owners with interests or responsibility for their care. This type of patient may be a family pet; a working animal, breeding stock, show/performance animal, etc. While some of these patients have a single owner depicted as the authorized person to make all decisions for the patient, many do not. Multiple “owners” correlate to multiple “advocates” which can be good for the patient – but there can be obstacles for the practice in providing authorized care. Having protocols in place for patients of this paradigm can improve efficiency in providing treatment, reduce ...
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Fellow VHMAers! It is with great enthusiasm and humility that I assume the role of VHMA President. Among the many responsibilities of this position is the opportunity to reach out to our membership with a monthly President’s message. I hope to share some perspective about our incredible profession, provoke thought and new ideas and perhaps bring a little humor. I began thinking about how to connect with each of you in a meaningful way. ‘What can I say that would provoke thought, be entertaining and encourage the membership to read?’ It was about then that writers block set in and my virtual trash can filled with uninspired drafts. I started thinking perhaps ...
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Hello - we are a smaller clinic (dog and cat only) in So Cal w/ appx. 20 staff members. I am a non-DVM owner (my father is our Medical Director and primary DVM who built and sold the practice to me). I have various management levels and job titles assigned throughout my staff, but need to revise these.  Currently, we have: Hospital Administrator (myself) - oversees all departments (only exception is Medical Director - medical related decisions); main focus on business financials, growth, HR, payroll, accounting, etc. - the 'business side' while still on site 30+ hours / week (much more from home!) putting my 15 years of experience to 'on site use' DVM/Medical ...
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Last President's Address

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There are over 96,000 associations in the United States.  There is an association for just about everything you can imagine. You are likely to belong to at least a few. Many of us belong to organizations related to our personal interests, as well as professional associations that help us advance our skills and further our career.  I have been a member of the VHMA since 2002. Over the last 15 years I have benefited both personally and professionally from being a part of the VHMA. For the past eight years I have had the honor to serve on the VHMA Board and it has been a pleasure to watch an outstanding organization get even better. Membership has grown, programs ...
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It is such a helpless feeling watching the news as the images and video footage continue to come out of Texas and Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. VHMA has approximately 236 members in those two states and our thoughts and prayers are with each one of them, their families and the other millions suffering through this natural disaster. It is sad when it takes a tragedy such as this to remind us of the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. While the majority of us will hopefully never have to endure anything of this magnitude, we all have the potential to experience our own unexpected crisis. How have you planned for such times?  Do ...
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As hospital managers and administrators you know that human resource responsibilities can take up to 70% of your time and attention on a day-to-day basis. The majority of us are either directly or in-directly in charge of new employee hiring. There is certainly an art to the success of this process. Whether you have done it for 20 years or just started, it is something that probably can never be perfected. After all, we are dealing with people and people can be unpredictable. The vast majority of your hiring decisions, if done right, should minimize many of the wrong hiring decisions. As you reflect on your process for the years past, you may be able to recall ...
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I had a unique experience the other day. The perfect storm hit and we had multiple receptionists out sick for the day (and yes, they really were sick). Between our two locations, it was a must that I play the role of the client service representative for the day. Talk about a new and unique perspective. The staff, the clients, our systems, and even our technology looked different that day compared to a normal day in the safe confines of my office. I work hard on maintaining a pulse on our systems and processes, but being right in the middle of it certainly gave me a new viewpoint. I learned a couple things that day.  My staff is amazing and I do not ...
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Summer is upon us and many veterinary hospitals will see a cyclical upswing in business for the “hot” months. In fact, it is not uncommon for the summer months to make or break the financial year with regard to growth and profitability. While increased business is always welcome, we have to balance that with our staff's increased requests for time off during these same months. Our staff can be left a little lean and if left unchecked, can leave missed opportunities and income on the exam room tables.  Generally speaking we tend to react rather than anticipate the increased business. As we react, human nature takes us into survival mode as opposed to opportunity ...
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The airlines seem to be making a BIG splash over the social media airwaves and every other media outlet for the unbecoming actions of a few specific team members. It is a good and yet scary reminder about how quickly one person’s actions can reflect and impact an entire company. Think about it, the two airlines that have really made headlines as of late employ thousands of people, fly passengers around the globe everyday safely I might add and have some really amazing programs that give back to include our military service men and women. In other words, there are many things they get right each hour of each day. I am in no way defending the actions that have ...
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Agreements – they are a part of our everyday life. Whether casual or formal, business or personal, implied or expressed, there is just simply no avoiding them. As we all know, in practice operations there is a constant churn of agreements being executed, fulfilled, and sometimes broken. Often when terms within an agreement are compromised or outright broken, so too can the relationships they once served to benefit. To uphold relationships and outcomes, consider the level of detail and delineation of terms used in building the framework of agreements that you enter. Things just don’t always work out. It happens. Accepting this reality places most of us ahead ...
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Spring Cleaning

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Spring has sprung. While many of us are smelling daffodils unfortunately some are still dealing with snow and ice. Regardless of your weather conditions it's time to think about spring cleaning. Spring cleaning for the manager should be more than just cleaning or organizing your desk (although some in my practice would say that is where I should put all of my energy). It's addressing areas of the practice that need to be “cleaned-up” or re-evaluated for efficiently and effectiveness. It may not be glamourous or even fun for that matter but I would argue necessary for the health of the practice. I recently created my own spring cleaning list ...
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Managing a veterinary practice can be a daunting and a lonely task. So many aspects of the practice's management deserve your full attention yet urgent daily matters arise that require your immediate attention. So what is a manager to do? How does a manager juggle it all? Is there a magic formula or recipe you can follow to ensure success with limited time and resources? Unfortunately there is no magic bullet. For me I find that I need to continuingly remind and refocus myself on the ultimate task at hand - the mission of the practice. Why we do what we do! For our practice the ultimate goal is to create a profitable business focused on providing quality ...
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Oops!...I Did it Again!

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I just returned from Southern California where VHMA hosted a productive Management Exchange. I was pleased to see so many managers participating in the event, sharing information and supporting their colleagues and the association. “Triumphs and Blunders,” one of the Exchange’s most popular sessions, shined the spotlight on members who candidly discussed and evaluated their responses to management incidents. They shared the good, the bad and the ugly so that others could learn from their experiences. For me, it was an opportunity to focus on the lessons learned from a management lapse that culminated in a social media nightmare. The ...
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I had the distinct pleasure of co-presenting the Practice Manager of the Year award earlier this month in sunny San Diego, California during the CVC West conference. Congratulations to Judi Bailey, CVPM and the hospital administrator at Loving Hands Animal Clinic in Alpharetta, Georgia as the 2016 Practice Manager of the Year presented by VHMA and DVM360. Her accomplishments were vast but more importantly her leadership and dedication to her team and the clients and pets they serve was impressive. Her attitude and take on life is contagious. While this award was to highlight her accomplishments, she was quick to thank her supporting family and hospital team. ...
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Employee moonlighting is an age old paradigm within the workplace. It has been generally accepted as common place for employees seeking additional income opportunities, acquiring further knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) (in/out of industry), and for potential career, industry, or educational track changes. Regardless of the motivations, there should be significant consideration of the pros and cons by both employer and employee before “moonlighting” into the sunset. Employers should consider their policies specifically addressing moonlighting and their rationale supporting them. The employer’s fear that work performance of a moonlighting ...
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The 2016 Annual Conference in Vancouver, Washington was beyond a success. I want to personally thank each of our members that joined us representing 39 states and 2 countries. The 2.5 days of education with multiple tracks was intense and relevant to the current and future needs of our industry. The conference also featured multiple off-site activities including tours of some of our integral sponsor’s headquarters. The VHMA Annual business meeting was one of the highlights of the conference and gave an incredible overview of the health of our association. The year in review brought us 6% growth in membership, added member benefits, a healthy bottom ...
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