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Mark Opperman, CVPM

Column: Practice Smarter

Mark Opperman is president and founder of Veterinary Management Consultation Inc. and co-author of “The Art of Veterinary Practice Management, Second Edition.”

Mark Opperman is president and founder of Veterinary Management Consultation Inc. and co-author of “The Art of Veterinary Practice Management, Second Edition.”

exam time

It’s self-exam time

Practice Smarter

All hospitals need an occasional health check. Dive into the numbers, inspect the surroundings and review your digital presence to discover what ails your practice.

Veterinarians recommend that clients bring in their pets at least once a year for a comprehensive physical exam, so maybe it’s time we practice what we preach. When was the last time you did a comprehensive review of your practice and its management? Many practices schedule retreats around the beginning of the year, bringing the […]

manage

Who’s managing your practice?

Practice Smarter

Employees can’t run on autopilot. They need proper training, oversight and feedback. You’re not doing your job if policies aren’t enforced and necessary discipline isn’t meted out.

I was consulting at a veterinary practice when two team members began arguing and yelling at each other in the pharmacy/laboratory area. Clients sitting in exam rooms could hear them, nearby colleagues were aware of what was going on, and the practice manager could not have been more than 10 feet away in her office. […]

bother

What really, really annoys me

Practice Smarter

C’mon, veterinarians, you can do better. You need to stop discounting, and clients need to pay for all services rendered. Oh, and two more things: Dress the part and treat your employees properly. Now get to work!

You might not believe me after reading this article, but few things bug me in life. That is especially true with regard to my personal life. I subscribe to the philosophy “Life is too short, so don’t let the little things bother you.” Some things on the business side of my life, however, do bother […]

timeout

You’re not a babysitter

Practice Smarter

Practice managers are hired to manage. Often, the best approach is to direct team members to make decisions and resolve conflicts on their own.

Recently, while consulting at a veterinary practice, I saw the manager being constantly interrupted by team members. Many times, a line of people formed at the door. One team member was requesting a day off, another was asking for authorization to dispense heartworm medication, another was upset about how a co-worker had treated her, and […]

veterinary team

Be an employer of choice

Practice Smarter

Modest improvements in benefits or pay, or both, can pay off when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. An incentive program can help.

Has hiring employees gotten harder lately? Not just finding veterinarians, but also veterinary nurses and other team members. Naturally, low unemployment is one reason for the problem. Another is the fact that we have underpaid veterinary employees for quite some time. I don’t think any practice purposefully underpays team members. Instead, we do it because […]

doctor compensation

You owe it to yourself

Practice Smarter

Practice owners need to be fairly compensated. A four-tier formula is the answer.

As the owner of your veterinary practice, how do you determine your compensation and benefits? Unfortunately, many practice owners are what I call bottom feeders. That is, whatever amount is left in the bank account at the end of the month is how much they pay themselves. This is not how you should determine your […]

manager

Pro on ProSal

Practice Smarter

Production-based compensation, when implemented correctly, is a win-win for the veterinarian and the practice owner.

An article recently published in this journal [“A Prescription for Change,” October/November 2018] declared that it is time to do away with production-based compensation and “all its ills.” The article went on to proclaim that production-based compensation is no longer viable as a means of compensation for associate veterinarians. I could not disagree more. First […]

Be of service

Practice Smarter

Do the little things to turn an average client experience into one that pet owners will relish and long remember.

We all know that clients determine the quality and value of a veterinary practice based on what they see and experience. Furthermore, this determination is made in the first three minutes that clients come into contact with the practice. This phenomenon is known as perception of value. During a recent onsite consultation, I noticed a […]

An inside job

Practice Smarter

Preventing embezzlement, or at least lowering the risk, starts with the practice owner and entails strict adherence to policies and procedures.

The latest statistics indicate that 1 in 10 veterinary hospitals loses at least $10,000 to embezzlement in a given year. Have you taken precautions so you don’t become a victim, too? Whenever I or one of my firm’s consultants assist a veterinary hospital, we perform a minor audit of the practice’s end-of-day procedures to look […]

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