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2011 VSIPP Sessions

Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

Track B: Leadership Track: (additional fee)

By Richard DeBowes, DVM, MS, Dipl, ACVA

The Leadership Track is a day-long seminar geared toward improving attendees leadership skills within their practice. Attendees will learn the basics of personal leadership and how it plays a role in their practice. They will analyze their style of thinking and understand the criticality of being open to new ideas and approaches. Attendees will also gather an understanding of emotional intelligence which can lead to more effective connections with others, and who they are and why they do, what they do.

Richard DeBowes is a professor of surgery, associate dean for Veterinary Development and External Relations, and director of the Professional Life Skills Program at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. DeBowes has served as chair of Veterinary Clinical Science Departments at both Kansas State University and Washington State University and on the executive boards of several associations including the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association and the North American Veterinary Conference where he was twice president. A former member of the ACVS Board of Regents and past President of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, Rick has been actively involved in academic and private specialty practice for over 30 years.

Track A: Critical Care Tracks: (additional fee)

8:30-9:45 a.m. Track A-1: Fools Gold: Are You As Profitable As You Think You Are?

By Karyn Felsted

Profitability drives quality patient care, cash flow and practice value. Without it, a practice is the medical equivalent of a patient in organ failure. But just as those patients can be saved, so can practices that are struggling with a lack of financial success. Most practices don’t know if they are profitable or not because they don’t get reports including this information. So the first step is a matter of diagnosis. Practices can be unprofitable for many reasons and it is critical to not only understand whether or not the practice is profitable but also why or why not. Is it a revenue issue or an expense issue? Once that has been determined, a treatment plan must be put in place.

10:00-11:15 a.m. Track A-2: Golden Rules for Optimal Scheduling – Lessons learned in the trenches

By Jim Clark, DVM, MBA

Scheduling doctors and paraprofessionals is one of the greatest challenges in an emergency practice and has tremendous impact on the "bottom line." In this lecture Clark will share "golden rules" for success and candidly discuss what has and has not worked in his practices, how to balance quality medical care with expected financial performance, use of part-time vs. full-time staff, and implications of utilizing an alternative work schedule.

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Track A-3: Discover Design: Unearth Your Hidden Potential

By Jillian Augustine

The interior environment affects the emergency and critical care center owners, staff and clients; now more than ever our environments must multi-task. They must satisfy the patients needs, address the client’s perception of value, increase the potential for additional services, and market your practice. Your interior environment indicates the type of experience your clients will have, even before your staff has the opportunity to interact with them. When a new emergency or critical care center, full-scale renovation or relocation is not a possibility, a minor renovation project may dramatically improve your work environment. In this session, you’ll consider how changes to your built environment could improve: client comfort and education, traffic flow for staff, patients and clients, marketing your brand, space consumed by outdated technology, and more.

1:30-2:45 p.m. Track A-4: Discover Valuable Nuggets by Mining Your Data

By Dick Goebel, DVM

This session utilizes a database of emergency practice operational data from the last five years to examine productivity of veterinarians, staff and facilities, fees, and key expense parameters, and adjusted net earnings. Participants may choose to establish benchmarks for their own practices based on this discussion. Many observers of our industry note that the utilization of our resources in veterinary practice is not very efficient. By examining productivity parameters we can make some assessments regarding the efficiency of our operations. Parameters such as revenue per DVM (FTE), revenue per staff hour, revenue per square foot give us an indication of how efficiently we utilize the major investments in personnel and in our facilities.

3:00-4:15 p.m. Track A-5: The Pot Of Gold Is At The End Of Your ER Budget

By Douglas Hoffman, DVM

Emergency practices have many different challenges every day. They require supplies and drugs that are unique to their discipline of practice which may only be needed occasionally and have equipment needs that rival any specialty practice. However, emergency practices don’t have the luxury of scheduled appointments and predictable income, which may make paying for everything much easier. One tool that can make these challenges easier is a good, detailed budget. A budget is not a tool that you put together at the beginning of the year and put away in a drawer and occasionally look at. It should be a vital management tool that you use to guide you through every decision you make throughout the year. In this session, you will learn how to get the data necessary to make your budget, how to create a basic budget that can become more and more detailed the better you get at it and finally how to use that budget throughout the year to improve your emergency practice’s profitability.

9:00-10:00 a.m. Keynote presentation: Put Away the Lawnmower, Charlie, Those Are Trees Out There!

Keynote by Vicki Hitzges, CSP

Researchers at the Carnegie Foundation devoted a great deal of time and money studying what makes people successful. Their serious, fact-based findings have been translated into this laugh-provoking, motivational presentation. This high-energy keynote will give you tips you can use immediately to attract and keep clients, and build strong relationships both at the office and at home. You'll learn specific rapport-building techniques you can use right away. You'll benefit personally and professionally from attending and you, your clinic and your family will profit from what you will learn.


Vicki Hitzges is a first place award-winner from the National Press Club for reporting ability, she's hosted TV newscasts and talk shows at Dallas affiliates for Fox, CBS and ABC. She developed the skill of relating to an audience in the competitive world of television. She learned to think quickly and communicate clearly while talking to newsmakers like U.S. Presidents' Carter, Reagan and Bush, Clinton and Bush. In fact, she eventually so polished her skills that the National Press Club honored her with a Headliner Award for outstanding reporting ability. From TV, Vicki headed into the field of public relations. One of her clients was America’s foremost motivational teacher, Zig Ziglar. Zig recognized Vicki’s unique ability to communicate and quickly selected her to be one of a handful of speakers he would personally mentor.

2011 VSIPP Sessions

Thursday 10:10-11:00 a.m. concurrent sessions

C1: After the Gold Rush: How to Keep Your Practice Healthy (Part 1)

By Robin Brogdin, MA and Karyn Felsted

It’s no news that recovery from this recession is expected to be slow. What do referral practices need to do to survive and prosper in this new economy? All sorts of facts about the recession and trends in veterinary medicine abound, but what information is critical for you to use in changing your practice? Most studies and reports focus on general practice data, but you can learn a lot from these numbers because they directly impact your practice. Even before the recession, a significant trend in veterinary medicine was apparent— increases in fees and costs of running a veterinary practice, a decline in the number of pet owning households visiting a veterinarian on a regular basis, and others. More important than just hearing about the facts and figures, is using them to steer your practice into the next decade.

C2: Employment Contracts to Reel in Associate Specialists (Part 1)

By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD and Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

If you are a veterinary specialist you focused your medicine career on your specialty of choice. When you need to bring in a good associate to your practice in order to grow your specialty or expand into new specialties, the first step is a great employment contract. Be armed with the basics, and prepared for the negotiations to follow by attending this lecture on employment contracts for associates.

C3: Revenue Flat-lining? Turn the Flat Line into Bottom Line Profit

By Douglas Hoffman, DVM

In this session you will learn some tricks of the trade to improve profitability in your hospital such as: how small changes in scheduling can add up to big savings, how a detailed breakdown of your chart of accounts can show you where to save, how changes in your credit card agreements can improve your cash flow, how adding some types of equipment could save you money, how inventory management can add up to huge savings and more. The economy presents many challenges to running a successful and profitable business but it can also force you to be a better manager and more savvy with your finances. Use this flat income to improve your hospital’s financial health.

C4: Managing Multiple Practices-Opportunity or Insanity

By Jim Clark, DVM, MBA

This session will review some of the challenges and opportunities associated with the management of multiple emergency/specialty practices. Clark will specifically discuss: how to foster collaboration while recognizing important cultural differences; where to find economies of scale; strategies to facilitate training and communication; and systems to simply management tasks.

C5: Using Your Veterinary Software to Effectively Capture Fees In Specialty Practice

By Lloyd Meisels, DVM

In this especially difficult economy, it is more critical than ever that practices capture every charge for every medical/surgical service and for every billable inventory item utilized or prescribed. This presentation will demonstrate a variety of specific methods to minimize missed charges utilizing the practice’s veterinary software along with standardized written hospital policies.

Thursday 11:10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. concurrent sessions

D1: After the Gold Rush: How To Keep Your Practice Healthy (Part 2)

By Robin Brogdon, MA and Karyn Felsted

It’s no news that recovery from this recession is expected to be slow. What do referral practices need to do to survive and prosper in this new economy? All sorts of facts about the recession and trends in veterinary medicine abound, but what information is critical for you to use in changing your practice? Most studies and reports focus on general practice data, but you can learn a lot from these numbers because they directly impact your practice. Even before the recession, a significant trend in veterinary medicine was apparent— increases in fees and costs of running a veterinary practice, a decline in the number of pet owning households visiting a veterinarian on a regular basis, and others. More important than just hearing about the facts and figures, is using them to steer your practice into the next decade.

D2: Employment Contracts To Hook Veterinary Practice Managers (Part 2)

By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD and Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

When you’re tired of managing the practice in between seeing patients and being a specialist, it’s time to turn your trust over to a capable veterinary practice manager. These are employees who have set their career path to intersect with the best referral veterinary practices, and they need to come on board with a formalized employment contract. Come learn the basics and what negotiations to expect when hiring your first or next veterinary practice manager.

D3: Prospecting Design: Stake Your Economic Claim

By Jillian Augustine

Your interior environment indicates the type of experience your clients will have, even before your staff has the opportunity to interact with them. When a new hospital, full-scale renovation or relocation is not a possibility, a minor renovation project may dramatically improve your work environment. In this session, you’ll learn the process and methods of: determining a realistic construction budget and existing conditions that do not support the current standards of a Veterinary Specialty Practice, prioritizing areas of improvement based on optimizing hospital functions, address client comfort and education, and more.

D4: Hospice & Palliative Care: Expanding Options

By Alice Villalobos, DVM, DPNAP

Is it prudent for specialty facilities to dismiss clients who decline “best treatment” options for their sick animals? Is it wise to send sick or terminally ill patients home without further options other than euthanasia or wait and see? Specialty clinics need to rethink the prevailing “either or” model for sick animals. Most specialty facilities and emergency clinics recommend definitive “can do” treatments including surgery for pets suffering from trauma or initially diagnosed with terminal illness or rarely cured cancers. When clients decline or cannot afford a deposit to authorize work up and treatment for their pet, the specialty facility unintentionally puts pressure on them for euthanasia of their beloved pets. This pressure is inherent in the “either or” model and causes emotional stress on the family and the front desk. Do specialty facilities serve the pet, owner, the human-animal bond or the pet with the “either or” model? This model has become routine office policy. But is it ethical from all perspectives?

D5: Diagnosing Resistance: A Management Treatment Plan

By Shawn McVey, MA, MSW

Many veterinary managers are put in their position with relatively no training and certainly no concept of "what should I do first." This lecture is aimed at helping a manager predict what skills will be needed to be successful in their position. Putting a manager in their role without training is akin to promoting an associate to owner with no insight as to the expectations or numbers or how to show themselves as a part of the solution. If you are tired of reporting symptoms instead of solving problems then this lecture will help.

Thursday 1:10-2:00 p.m. concurrent sessions

E1: Is Opportunity Knocking? Know When And If To Answer With A New Satellite

By Douglas Hoffman, DVM and Shawn McVey, MA, MSW

Many referral practices today find that they are under-serving some of their referring communities because their current location is just not convenient enough. Since many referral hospitals have a large circle that they draw from, sometimes the referral base at the edge of these circles can feel left out. With more and more competition moving in, sometimes leveraging your talents in multiple locations may be the best way to compete, protect the “mother ship” and serve those clients that want to use you but can’t get their clients to drive that far. When done correctly, a satellite can really strengthen your practice and put you in a position of strength against competition. However, when done wrong, it can be devastating for the whole business. In this session you will learn what monitoring tools you will need to determine if a satellite is a smart move for your practice.

E2: Prospecting Design: Stake Your Economic Claim

By Jillian Augustine

Your interior environment indicates the type of experience your clients will have, even before your staff has the opportunity to interact with them. When a new hospital, full-scale renovation or relocation is not a possibility, a minor renovation project may dramatically improve your work environment. In this session, you’ll learn the process and methods of: determining a realistic construction budget and existing conditions that do not support the current standards of a Veterinary Specialty Practice, prioritizing areas of improvement based on optimizing hospital functions, address client comfort and education, and more.

E3: Hospice & Palliative Care: Expanding Options

By Alice Villalobos, DVM, DPNAP

Is it prudent for specialty facilities to dismiss clients who decline “best treatment” options for their sick animals? Is it wise to send sick or terminally ill patients home without further options other than euthanasia or wait and see? Specialty clinics need to rethink the prevailing “either or” model for sick animals. Most specialty facilities and emergency clinics recommend definitive “can do” treatments including surgery for pets suffering from trauma or initially diagnosed with terminal illness or rarely cured cancers. When clients decline or cannot afford a deposit to authorize work up and treatment for their pet, the specialty facility unintentionally puts pressure on them for euthanasia of their beloved pets. This pressure is inherent in the “either or” mode and causes emotional stress on the family and the front desk. Do specialty facilities serve the pet, owner, the human-animal bond or the pet with the “either or” model? This model has become routine office policy. But is it ethical from all perspectives?

E4: Is Your Practice 24 Carat or Only Gold In Color?

By Dick Goebel, DVM

This session considers the methodology of valuation, of attributes that enhance value, of attributes that degrade value, and recommendations of steps that may be taken to change value. Valuation methodology has evolved over the years to what is now considered to be a very suitable approach that applies well to the veterinary industry. A calculated value based on the revenue stream of the practice (income approach) is commonly used for a financially healthy practice. A check on the feasibility of the value obtained can be assessed by comparing the calculated value with values of practices that have actually sold (market database). Further, feasibility of the calculated value can be tested by assessing the financial feasibility provided typical purchase agreement conditions and lending scenarios.

E5: Client Communication Skills Every Team Member Needs to Know and Use

By Amanda Donnelly, DVM, MBA

Client communications can be challenging in a referral practice because pet owners are often faced with emotional decisions and costly bills. Developing a team that is highly skilled at client communications is not easy but can be done. This seminar is ideal for anyone who wants to experience less stress and get better results when communicating with clients. You will gain practical tips and learn specific skills to improve client engagement. We will examine real-world examples of how these communication skills can enhance client loyalty and compliance. Attendees of this session will leave knowing evidence-based core communication skills that doctors and staff alike can use immediately to build stronger relationships with clients, resulting in financial benefits for the practice.

2:30-4:40 p.m.Workshop: Are You Fishing For An Exit Plan? (additional fee)

By David McCormick

Most practitioners neglect to plan for their exit from ownership until they are ready to be done "now." As a result, they end up short changing themselves, their client, staff, and the new owner –or at the worst they end up having to just close the door. Who will be the next owner of your practice? Will you sell it all to an unknown doctor, current associate, or one of the consolidators? What will the price be? Do you sell part of your practice or all of it? Will you be able to afford to retire? What about your estate plan? Does it matter to you if your practice value is only 30% of its revenue instead of 70%? Exit planning is not complicated and can be easily done. In this workshop we will explore the necessary steps to create a solid plan as well as the concerns unique for specialists in private practice

1:10-2:00 p.m. Keynote presentation: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Communicate

Keynote by Nancy Kay, DVM

Dr. Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and published in several professional journals and textbooks. She lectures professionally to regional and national audiences, and one of her favorite lecture topics is communication between veterinarians and their clients. Since the release of her book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, Dr. Kay has lectured extensively and written numerous magazine articles on the topic of medical advocacy. She was a featured guest on the popular National Public Radio show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Friday 10:10-11:00 a.m. concurrent sessions

F1: The Role of the CEO and the Administrator

By Robin Brogdon, MA

Exactly what should the CEO focus on? Not too long ago, a strong CEO could single-handedly steer a company to success. In today's accelerated and rapidly changing markets, however, no CEO (or business) can survive very long without a very competent management team made up of highly skilled senior managers. Based on experience and research, it appears a huge gap exists between what CEOs want from their direct reports and what those direct reports think their CEOs want. Many see the disconnect between CEOs and key executives as a wiring problem. Learn to close the gap that exists between what CEOs want from their direct reports and what those direct reports think their CEOs want–to build a functional executive management team and make effective strides towards accomplishing the goals of the business.

F2: Everyday Operating Costs: Are You Healthy

By Jim Clark, DVM, MBA and Kris Boucher and Douglas Hoffman, DVM

Determining the cost of everything that goes on in your emergency/critical care and referral hospital can be a daunting task. Knowing how much it costs to run your hospital allows you to set fees appropriately, pay your staff and doctors and provide a return on investment. The goal of this workshop is to show some of the costs our hospitals track and how these costs differ between our practices. The panel discussion will provide a list of items that can be tracked in an emergency/referral practice, provide data from the panel’s individual hospitals as examples and discuss ranges of benchmarks that the panel tries to achieve for their respective hospitals. We’ll also invite the audience to share their information via polling devices. This will allow anonymity but give everyone an idea of how they stack up to other practices in relation to hospital costs.

F3: Bridging the Gender and Generational Divide

By Micaela Shaughnessy, VMD

Veterinary medicine has changed dramatically over the last decade. It has seen a huge paradigm shift from Baby Boomer men (many practice owners) to Gen X/Y women (not as interested in practice ownership and facing motherhood as a second full-time profession). We need to start addressing this dramatic change and the unique challenges facing the younger, mostly female, generation of veterinarians in order to keep their experience, productiveness and professionalism in the industry. Otherwise, we run the real risk of turning our profession into the stereotype of many other mostly-female jobs. Namely: that of part-time employees (not owners) with low wages and high turnover. This presentation discusses practical suggestions to help the different genders and generations meet each other’s needs while jointly striving to stay profitable in the practice.

F4: The Rising Tide of Malpractice Claims….Regulation of Vets

By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD

The veterinary industry and others who service the pet owning community have promoted the human animal bond in hopes that it would increase the demand for quality health care and promote pet ownership. Well it worked! And with the recognition that pets are important to their owners comes increased accountability for medical mistakes. This presentation gives an overview of what it takes to have a case of malpractice against a veterinarian, provides examples of cases and ends with pearls of wisdom on how to steer clear of the courthouse and the state board.

F5: Putting a Shine on your Staff

By Karyn Felsted

Creating an efficient, productive and polished staff starts with the interview process; 80% of employee turnover is attributed to poor hiring. But once you get the right people you have to keep them and lead them to be the kind of performers you need in your practice. Training a positive and caring practice culture as well as doctors and managers who actually have good management skills are critical. Systems that focus on efficiency and productivity, a compensation system that doesn’t de-motivate employees and ongoing recognition for a job well done are also important.

Friday 11:10 a.m.-12:00 p.m concurrent sessions

G1: Your Opportunity to Increase Profitability Starts with Effective Inventory Management

By Anton Visser

Veterinarians depend daily on supplies and materials to treat their patients. Hospitals must find a system to manage their inventory without raising their overhead due to several negative inventory factors. Anton Visser, President and CEO of Cubex, an inventory technology and software solutions company, has developed specific processes and best practices in inventory management that a hospital can implement to reduce the cost associated with supplies and pharmacy. In this presentation, he will show you how to establish a process that allows your hospital to purchase supplies on a regular basis, avoid mistakes, increase charge capture rates and maintain a steady expense level while transitioning the hospital’s pharmacy and supply management from a cost center to a profit center. In addition, he will review basic metrics to measure the performance of a hospital’s pharmacy and supply business.

G2: Everyday Operating Costs: Are You Healthy?

By Jim Clark, DVM, MBA and Kris Boucher and Douglas Hoffman, DVM

Determining the cost of everything that goes on in your emergency/critical care and referral hospital can be a very daunting task. Knowing how much it costs to run your hospital allows you to set fees appropriately to recapture those costs, pay your staff and doctors and provide a return on investment. The goal of this workshop is to show some of the costs our hospitals track and how these costs differ between our practices (and perhaps from your own practice). The panel discussion will provide a list of items that can be tracked in an emergency/referral practice, provide data from the panel’s individual hospitals as examples and discuss ranges of benchmarks that the panel tries to achieve for their respective hospitals. In the second hour, we will invite the audience to share their information via polling devices. This will allow anonymity but give everyone an idea how they stack up to other practices in relation to hospital costs.

G3: Fishing for Ideas to Build Your Business

By Karyn Gavzer

A referral letter is a tangible marketing tool that can make or break relationships with rDVMs, but it is seldom thought of that way. Too often, a referral letter is seen as a chore– a required, clinical document that must get completed. Referral letters are so much more! How they look, what they say, and when they are sent all make a difference and give rDVMS a reason to trust and believe in you. Learn how to use referral letters to strengthen relationships and build business for your specialty practice with the ideas and tips presented in this session.

G4: The Primary Care Practice & Specialty Practice Together, Why It May Be The Best Model For The Future

By Lloyd Meisels, DVM

As more and more specialists enter private practice they will inevitably compete for referrals from primary care veterinarians (GP’s). Because of the perceived “fear of losing clients to the primary care section of the practice,” many GP’s prefer referring to specialty only referral practices. Traditionally, many specialists in private practice have preferred the specialty only model. As more specialists compete for referrals, it is worthwhile to reexamine the advantages and disadvantages of having a primary care and specialty care combined in one facility. This presentation will cover how the Coral Springs Animal Hospital, Coral Springs, Florida has successfully managed, since 1986, to combine its general practice with a multi-specialty practice while maintaining the trust, and getting referrals from, over 600 general practitioners in South Florida.

G5: Client Communication Skills Every Team Member Needs to Know and Use

By Amanda Donnelly, DVM, MBA

Client communications can be challenging in a referral practice because pet owners are often faced with emotional decisions and costly bills. Developing a team that is highly skilled at client communications is not easy but can be done. This seminar is ideal for anyone who wants to experience less stress and get better results when communicating with clients. You will gain practical tips and learn specific skills to improve client engagement. We will examine real-world examples of how these communication skills can enhance client loyalty and compliance. Attendees of this session will leave knowing evidence-based core communication skills that doctors and staff alike can use immediately to build stronger relationships with clients, resulting in financial benefits for the practice.

Friday 12:10-1:00 p.m. concurrent sessions

H1: Casting the Management Incentive Lure

By Shannon Piggot, CVPM, ACC

Only a practice owner truly thinks like an owner, right? Wrong! The maxim implies your management team does not feel the pressure and reward of ownership, because it is impossible for them to fully own business commitments–to shareholders, investors, or primary care veterinarians. While most business owners agree that transferring the owner mindset to the team would increase productivity and impetus to act responsibly, most practices struggle to implement incentive programs that work. Designing management incentive programs around key business imperatives and realistic rewards systems may put new life in your team. In this session you will be challenged to consider what level of ownership you give your employees and how to create incentive programs to reward efforts. The result of this awareness could propel your business to new heights.

H2: Specialty Practice Alchemy: The Art of Turning Strategy into Tangible Results

By Doug Drew

As most specialty practitioners know it is important to know the financial numbers and metrics of your practice inside and out, but some numbers are more important than others. During this presentation we will discuss a number of the financial ratios and metrics that are important to track over time, and look at how these numbers can and do differ widely from top performing hospitals to underperforming hospitals. We’ll discuss why so many specialty practices have a gap in what they want their performance to be and what performance they actually achieve. In order for any business to understand the gap between the strategy that has been set and the actual results obtained, measurement of key pieces of data is important. Continuously monitoring actual performance is critical, not just taking periodic measurements on a quarterly or annual basis.

H3: Bridging the Gender and Generational Divide

By Micaela Shaughnessy, VMD

Veterinary medicine has changed dramatically over the last decade. It has seen a huge paradigm shift from Baby Boomer men (many practice owners) to Gen X/Y women (not as interested in practice ownership and facing motherhood as a second full-time profession). We need to start addressing this dramatic change and the unique challenges facing the younger, mostly female, generation of veterinarians in order to keep their experience, productiveness and professionalism in the industry. Otherwise, we run the real risk of turning our profession into the stereotype of many other mostly-female jobs. Namely: that of part-time employees (not owners) with low wages and high turnover. My presentations discuss practical suggestions to help the different genders and generations meet each other’s needs while jointly striving to stay profitable in the practice.

H4: Hitting the Vein-Overlooked Revenue in Your Specialty Practice

By Bob Murtaugh, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC

This discussion will focus on management approaches that will increase the revenue and profitability of your specialty hospital. We will explore mining of the client and referring veterinarian database that you “already own.” Do you have a standard recheck protocol for your specialty services? The active medical record database of your hospital should be reviewed quarterly for needed rechecks, “think abouts” that need to be re-connected with, and RDVM “touches.” Do you evaluate your interns and residents abilities to connect with clients and RDVMs? Who grabs the referral calls from clients and RDVMs looking to send cases your way? Do your docs “dicker” and do you know how your specialists rank with regard to “closing the deal” on consult visits? A review of pricing and charge capture methods to snag revenue that is “already in your pocket” will close our discussion of finding the overlooked revenue opportunities in your practice.

H5: Your Golden Nugget: Keeping your Pharmacy Profitable Amidst Steep Competition

By Lowell Ackerman, DVM, DACVD, MBA, MPA

1:00-4:00 p.m. Workshop With Lunch: Making the InterNET Work For You-Get acclimated with the importance of Internet presence and social media (additional fee)

By Mitch Meyerson

This dynamic two- hour presentation will teach you seven essential keys for optimizing your online presence and growing your business. You will learn proven action steps for: building your mailing list, converting more prospects into customers, automating your website, leveraging the power of social media, effectively using online video, increasing accountability and much more. Presented by Mitch Meyerson, author of Mastering Online Marketing, Success Secrets Of The Social Media Marketing Superstars and seven other business and personal growth books. You will also receive a 10-page action manual to guide you to a more dynamic and profitable web-based business.

Saturday 9:00-9:50 a.m. concurrent sessions

I1: Treasures to be found in Evidence Based Marketing – how to dig in the right places!

By Alexis Nahama, DVM

The discipline of marketing can be considered both an art and a science; and practitioners have many ways to gain proficiency. As was customary in the sixteenth century, we could favor the more ‘hands-on learning’ with the hope that the patient survives the ‘trial and error’ approach, or we can focus on the 21st century approach of rigorous application of evidence-base principles.

In this presentation we will illustrate the five levels of ‘evidence-base marketing,’ and propose a modern and rigorous framework for business managers in specialty hospitals. We will review real life examples on how to evaluate the potential and return on investment for promotional, communications or educational initiatives.

I2: How to Truly Reduce Stress

By Frankie Williams, MAOM, SPHR

We’ll explore how to truly reduce stress using three easy steps to realign goals. Time management tips can literally transform your life. Perhaps you have created exciting new goals as you gain confidence in your time management skills, but before too long something happens– you feel crowded and stressed, as if you are carrying a burden you can't shake. What went wrong? Perhaps your goals need rethinking. As you revise goals, your time management strategies can gain traction and that stress you feel scan be converted back into excitement.

I3: Trying To Find Your Profit? Let Your Budget Be the Yellow Brick Road

By Joe Hoelker & Douglas Hoffman, DVM

There is an art to budgeting and projecting revenue but if you have some history to look at and you have been tracking expenses throughout the years, budgeting can provide a pretty accurate representation of the upcoming year. The more accurate the budget, the better you can predict return on investment. In this lecture, I will show you what items you should be tracking to set up a budget, how I set up a budget for my hospital and how manipulations to that budget can adjust your EBITDA. There are many types of budgeting software on the market but I will show a simple Excel program that can be used to work with any ER/Critical care practice or Specialty/ER practice. With this budget, we can track projected revenue, salaries by department, costs of goods sold, admin costs, facility costs, EBITDA and cash flow. Once set up, your budget can be one of your most important management tools used throughout your company for the whole year.

I4: Buy-ology – Cast the right net to understand client buying behaviors

By Shannon Piggot, CVPM, ACC

Just like the basis of all purchase decisions are emotions, client behavior is directly influenced by these mental and physiological needs. Emotions such as anger, love, fear, sadness, joy, grief, jealousy, hurt, belonging, approval and disappointment drive behavior. By understanding buyer behaviors and common motivators, as well as what clients’ truly believe about their pet, specialty health care providers are better able to guide decisions based on best medicine. When a client brings in his or her pet for specialty care, they are agreeing that advanced veterinary services are needed; however, what emotional paycheck is the client expecting as well? More importantly, do our teams know how to recognize and cater to this need on behalf of the pet? This session will help expose the deeply rooted beliefs of your clients in the consultation room.

I5: Costly Mistakes You Can Avoid When Building, Remodeling or Renovating

In this presentation, Wayne will provide insight into the key areas to concentrate your energies in avoiding common mistakes veterinarians make when leading capital improvement projects. He will identify common due diligence shortfalls and help eliminate unrealistic projections that can lead to underperformance. Strategies for successful delegation, site selection, equipment integration, team selection, financing, and municipal approvals will be presented..

Saturday 10:00-10:50 a.m concurrent sessions

J1: Catching Your Customer In The First Few Minutes

By Mitch Meyerson

The explosion of the Internet has created many new and cost effective opportunities for the business owner to gain increased visibility for their products and services. However, it has also dramatically increased the competition for the prospect’s attention as more and more people bring their businesses online. To combat this problem, now more than ever, it is essential that you engage your potential customer in less than 30 seconds or else you may lose them forever.

In this hands-on workshop you will learn and role play how to create a compelling message that generates interest quickly and effectively.

J2: Making Decisions: When and How

By Shawn McVey, MA, MSW

J3: Trying To Find Your Profit? Let Your Budget Be The Yellow Brick Road

By Joe Hoelker & Douglas Hoffman, DVM

There is an art to budgeting and projecting revenue but if you have some history to look at and you have been tracking expenses throughout the years, budgeting can provide a pretty accurate representation of the upcoming year. The more accurate the budget, the better you can predict return on investment. In this lecture, I will show you what items you should be tracking to set up a budget, how I set up a budget for my hospital and how manipulations to that budget can adjust your EBITDA. There are many types of budgeting software on the market but I will show a simple Excel program that can be used to work with any ER/Critical care practice or Specialty/ER practice. With this budget, we can track projected revenue, salaries by department, costs of goods sold, admin costs, facility costs, EBITDA and cash flow. Once set up, your budget can be one of your most important management tools used throughout your company for the whole year.

J4: Selling the Value of the service…and the clients perspective

By Karyn Gavzer

Too often specialists cringe when they are told they have to “sell” what they do. Instead, they should see selling as a systematic, professional and effective form of communication that can help them build relationships with rDVMS and clients which lead to a beneficial outcome for their patients. Invest an hour and learn simple, professional sales strategies and techniques to sell the value of your services and see if it doesn’t change your mind about “selling.”

J5: PENDING

Saturday 10:00-10:50 a.m concurrent sessions

K1: Developing Emotional Intelligence

By Frankie Williams, MAOM, SPHR

Emotional intelligence refers to a wide range of emotional and social skills that are invaluable to individuals in any context. Emotional intelligence involves abilities, competencies and skills relating to understanding and managing one's self and others. Research shows a strong correlation between success at work, and a well developed emotional intelligence. Like other forms of intelligence, such as IQ, emotional intelligence can be assessed and measured. Unlike IQ, which is generally accepted to be stable, emotional intelligence can be developed and improved.

K2: PENDING

K3: The Sea of Electronic Medical Records

By Shannon Piggot, CVPM, ACC

Consent forms, treatment sheets, progress notes, and discharge instructions seem to bob like buoys in rough waters. Specialty practices face unique challenges with electronic medical records, especially in multi-disciplined and separately owned businesses. How can practices make the most of technology while meeting the operational needs of the entire operation? This session will focus on identifying the greatest medical record challenges and sharing best practices of the group. The result will be tips and tricks for your management tackle box.

K4: Hitting The Vein-Overlooked Revenue In Your Specialty Practice

By Bob Murtaugh, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC

This discussion will focus on management approaches that will increase the revenue and profitability of your specialty hospital. We will explore mining of the client and referring veterinarian database that you “already own.” Do you have a standard recheck protocol for your specialty services? The active medical record database of your hospital should be reviewed quarterly for needed rechecks, “think abouts” that need to be re-connected with, and RDVM “touches.” Do you evaluate your interns and residents abilities to connect with clients and RDVMs? Who grabs the referral calls from clients and RDVMs looking to send cases your way? Do your docs “dicker” and do you know how your specialists rank with regard to “closing the deal” on consult visits? A review of pricing and charge capture methods to snag revenue that is “already in your pocket” will close our discussion of finding the overlooked revenue opportunities in your practice.

K5: PENDING

12:45-1:45 p.m. Keynote presentation: Are They Happy at Work? Psychological Paychecks

Keynote by Shawn McVey, MA, MSW

Did you know that employees get more than one check from you? Not only is there an actual paycheck but every employee receives a psychological paycheck as well. The difference is you are aware that you pay in dollars but usually unaware of the opportunity to pay with psychology. Job fit personality, locus of control and the effect of emotions in the workplace all combine to make this key note high impact and educational. We will examine how these factors really affect an employee’s sense of well being and how we can get more from our employees and give them a better sense of being valued just by paying attention to psychological paychecks.


Shawn McVey is the founder and co-owner of Veterinary Specialists in Private Practice (VSIPP). He is a graduate of VMI, Purdue’s Veterinary Management Institute and is the owner of Innovative Veterinary Management Solutions (IVMS), a boutique consulting business that specializes in improving health care delivery systems and correcting workplace culture. Mr. McVey is the former CEO of Eye Care for Animals, a Phoenix, Arizona based veterinary ophthalmology company that holds 24 practices throughout the United States.

1:45-2:45 p.m. General session/panel discussion

Many specialists and general practitioners struggle in their business relationship. Such relationships can lead to the loss of customers, affect the overall communication, referrals and protocol between the GP and specialist. How can GP’s and specialists work better with one another? In this Q&A panel, veterinary specialists will have the opportunity to ask a panel of general practitioners questions that will help lead to a building better working relationship between the two.

3:00-5:00 p.m. General session/panel discussion

Up to 30 percent of veterinary specialist’s practice income derives from pharmaceutical offerings. It’s critical to know how to not only protect this source of income, but to ensure its quality and possibly increase your market and margins at the same time. Unlike human pharmaceuticals, animal medicine is not regulated or overseen by any administration or organization. In this interactive panel of suppliers of pharmaceuticals and representatives, you’ll have the chance to become more aware of quality control and learn how to determine whether the representative selling you pharmaceuticals is a legitimate source.



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GPS Productions, LLC | PO Box 44242 | Phoenix AZ 85064 | Phone: 602-265-7778 | Fax: 602-265-7771

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