VHMA Announces First “Transforming the Practice” Award Winner
Dr. Elizabeth Fritzler, DVM, CVPM Rebuilds Animal Hospital for a Major Boost in Service and Efficiency
October 25, 2010 (Alachua, Fl.): The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) today named Elizabeth Fritzler, DVM, CVPM, winner of the first VHMA Transforming the Practice Award. The accolade comes with a free pass to the 2011 VHMA Annual Meeting and Conference in San Antonio, Texas, as well as recognition in the association’s newsletter, Practice Pulse. Fritzler is co-owner of Lien Animal Clinic in Seattle.
The Transforming the Practice Award identifies and rewards excellence among veterinary hospital managers, and highlights strategies that have been effective in improving practice performance. Winners are selected based on one or more of four criteria: increase in productivity, increase in revenue, decrease in expenses, and increase in Practice Value Estimate. Candidates must be members of VHMA and must have participated in the VHMA Practice Diagnostic Survey for two consecutive years.
Darren Osborne, MA, economic researcher for VHMA, praised Fritzler’s changes to fees, staffing levels, and expenses. Over the course of the year, the changes resulted in higher revenues, lower costs, and an improved bottom line. In a tough economy, says Osborne, “this was quite an accomplishment.”
Fritzler, a VHMA member since 2006, credits earning a certified veterinary practice manager accreditation with positioning her for the honor. “Getting the CVPM really allowed me to take our approach to practice management to the next level,” she says. Those practice management skills led to a complete rebuilding of their practice—starting with the building itself.
Lien Animal Clinic first opened its doors in 1951. Fritzler and her husband, Dr. Timothy R. Kraabel, bought the practice from its second owner in 1999. From the day they took over, the structure was showing its age. The 2,800-square-foot facility had only 2,200 square feet of usable space, with odd hallways, scattered storage areas, and a dated layout.
So they built a brand-new 4,000-square-foot building right in the parking lot. The old building was knocked down and the land was used for the new parking lot. The whole project came in under budget and the practice began operating in the new facility in July 2009.
Doubling the space allowed Dr. Fritzler & Dr. Kraabel to maximize usable space, expand the treatment areas, add exam rooms and to add six more staff members, including a receptionist, two licensed technicians, and a veterinary assistant.
The renovation also included a major update to the computer system. Dr. Fritzler & Dr. Kraabel increased the number of computers from seven to 24, and went paperless with an upgrade from a DVMax system to an Impromed Infinity practice management software system, something that was not even an option in the old building.
“The move and the computer change were stressful, but the staff did great,” said Fritzler. “They were excited and our clients have responded very well, too.” She added that great care was taken to ensure no major fee increases were imposed on her clients.
“We are thrilled to present Dr. Fritzler with the first Transforming the Practice award,” said Christine Shupe, VHMA executive director. “The expansion of Lien Animal Clinic, the investment in new technology, and the creation of new jobs in veterinary medicine were exemplary practice improvements. Lien Animal Clinic can serve as a model for all veterinary hospital managers.”