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Here’s some of what I’ve observed about us practice managers since I’ve been part of VHMA as a member, Board Member, and now your new president:  We are problem solvers. We are optimists and achievers. We have very high expectations — especially for ourselves. All of us needed every bit of that grit to get through 2020 and early 2021. We ran at full speed, dealing with every logistical, emotional, and fiscal challenge.  For what now seems like a minute, things were looking and feeling better. As I don’t have to tell you, it didn’t last.  This is not the September any of us hoped for.  Last fall, Brené Brown said something in her Unlocking Us podcast that ...
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Included in the graphic below are the August, 2021 VetSuccess revenue metrics shown on the Insiders’ Insights KPI dashboard ( https://www.vhma.org/resources/insider-insights ) as well as placeholders for other related metrics that should also be reviewed regularly in order to get a full picture of what’s going on in a practice.  It continues to be difficult to predict the future in veterinary medicine; not that it was ever easy but perhaps easier?  Shown below is revenue growth and patient visit growth data from the VetSuccess sample of about 3,000 practices over the last six months compared to the same six months in 2020.  March and April numbers look crazy ...
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The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) today announced that PetDesk, a company that provides veterinary client engagement technology and solutions for veterinary practices, is the association’s newest Silver Supporting Sponsor. Qualifying companies offering products and services that address the professional business needs of today’s veterinary practices are invited to participate in VHMA’s sponsorship programs. Both VHMA and PetDesk share a common interest to promote business solutions that support the veterinary practice’s mission to provide exceptional care to pets in an ever-changing environment. “In the veterinary industry, ensuring ...
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Dear Friends, Ten years ago, I began serving on the VHMA Board. This experience has provided me with fond memories, career-building experiences, and an opportunity to know many of you on a deeper level. A highlight has been serving as president during the association’s 40th anniversary. Reaching this milestone has prompted VHMA to examine its past, peer into the future, knit together a history of the organization, and highlight landmark developments and personal anecdotes provided by past presidents who were intimately involved in the growth of VHMA. As we close our year of celebration and reflections, I will join the ranks of past presidents. ...
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The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), an association dedicated to enhancing and supporting veterinary management professionals through education, certification, resources, and networking, announced that GuardianVets, a leading provider of veterinary communication solutions and live, virtual support to veterinary professionals, is VHMA’s Silver Supporting Sponsor and will assist veterinary practices with triage support and telehealth. The GuardianVets triage and communications support system can help practices virtually by: Quickly adding virtual CSRs to help manage call volume through Virtual CSR integration , Alleviating the ...
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This month we spoke with Brian Conrad, CVPM, who served as VHMA President from 2015-2017. Brian was the driving force behind the spirited pep rally, a highlight of the 2017 VHMA Business Meeting in New Orleans. Question: How did you enter the veterinary industry? Brian: I got my start in the industry as a 17-year-old volunteer. My first day was one for the books! I arrived at noon and stayed 13 hours. At 1 a.m.,  I finally headed home and was offered a job as I made my way to the parking lot.  As a vet assistant/technician, I took advantage of all learning opportunities and quickly grew into a proficient ...
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Included in the graphic below are the July, 2021 VetSuccess revenue metrics shown on the Insiders’ Insights KPI dashboard ( https://www.vhma.org/resources/insider-insights ) as well as placeholders for other related metrics that should also be reviewed regularly in order to get a full picture of what’s going on in a practice. As we keep saying (!) it has been difficult over the last few months to get any useful info from revenue growth comparisons between 2020 and 2021 because the comparison was between the early months of the pandemic where revenue dropped dramatically for most practices and the same, but very busy months in 2021. However, ...
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Current VHMA members know Gerard Gervasi as 'VHMA's Director of Strategic Partnerships, a position he has held for the past seven years. But Gerard has assumed a number of positions with VHMA and, in this 'month's exploration of 'VHMA's past, present, and future, shares his thoughts from his many years of involvement with the VHMA. Question: Why did you join VHMA? GG : After accepting the Hospital Administrator position at my clinic, I immediately began searching for a group that understood the experiences of managing day-to-day in a veterinary clinic. I was also interested in joining a group that provided networking opportunities. ...
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What’s next?  We briefly saw the light when COVID-19 requirements and restrictions eased. Today, we are back to puzzling the impact of a virulent virus strain, and the rise in COVID-19, and what impact that will have on practice procedures, staff, clients, and patients. Compounding these concerns are staffing issues, angry clients, compassion fatigue, and a host of other problems. During stressful times, we must prioritize health---both mental and physical. Yet, ironically, we do the opposite---we ignore our distress to take care of others. This approach is counterproductive. When we are not healthy, we cannot do our best for others.   Stress is pervasive ...
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Included in the graphic below are the June, 2021 VetSuccess revenue metrics shown on the Insiders’ Insights KPI dashboard ( https://www.vhma.org/resources/insider-insights ) as well as placeholders for other related metrics that should also be reviewed regularly in order to get a full picture of what’s going on in a practice.  It has been difficult over the last few months to get any useful info from revenue growth comparisons between 2020 and 2021 because the comparison was between the early months of the pandemic where revenue dropped dramatically for most practices and the same, but very busy months in 2021. However, this changes in June ...
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Why A Living Wage Matters

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Imagine being employed full-time and working hard to turn in an outstanding performance. Yet,  despite being gainfully employed, providing food and paying rent is a constant struggle. A recent study by Bloomberg found that 44 percent of American workers are low-wage earners who do not earn enough to cover basic living expenses. Living wage versus minimum wage A living wage refers to the income necessary for individuals or families to afford adequate shelter, food, and other necessities. In theory, it is the minimum amount that a worker must earn to support a satisfactory standard of living and also minimize the possibility of sliding into the cycle ...
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The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), in partnership with dvm360®, is pleased to announce the 2021 Practice Manager of the Year, Catherine Coloccia, whose application was selected from more than 140 nominees. The Practice Manager of the Year program celebrates outstanding practice managers who are the backbone of financially healthy and inspired veterinary hospitals. The award program, sponsored by Nationwide®, celebrates outstanding practice managers who are the backbone of financially healthy and inspired veterinary hospitals. Coloccia has been a VHMA member since 2018 and serves as practice manager at Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital in ...
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Fifteen months ago, we were forced to pivot hard! Practically overnight, we modified patient visits, limited client contact, relied on telemedicine, donned masks, washed hands thoroughly and often, and sanitized every surface. In the midst of these changes, practices confronted rising demand for veterinary services, increasing physical and emotional exhaustion among staff, and more and more clients misbehaving due to anger and frustration caused by quarantine, restrictions, and fear. My heartfelt thanks to colleagues and staff who rose to the challenge. The long hours, unsustainable workloads, and unrealistic expectations were overwhelming, but employee ...
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This month we caught up with Susan Pfeiff, CVPM, two weeks into her retirement. Sue held a number of positions on the VHMA Board of Directors and served as president from 2005-2007. At the time of her retirement, she was corporate Regional Operations Director for VCA, managing 10 hospitals in Southern California. Question: What positions did you hold with VHMA? SP : I held every board position except treasurer and assumed the presidency in 2005. I also was an area director. What do you recall about the first VHMA conference you attended? SP: It was Our Personal Best with Mark Opperman in the late 80s or early ...
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The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), announced that Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group™, a company committed to helping pet owners get access to reliable and affordable pet healthcare through its licensed agency is VHMA’s newest Supporting Sponsor. Qualifying companies offering products and services that address the professional business needs of today’s veterinary practices are invited to participate in VHMA’s sponsorship programs. VHMA is an association dedicated to enhancing and supporting veterinary management professionals through education, certification, resources, and networking. “VHMA happily welcomes Crum & Forster Pet ...
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As discussed last month, March 2021 and April 2021 growth looked very dramatic on paper, but much of this was due to the choice of the comparison months; i.e., very strong months in 2021 were compared to the same months in 2020, which happened to be the worst months seen in years in almost all practices. While growth in May 2021 doesn't look as strong as in March and April, we don't know if this is due to a real softening in growth or we still see some monthly comparison issues. Most practices still saw declines in revenue in May 2020, so any comparison to that month is not very meaningful; with the data we have, it isn't possible to determine how much of this ...
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This month we spoke to Peter Ainslie ( PA ), CVPM, who served on the VHMA Board of Directors. Peter’s perspective on the growth and development helps to provide more details about VHMA’s rich history. A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Peter managed, and eventually became part owner of, a multi-hospital group that he sold in 2018. He currently facilitates two Veterinary Study Groups, which he has been involved with for the past 15 years. Question: How long have you been with VHMA? Peter Ainslie, CVPM (PA) : I joined in 1989. Were you employed as a practice manager when you joined? PA: In 1988, ...
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I hope you have been enjoying VHMA's monthly musings from past VHMA presidents to honor the association on its 40th Anniversary. The insights and history provided in these articles have added perspective and personality to the VHMA's development. Thank you to all who have taken the time to ponder the past and consider VHMA's future. Past President Owen McCafferty emphasized the importance of mentoring within the association and stressed that when performed successfully, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle...mentors groom mentees who become mentors to mentees and on and on. To illustrate his point, he highlighted the pivotal role Sue Pfeiff played in mentoring ...
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The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) is pleased to announce that 30 veterinary management professionals recently earned the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) credential. The VHMA’s CVPM credential, which is voluntary, is recognized as the sign of professional achievement and excellence and is awarded to those who demonstrate the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully manage the ever-changing operations of today's veterinary practices. The class of April 2021 includes: Loretta Blair Lisa Marie Brown Chelsea L. Bublitz Bridgett A. Bybee Duran Sarah Cook Lenore Corazza Heather Geyer Jennifer Grefenhaus Stephanie Hart Kevin ...
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As with March 2021, growth in April 2021 looks very dramatic on paper, but much of this is due to April 2020 as a comparison month.  Remember that most practices saw a significant decline in revenue in both March and April 2020 as states shut down due to the pandemic.  With the data we have, it isn’t possible to determine how much of this is “real” growth and how much is just a recapture of the caseload that would have been seen last March and April had the pandemic not hit the U.S. in March 2020. Included in the graphic above are the April 2021 VetSuccess revenue metrics shown on the Insiders’ Insights KPI dashboard (https://www.vhma.org/resources/insider-insights) ...
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