Special Is as Special Does (The Veterinarian)

Today during surgery, an employee of mine was telling me about her previous experience working for one of the big corporate veterinary hospital chains. Her story is similar to a million others I have heard and in some cases, witnessed personally myself; business bastardizing the practice of veterinary medicine and mandating that veterinary support staff rigorously sell, intentionally misinform, and compromise their morals towards customers at the risk of being terminated by their employer if they fail to comply. This employee was told to falsely advertise, promote, and encourage “health plans” to customers, that were essentially lost leaders of misperception and increased cost (not savings). Furthermore, the worst part of the deal was in the fine print of the contract that the customer was required to sign. By signing, it locked the customer into being further exploited for an extended period of time without any recourse or escape. The employee was instructed just to sell the plan and not discuss or point out the fine print (all of the contractual obligations) to anyone. She chose instead to highlight the fine print and encourage careful review of the plan’s details by the customers, so that they might make a fully informed decision about their purchasing options. Eventually, she was unfairly terminated for being honest and forthright to the customers and despite having to undergo three trials in an attempt to block her deserved unemployment pay, she was finally found to be innocent of any crime, delinquency, or misdoings.

This is the type of employee that I have always preferred to have on my hospital team. Such an employee strengthens a hospital by acting for the betterment of all. Supporting, encouraging, and nurturing honesty, integrity, and empathy works in every direction. It isn’t too much to ask of anyone and it saddens me that so many see such an approach from an employee as an inconvenience or a negative character trait. No one is perfect and stones can be cast in any direction, but I want those truly trying; those fighting the good fight for everyone; those that believe it doesn’t have to be “us against them”, by my side, on my staff, and you should want them by your side too.

I am proud of the character of my entire staff and proud of the profound uniqueness of VCC in many regards. It is truly a special place that operates far beyond the expected and tolerated norm. I also do dearly appreciate all of our customers who know and get what I mean without any further explanation. It takes “special” to know “special.” These special customers give us the strength, hope, and faith to believe in ourselves, in others, and the amazing accomplishments that we can attain by continuing to work together in such “special” ways.

Dr. Cribb          2016

Veterinary Medicine and understanding the significance of the ACT in evaluating balanced healthcare for your pet

VCC grew 3.3% in 2013 (from 2012) and had an average client transaction (ACT) of $149.63. These are true, unfabricated or “unadjusted” figures and I happen to be very happy about them.

The ACT describes the average fee or price paid by all customers for each transaction. In other words, it is usually what you can expect to pay for each and every visit at your Vets. Many hospitals or individual Vets have ACTs of $200-$300. True quality medicine costs more and always will, but there should be a balance. Often, the ACT is never advertised, mentioned, or presented to customers because it is a factual indication of what your Vet actually charges everyone (it shows you the true objective pattern of charge structure relating to all clients) and most Vets want to keep that information private. By keeping the ACT private, it prevents customers from being able to understand the actual cost difference and the associated quality difference with those costs between hospitals. Also, you as a customer, can be “tricked” more easily in to spending more for your pet if you think your pet has a “special or unique” condition that requires more testing and treatment, but if you found out every other customer is also paying that “higher” figure for the same supposed reasons, it would display the truth of uneccesary upselling.

VCC will most likely increase its ACT in the next year. With normal inflation and our attempts to become a little more profitable (and we must), I expect our ACT will end up around $160-$175, but that also depends a little on client numbers/visits.

All hospitals are not the same and many have lost the perspective of a rational, balanced, synergistic, sustainable approach. This is my goal and my actions for the last 11 years have proven these words. Please spread this message to anyone you know who might be looking for a Veterinarian (even if it is not me) fighting for these ideals. Your help is sincerely appreciated.

Dr. Cribb