Animal cruelty is an unfortunate, horrific reality involving innocent beings that are unable to speak up for themselves. Veterinary professionals have a moral, ethical and, in some states, legal obligation to be the voice for these victims.
Animal cruelty is a catchall statement for offenses that include neglect, abuse, abandonment, animal fighting and even practicing veterinary medicine without a license. State laws vary in whether animal cruelty is deemed a misdemeanor or a felony, and they even go so far as to detail which animals are included. For example, New York laws cover “every living creature except a human being,” while in Alaska, protected animals include vertebrates but not fish.
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One of the most difficult conversations to have in the veterinary industry is “the talk”—the end-of-life and euthanasia discussion.
How does one approach clients to tell them their beloved companion must cross the rainbow bridge after 15 or more years together? How does a veterinary practitioner discuss options or bring up memorial keepsakes? What do you do if euthanizing is the only ethical and humane option but the client doesn’t want to let go?
During Global Pet Expo 2015, research firm GfK announced that 35.2% of the US’ 75 million Millennials (people age 18-34) own a pet, compared to 32.8% of Baby Boomers (age 51-70). Millennials like to try the latest technology, will spend more on their pets (including veterinary care and pet services), and are likely to use social media to connect with brands, services, and read online reviews before making their purchase decision (source).
Social media is a powerful tool your clinic can utilize to create, maintain, and grow relationships with clients in your community. It allows you an easy opportunity to organically connect one-on-one with clients to earn their trust, business, and loyalty. However, if you don’t think your clients are on social media, consider this: During the fourth quarter of 2015, Facebook was accessed by close to 1.59 billion users on a monthly basis.
Corporate mergers are on the rise in the veterinary industry. Corporate-owned clinics are armed with mounds of data they utilize to better their clinics every day, educate and persuade pet owners, and work directly with manufacturers to lower product prices and increase margins.
How will you, the privately-owned independent clinic, stay competitive?
The Alliance for Practice Advancement is dedicated to providing you, the independent veterinary clinic owner, the tools and resources needed to get a better handle on your business. Unbury yourself from paperwork, get access to a wealth of knowledge and data, and overcome the fear of change holding you back from true success.
Thank you for your application to join the Alliance for Practice Advancement. Your submission will be reviewed and a representitive from the APA will be in touch shortly.
In the media, and want more information about Veterinary Hospitals Association? Download our 2016 Media Kit!
Established in 1984, VHA is a member-driven association organized to represent the interests of members and the veterinary community. VHA currently serves nearly 400 member veterinary practices and over 800 clinic owners, doctors, veterinary technicians, practice managers, and staff.
VHA is dedicated to building relationships with manufacturers, securing better pricing and margins for its members, providing dignified cremation services, offering affordable business services, and returning most profits to members in the form of a year-end rebate.
VHA contributes to the Minnesota Animal Health Foundation, supports local community organizations, the statewide Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), and helps fund the Elective Small Animal Surgery program at the University of Minnesota.
Mission and Goal
The mission of VHA is to enhance the profitability of each member practice by positively impacting their bottom line. With 100% member invovlement, VHA continues to offer services that either make money or save money for all members. Our goal: to provide better savings, better discounts, better opportunities, and better rebates to our members.
1984 - A group of dedicated veterinarians founded VHA to improve the methods and efficiency of animal hospitals, to cooperate with other veterinary organizations, and to promote and further the best interests of its members.
1985 - VHA began a group purchasing service for members, positively influencing the product availability and pricing in the veterinary marketyplace.
1986 - A pet cremation service was launched to provide a dignified, caring, and ethical means of cremating clients’ pets. It is one of the founding cornerstones of the VHA.
How do veterinary clinics become members?
Clinics and doctors interested in becoming a VHA member need only to visit our site (http://veterinaryha.org/join-now/), call VHA at 651-451-6669 or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join.
Is there a cost to join?
Yes, however compared to industry standards they are nominal. We charge $60 per clinic and $60 per doctor in the clinic to join. For example, if a two doctor practice wants to become a VHA member, the total fee for the year is $180.
Who can become a member of VHA?
Licesnsed veterinary doctors can become members of Veterinary Hospitals Association, and with the doctors’ membership and dues, their staff become members of VHA as well.
Why become a member of the VHA?
We believe in providing our members with quality products and services at affordable prices that have a direct impact on their business’ bottom line. Members of VHA have access to ethical and reliable cremation services, a fully-stocked warehouse providing same-day, next day, and scheduled delivery services, ongoing continuing education opportunities, and access to high-quality business services. As our association grows, so does the power of negotiation we have with leading industry manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers, meaning we help keep costs low for all veterinary clinics in the nation.
What services does VHA provide members?
Cremation, continuing education, access to discounted vendor products and services, resources, business services, and more. Visit http://veterinaryha.org/services to learn more.
Can you connect me with veterinarians for interviews?
Absolutely! We have a number of veterinarians who’s expertise ranges from small animal, companion animal, large animal, and zoology. Contact Stephanie Duncan at email@example.com or 651-451-3325 with your request and needs.
Established in 1984, VHA is a member-driven association organized to represent the interests of members and the veterinary community. VHA currently serves nearly 400 member veterinary practices and over 800 individual members providing group purchasing discounts, cremation services, continuing education credits, and yearly rebates. Visit http://www.veterinaryha.org to learn more, and connect with VHA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Social Media Profiles
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Jeff Benson graduated from Concordia College, and began his career in human healthcare. Moving his way up, he took the position of Vice President of Operations with Eventide Lutheran Home, managing a $10 million budget and securing funding for expansion. From there, Jeff worked a variety of administrator and director roles for senior care living facilities, showcasing his talents for leadership, large budget management, and long-term planning. In 2001, Jeff took the role of General Manager for PharMerica, expanding the supply chain throughout the Midwest and was responsible for doubling the serviceable market.
He was promoted quickly, taking the position of Regional Pharmacy Director and was responsible for four state region with a $140 million operating budget. His talents in growing service markets, increasing revenue, and executive leadership lead Jeff to accept the Executive Director role at Veterinary Hospitals Association in 2011.
Director of Business Services
Jim Poissant began an entry-level career with US Foods, moving quickly up the ranks in his 11 years with the company working at the executive level of several departments, including Human Resources, Finance, Sales, Marketing, and Information Technology. After years of travelling, late nights, and early meetings, Jim realized his career was no longer making him happy, and took a position as Hospital Administrator with a large veterinary hospital. With an outsiders perspective and business mindset, Jim was armed with the thorough knowledge and understanding of corporate business structure, policy, and procedures.
In 2003, Jim launched Veterinary Management Services, bringing his unique perspectives and insights to privately owned practices that lack the tools, experience, and training to comete with corporate practices. In 2015, VMS was aquired by VHA and Jim was named Director of Business Services.
Want more or have additional questions? Contact:
Download the 2016 VHA Media Kit
Quick ReferenceNote: While the VHA and the Members Services Consultants offer assistance to you and your clinic regarding this, and other matters of sensitivity, ultimately the liability of compliance falls on the clinic. Any information compiled and forwarded to clinics is unofficial and to be considered as a resource. Forms that are completed with the assistance of the VHA are merely examples and guidelines.
What is The Red Flags Rule?The Red Flags Rule (11/9/07) is a section of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (“Fact Act”) of 2003 which is a federal law requiring financial institutions and creditors to establish guidelines regarding the prevention of identity theft.
The Red Flags Rule essentially means that clinics and small businesses can be held accountable for identity theft unless they have created a “culture of security” in their office, including:
- Identifying Red Flags in their office
- Creating a written identity and security policy that is approved by a board of directors or a senior level employee
- Updating the accompanying procedures when necessary
- Appointing a person in the office to be a “compliance officer” for these policies
- Training all relevant employees on these policies
- Have evidence of this training
- Ensuring that vendors who are provided with any personal information (ie: credit card processing companies) also have a sufficient policy regarding securing this information
Things to think about are: Who has access to your office (ie: cleaning/maintenance)? Is private information secured in a locked drawer? Are computers secured with encryption and passwords? Do employees have to sign a confidentiality agreement? Are you compliant with FACTA disposal rules (ie: shredding)?
Who Is Required To Follow The Red Flags Rule?On Dec. 18, 2010, President Obama signed into law S. 3987, a bill that removes certain businesses including most veterinary practices and other health care practices from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s “Red Flags Rule.” Although S. 3987 does not specifically mention veterinarians or any other professionals, it exempts from the definition of “creditor” those businesses that merely advance funds on behalf of a person for expenses incidental to a service provided. This definition is narrower than that adopted by the FTC, with the intent of exempting small businesses and other service providers who do not receive payment in full from their clients at the time they provide their services.
Original regulations state that required parties include Financial institutions and “creditors”. This definition was extremely broad and the FTC postponed the compliance date numerous times while lobbyist urged for a clarification of the word “creditors”. AVMA and other medical organizations pushed legislators to exempt us from this rule and finally won when President Obama signed S. 3987 in December 2010.
Adrian Hochstadt, JD, assistant director for state legislative and regulatory affairs in the AVMA Communications Division, states on the AVMA website: “The training and resources we provided not only were designed to help with compliance with this federal rule, but perhaps more important, will help these practices protect themselves,” Hochstadt said. “The federal compliance issue may go away now, but you still have a risk management issue. You still have the expectations that clients have that their private information will be protected.”
Where do I Get information?
AVMA Website –recent info on AVMA’s recommendations, links to training and implementing the plan, FTC info, and press releases: http://www.avma.org/issues/FTC_red_flags_rule.asp
FTC Website – full text of “Red Flags” Rule, How-To guide, Red Flags Rule template, FAQ’s, etc. http://ftc.gov/redflagsrule
What do I need to do if I want to implement a written plan?
The following are choices on how to establish your written plan. No matter which option you choose, the plan should be implemented into the practice and administered to employees with periodic updates and retraining.
Create your own written plan or fill in Red Flag Template offered by FTC. Form and How-To Guide are available online at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/idtheft/bus23.pdf or http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/redflagsrule/RedFlags_forLowRiskBusinesses.pdf
*Information compiled from the FTC website and the AVMA website March 2011
Dalco is one of the largest janitorial and sanitation supply and equipment distributors in the region. They are a family owned company that has been in business since 1959. Dalco sells over 10,000 sku’s and carries all the major manufacturer’s you likely have used or are familiar with, such as Multi-Clean, Kimberly-Clark, Gojo, Rubbermaid, Tennant, Georgia Pacific, Diversey and more.