Business Certificate Program
University of Pennsylvania
This presentation entails a discussion of the future of veterinary medicine and the bridges that must be built in order to advance our field into the highest level of achievement. These last few years have shed a light on the importance of business education to both the practicing veterinarian and the veterinary student. Clearly this "new" outlook has brought about a revolution in veterinary education as more and more schools strive to produce well-rounded students who have the necessary knowledge to excel in both the veterinary field and in life. Thank you so much for your time as we present to you some of our goals for veterinary business education for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Veterinary Business Management Association
The VBMA is a student-managed organization at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, intent on improving the veterinary profession through increasing business knowledge. We share the belief of many other veterinary professionals-- in order to provide the best care for animals, we need to increase our knowledge about veterinary practice management so that we can better serve our clients through this increased understanding. Though veterinary business management issues are a primary concern, our organization is not limited to solely promoting veterinary business management issues. Others issues include managing debt, how to plan for the future, client interaction, and the importance of managing personal finances. It is our belief that a veterinarian cannot be successful professionally without fust having a firm control of their personal finances. We have chosen to view ourselves as an association, because we find the title of a "club" to be constrictive. The VBMA is an association because it is inclusive to all that wish to learn about veterinary business issues: including veterinary students and practicing veterinarians. In addition this association has been created for and is controlled by all those that are concerned with broadening their knowledge of the veterinary business. We have several goals that we would like to see the VBMA fulfill: Increase student and veterinarian interest and awareness regarding their financial affairs, entry into the job market, personal management skills, and opportunities that are available to persons with a VMD/DVM degree. Involve students and veterinarians in discussions with knowledgeable veterinary practice management consultants and advisors. Provide a forum for learning life skills and the principles of successful business management.
A business certificate is the ideal integration of all three goals. It is with this philosophy that we set out to create a program that would be useful to veterinary students of all career paths.
Why is Veterinary Business Education Necessary?
I. The Brakke Study - In 1998, a special case study was prepared to measure veterinarians' approaches to providing and pricing clinical services. The study made the following conclusions: Many veterinarians are not earning up to their potential because of a lack of financial expertise and/or because of the failure to use management practices proven to improve business performance. Many veterinarians set lower prices for services or offer less aggressive treatment options to clients on the basis of their perception of client resources. This represents a highly questionable judgment that can negatively affect veterinarians' income and the standard of care offered to animals. Many veterinarians represented in the study were quick to suggest euthanasia instead of treatment for a difficult to treat case, despite the suggestion of a strong human-animal bond between client and patient. Veterinarians exert influence over their incomes in the number of hours and weeks they choose to work per year, and in the size and economic level of the communities in which they choose to practice. Although not all veterinarians are satisfied with their current incomes, there is a significant minority of veterinarians who are satisfied. Female veterinarians are satisfied with incomes that are much lower than their male counterparts. Currently, male veterinarians make 33% more on average than female veterinarians for the same number of hours worked. Incomes are not likely to increase substantially unless veterinarians, especially female veterinarians, set their expectations higher. Much of the difference between the mean incomes of men and women cannot be explained by the factors addressed in this study. It is important for the profession to invest in further research to determine whether and how incomes can be equalized, as well as elevated, for women and men.
Reference: JAVMA, Vol 217, No.3, August 1, 2000
Fellow Veterinary Schools - Several veterinary schools have begun business education programs. Here are a few and the associated curriculum: Iowa State University o The Iowa State Veterinary School has established a business minor in association with the Iowa State School of Business. The purpose of this minor is to educate non-business students at Iowa State University about entrepreneurship. The program focuses on providing the knowledge and skills needed to start and grow new ventures.
Michigan State University o Michigan State Veterinary School offers a three week clerkship that features the following seminars: - Leadership Skills Training - Personal and Professional Financial Planning - Conflict Management - Communication and Goal Setting - The Role of Veterinary Technicians in the Practice Colorado State University o Colorado State Veterinary School states the following about their joint DVM/MBA program: - “The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) and College of Business have created a combined 5-year program of study that can result in earning both the Masters of Business Administration degree and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Admitted and alternate applicants to the Professional Veterinary Medical (PVM) Program are encouraged to consider extending their veterinary education to include a I-year start to an MBA degree. After successfully completing the first year of the MBA Program, students will be guaranteed admission to the first year of the PVM Program and will be expected to complete the remaining MBA course requirements concurrently with the first two years of PVM curriculum. We have reserved five positions in the PVM Program in Fall 2003 for students who will begin their MBA studies as part of this program in Fall 2002. - While entry into the combined MBA/DVM Program will incur additional tuition costs for the first year of the MBA and joint registration during the 1st and 2nd year of the PVM Program, we are convinced that the additional training may result in improved income-earning potential upon graduation for practicing veterinarians, as well as additional career opportunities in practice management consulting-related positions”
Advantages of a VBMA Certificate Program
Student Interest o In 2004, 94% of the Class of 2004 stated interest in veterinary business education. o Within a period of one week, 100 students enrolled in the Vet School/Wharton SBDC Certificate Program o In a recent poll (April 2003), at least 85% of the Class of 2006 state that they would attend a program like this. o Our first talk, “The Art of Successful Client Communication” had 102 students in attendance. Controlled by the Veterinary School o All courses offered would be specific to veterinary medicine taught by professionals who work primarily or exclusively in the veterinary field. o Courses can be designed to complement the business offerings already included in the veterinary school curriculum. o Certificate Program managed by appointed representative (Certificate Coordinator) receiving a stipend for his/her work. o Certificate Coordinator would be overseen by VBMA Council and VBMA advisors and monitored by school administration. Knowledge o The program would consist of 40 – 50 hours of required veterinary business management education. o Practical issues taught by top professionals in the veterinary field. Speaker Access o Our unique metropolitan setting lends itself an easy access to many successful veterinary professional and easy airport access for those who are far away. o The list of speakers who have agreed to teach a course or courses is as follows:
Larry McCormick, DVM, MBA, CBA
Dr. McCormick has practiced in small animal medicine since graduating from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University in 1967. In 1973, he established the Animal Medical Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania. Beginning as a solo practice, the hospital has grown to an AAHA accredited, four veterinarian practice employing eighteen staff members. The practice was featured as a "Practice of Excellence@" in Veterinary Economics, December 1996. In 1988, Dr. McCormick designed, constructed and initiated a second successful small animal hospital in the State College, P A area. Dr. McCormick has performed over 50 business valuation appraisals of veterinary practices. He has also been involved in numerous lectures, presentations, conference workshops and consultations involving both veterinary management and valuation issues. He is currently active in the Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors (A VPMCA) as the Chair of the Valuation Standards Committee
James F. Wilson, DVM, JD
Dr. Wilson graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University in 1967 and UCLA's School of Law in 1973. During the next 13 years in California, Dr. Wilson practiced emergency medicine, became a full partner in a small animal practice in Concord, CA and served as a visiting lecturer at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine teaching veterinary law, ethics and business management. Dr. Wilson has authored four books and over 120 articles in various veterinary journals on the subjects of veterinary law, practice management, pet health insurance and quality ear care. His published books are Law and Ethics of the Veterinary Profession. Veterinary Receptionist's Training Manual. Legal Consent Forms for Veterinary Practices and Contracts. Benefits and Practice Management for the Veterinary Profession. Since 1988, Dr. Wilson has been consulting with veterinary practitioners around the U. S. on such issues as personnel management motivation, establishing appropriate fee schedules, developing effective marketing strategies, employment contracts, and strategic business planning. He is currently active in the Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors (A VPMCA) as one of its directors.
David McCormick, MS
Mr. McCormick joined PVMC in 1999 bringing the broad background of education and experience that provide additional views from outside “the box” which helps to expand our perspectives and approaches. His specialty is veterinary demographics and market analysis, both of which are very important and often under utilized management tools. He strongly believes that significant information can be learned by examining a practice’s client base and the demographics and potentials of the surrounding community. This information once revealed can contribute greatly to effective practice management decisions regarding expansion growth and more. In addition to demographic analysis, David is also an independent business appraiser with his father, Larry F. McCormick, DVM, CBA. He has completed the Institute of Business Appraiser’s education and training for business valuation and will be completing the process to receive the coveted Certified Business Appraiser designation in Spring 2002. He is currently the Secretary and Chair of the Membership Committee of the Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors (AVPMCA.)
Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
Dr. Lacroix received her DVM in 1988 from the University of California Davis. After completing a large animal internship at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, she worked as an associate in a six doctor equine medical and surgical practice located in Northern New Jersey. In pursuit of her goal to make greater contributions to the veterinary profession and the equine industry, Dr. Lacroix attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received her Juris Doctor in 1997. Dr. Lacroix has co-authored several articles which have been published in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association, Veterinary Economics, DVM Magazine, Veterinary Forum and AAHA publications. Dr. Lacroix has also contributed to the drafting of Legal Consent Forms for Veterinary Practices, published by Priority Press Publications, Ltd. Additionally, Dr. Lacroix has authored several works on the topic of animal abuse, including an article titled Another Weapon for Combating Family Violence: Prevention of Animal Abuse, published in Volume 4 of the Animal Law Journal and a chapter titled State Animal Anti-Cruelty Laws published in AAHA's Veterinary Guide to Recognizing and Reporting Animal Abuse. Dr. Lacroix also continues to practice part time as veterinarian for the American Horse Show Association and for various practices in New Jersey.
Gary Burge, DVM
Dr. Gary Burge earned his veterinary degree from the University of California at Davis and began his career as an associate veterinarian at Newport Harbor Animal Hospital in Costa Mesa, California. He became the managing partner in 1979 and full owner in 1981. Through 1994, Dr. Burge acquired and sold multiple practices, owning as many as 11 veterinary hospitals at one time. In 1996, Dr. Burge merged five animal hospitals that he owned into the National PetCare Center, along with two animal hospitals in which he was a partner.
Gary Glassman, CPA
Mr. Glassman has concentrated his efforts in the field of veterinary practice management over the last 15 years. He has worked extensively with veterinarians, assisting them with useful interpretive financial results, tax planning, practice valuations, and structuring buy/sell agreements. He is a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, the Institute of Business Appraisers, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Veterinary Economics.
Mary Ann Vande Linde, DVM
Dr. Vande Linde, a 1985 graduate of the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, spent more than four years in private practice with the Animal Health Center in Valdosta, Georgia. Her career background includes teaching at various veterinary schools and colleges, technicisans’ schools, and veterinary conferences as well as working on the management teams at such corporations as Hill’s Pet Nutrition, IDEXX Laboratories, and Novartis Animal Health US. Dr. Vande Linde has a strong background in the field of Veterinary Medicine that enhances her position as a consultant and educator. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, and the Greater Atlanta Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Vande Linde currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and often shares her veterinary experiences with the veterinary medical association, television, radio and print mediums. Her special interest is client communications for diagnosis, treatment, and management of small animal disease as well as total pet wellness and quality of life.
David Grant, DVM
Dr. Grant graduated from The Ohio State University in 1986 with degrees in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. He has owned a small animal practice for several years in Denton, Texas and is President and Founder of RSVP& ACT, Inc. (a staffing resource and training company that currently staffs over 300 hospitals and provides training RSVP (Relief Services for Veterinary Practitioners) was established in 1992 to meet the temporary and permanent staffing needs of North Texas Veterinary Hospitals. This highly successful staffing service has placed hundreds of doctors and technicians throughout Texas. In 1996, Animal Care Training Programs, a division of RSVP & ACT, Inc, released the first turn-key staff training video program. Since then, ACT has developed 36 training videos and 6 training programs, utilizing some of the finest veterinary specialists in the country. These tapes have gained international recognition and are clearly the finest staff training resource available for training veterinary hospital staff. Dr. Grant has also recently developed training programs for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and AAHA. Since 1992, Dr. Grant has been a regular speaker for the TVMA, TACA, HSUS and NACA on a variety of topics related to training. Most recently Dr. Grant has developed the VetEd Tablet. This innovative technology and educational resource is revolutionizing veterinary hospitals across the country. Dr. Grant now resides in Denton, Texas with his wife, two children, his cat and his Golden Retriever.
Christine Johnson, CPA
Ms. Johnson graduated from Temple University in January 2000 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. She is a Senior Tax Accountant with a Regional Accounting firm located in Horsham, PA and is partnering with Dr. James Wilson, DVM, JD of Priority Veterinary Management Consultants concentrating on practice valuations, business consulting, presentations and tax planning in the veterinary profession. As a recent graduate, she is familiar with student debt and personal budgets. Ms. Johnson is a member of the Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors (AVPMCA) and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
I. Valuation and Demographics – Selecting the Right Veterinary Practice and Appraising its Value I and II - How important is location, what are the typical boundaries of veterinary practice trade areas, and how do they impact on a practice’s income? This two–session course starts with a demographic analysis, then focuses on the multitude of factors that drive values of veterinary practices up or down. Students also will be introduced to the variety of appraisal methods used to establish the sales value of practices. Creating an Effective Veterinary Business Plan - If you don’t know where you are going, it is unlikely you will get there, and no one will lend you any money for your journey. This session looks at the components of a sound business plan, the resources needed to develop one, and why lenders require one. Good business plans answer the “What if” questions regarding the fruits of growth and risks for failure, while serving as a blueprint for process. Veterinary Practice Start-Ups and Expansions – A Legal Quaqmire - Sole proprietorships, C-corporations, S-corporations, PCs, LLCs, LLPs? Whew? These are the options for selecting the type of business in which one whishes to operate. Next come leases, loans, partnerships, and shareholder agreements, letters of intent, offers of purchase, restrictive covenants, and a set of terms for the acquisition of a practice. No one can start or buy a veterinary practice without knowing the legal pitfalls and methods used to avoid them. This session will provide a thumbnail sketch of the issues and how to find the answers. Financing for Practice Startups and Acquisitions - Financing is a complex issue. It is important to know what financial institutions require from their borrowers and what these potential buyers should do to prepare for this process. This class will provide an overview of the whole process and help students establish excellent credit history now. Mechanics of Accounting and Bookkeeping - How to read financial statements and develop basic accounting practices that allow you to understand the financial progress of your practice and support financial and managerial decision making. Managerial Accounting I - Students will learn how to read and interpret veterinary hospital financial statements and how to use them to improve financial performance. An emphasis will be made to better understand the revenue streams of practice and how to compliment the use of veterinary software data to enhance financial reporting. Industry averages for expense analysis will be reviewed and basic budgeting utilizing the financial statements as historical data will be covered. Managerial Accounting II
Students will learn how to determine what a hospital's fixed costs are and to calculate a breakeven point. We will focus students on overhead expenses to run a hospital and what it costs to open a hospital every day without even doing any business. Students will also learn how to control inventory for optimum inventory levels and efficiency and how to calculate inventory turnover per year in both days and in a dollar amount. Internal accounting controls for cash, inventory and accounts receivable will be reviewed so students can learn why practices need to rely on valid and accurate transaction reporting and for protecting the practice’s assets from theft and embezzlement. VIII. Personnel Management and Motivation Strategies I and II - Your staff is the most important element of a successful practice. This course will present the basics of employment law, personnel management and staff motivation. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the importance of a 10-step, well conceived employee selection and hiring process and learning what questions can and cannot be asked to avoid charges of discrimination. Understanding theories about staff motivation, and reprimanding or terminating unsatisfactory employees without incurring wrongful discharge suits will also be subjects of focus. IX. The Art of Successful Client Communication - Through the exam room experience, we can help clients understand their pet's preventative health care plan and show them why they should partner with the hospital and its medical staff in delivering that care. In doing this, the team is focused on the client and the patient, directing their treatment to provide the pet with the best for its current healthcare and lifestyle. The Communication Challenge is an interactive workshop designed to help participants understand their current communication styles and develop a vision for their future professional style and image. Participants will learn how to evaluate their exam room image, gain clients' attention, diagnose clients' needs, and elicit clients' commitment to their pets' treatment. A focal point of the workshop will be addressing client concerns while simultaneously practicing both good medicine and good business. X. Leadership Skills for the Successful Veterinarian - Leadership is a pathway to success that requires responsibility, emotional intelligence, compassion, vision, and knowing yourself and understanding your core values. This course will examine leadership styles, how to communicate effectively in a leadership role, and what it means to become and be a leader. XI. Information Management and Technology - Information technology knowledge and understanding is critical to the successful practitioner. Improving access to and utilization of information can facilitate client communication, compliance, and improve the overall efficiency of the practice. This course will discuss implementation of information technology in the business community for effective utilization and competitive positioning. XII. The Veterinary Practice Experience - The CAPSTAR Course
So you have learned all of this stuff, now it is time to put your knowledge to work. You will be sent to a local veterinary hospital to evaluate its business practices based on knowledge gleaned from all of your business experiences at Penn. The CAPSTAR is a small group follow up discussion with a faculty member where you can finally strut your newfound business acumen!!
Student Tuition: $510.00 Corporate Support: School Assistance: Thank you again for your consideration as we, the students, become proactive in our own education. It seems that the future of veterinary medicine, as has been described, is here now, and the opportunity is waiting to be seized. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Bill Culp V’04 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meghan Stalker V’06 email@example.com