House call compensation

Mar 01, 2008

I'm a house call veterinarian who'd like to continue to perform surgeries and take radiographs in order to maintain my skills. What's the appropriate amount of compensation for a veterinarian who allows me to use his or her hospital for these purposes?

Mark Opperman
Most practices separate their hospital costs from their professional costs, says Veterinary Economics Hospital Management Editor Mark Opperman, CVPM, owner of VMC Inc., a consulting firm in Evergreen, Colo. And that's where you start your negotiations.

For example, the charge for a radiograph might be $125, but $25 of that fee is for interpretation. The remainder pays for taking and processing the radiograph. In this case, if you took a radiograph for your client in a colleague's hospital, Opperman says, you'd earn $25 and the practice would retain $100. The same applies to surgery. Usually a practice would charge a surgeon's fee along with fees for inhalation anesthesia, hospitalization, operating room use, and so on. You'd be entitled to the surgeon's fee, and the practice would keep the rest of the income for the hospital services provided. This makes for a fair and equitable distribution of fees when an outside veterinarian uses another hospital's facilities, Opperman says.