Look before you leap into wellness plans
I confess—I'm a wellness plan junkie. For years I've offered them in all of my practices, from traditional clinics to charter-owned Banfield hospitals. And I'm not alone on the wellness plan bandwagon. Many leaders in our profession view them as the cure-all for the myriad problems the profession suffers from, and quite a few practices have had good success with them. (See Dr. Karl Salzsieder's "What wellness plans can be for your practice," June 2011; http://dvm360.com/annualplan). But are they a cure-all for all practices?
Before you take the leap and jump on board with these package deals, it's critical to take a look at the specific needs of your veterinary practice. Here are some things worth considering.
DISCOUNTS & FREE EXAMSPractice consultants have been beating "Don't discount your services!" into our heads for years. Most plans offer at least a 20 percent discount on all of the yearly wellness services and a 10 percent to 20 percent discount on most other services. And the hallmark of most plans is free exams—a big discount right up front. For years we've been trying to educate clients about the importance and value of an exam, and now we're not charging for exams at all?
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT & PRACTICE STATISTICS
What will happen to your practice statistics when you start wellness plans? When you take free exams, deep discounts, and monthly payments for wellness plans into account, won't you see a drop in your average client transactions (ACT) and average doctor transaction (ADT)? If you follow the standards for most practices today, you can throw all that out. You will now have to develop your own parameters to gauge how your practice is performing, with no one else to compare to.