Preventive-care plans: Make it happen ... finally

Preventive-care plans: Make it happen ... finally

CVC Virginia Beach speaker John Volk saw preventive-care plans as the future more than 15 years ago. Today, he sees their eventual adoption in most, if not all, private practices over time as inevitable.
May 22, 2017

VolkWhen CVC educator John Volk worked on the landmark Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, he thought the data would inspire veterinarians to jump on Banfield-like wellness plans, offering pet owners what they wanted: a clear healthcare plan for their pet and monthly installments.

"I thought there would be a much more rapid uptake of preventive plans," he told attendees at the CVC session "Financial tools that can get clients to 'yes.'"

Turns out, back in 2001, the "Banfield Effect" was still strong, Volk said, with many private practitioners saying, "Banfield does it, so how can it be good?"

But now most of the big corporate chains have some form of preventive care plans clients can buy, bundling up needed wellness exams, diagnostics and more.

Volk said, aside from increased revenue, increased visits, better patient care and more new clients—phew, that's a lot—is the "stickiness."

"If clients get all their services from you," Volk told attendees, "they're not going to go down to the supermarket for vaccinations. They know those are included with your plan."

Paid wellness plans bring pet owners in the door less afraid of that big bill at the end. "And almost no one comes across the veterinary practice threshold and doesn't spend money," Volk said.

What could wellness plans mean for your practice? Volk has data from larger practice chains. When NVA started using preventive care plans in hospitals, they saw 8.4 percent compliance with dental procedure recommendations rise to 74.4 percent compliance on preventive care plans that include dental work. Associates at NVA hospitals saw production pay increase 57 percent with preventive-care plans.

Implementing preventive-care plans with an annual or monthly installments can be hard to implement in the beginning, Volk admitted. It's a major shift in focus to an enrollment mentality for doctors and staff—it takes a lot of training—but success breeds good feelings: "I've seen a lot of veterinary teams where they can get better care for pets, and then they love to talk about the plans after that."

Volk's major advice? Find a company to help you implement the plan. He name-dropped Veterinary Credit Plans, Prevent Plans, IDEXX Petly Plans or the do-it-yourself advice on Partners for Healthy Pets website.

"I believe preventive-care plans will become the norm," Volk says. "Someday you'll have no choice to offer it or lose clients."