Referral practices struggling in California

Referral practices struggling in California

Consulting firm tracks veterinary revenues throughout state. Specialty and referral practices in California see revenue drop.
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Mar 06, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Specialty and referral practices in California saw a 10 percent drop in gross revenue in January 2009 compared with January 2008, according to a recent analysis by Gatto McFerson, a veterinary accounting firm in Santa Monica, Calif. “The veterinary industry, usually resilient during tough financial times, has significantly felt this slowdown,” says partner Tom McFerson, CPA, in a Feb. 27 letter to the firm’s clients.

Gatto McFerson tracks monthly revenue numbers for almost 75 practices, which are divided into three classes: small animal practices in Southern California (up to and including Bakersfield), small animal practices in Northern California, and specialty and referral practices statewide.

While specialty practices fared the worst in this recent report, small animal general practices in both Southern and Northern California “more or less treaded water” in January 2009—the fourth full month of the economic slowdown—with both parts of the state posting small gains. Gatto McFerson also looked at gross revenue after removing 2009 price increases, which gives a more consistent picture of any growth or decline the practices experienced.

Here’s a closer look at the performance of each practice category:

  Gross revenue in Oct. '08 compared with Oct. '07 Gross revenue in Nov. '08 compared with Nov. '07 Gross revenue in Dec. '08 compared with Dec. '07 Gross revenue in Jan. '09 compared with Jan. '08
Small animal, Southern California        
Increase/decrease +4.6% -1.2% +3.7% +5.2%
Adjusted for price increases +0.1% -5.0% -0.5% +4.63%
Small animal, Northern California        
Increase/decrease -4.8% -3.4% +10.4% +1.7%
Adjusted for price increases -9.8% -8.3% +5.9% +1.1%
Specialty, California        
Increase/decrease -9.8% -16.5% -4.1% -9.8%
Adjusted for price increases -13.6% -19.9% -8.0% -10.2%


Gatto McFerson invites all California veterinary practices to participate in its ongoing analysis so it can produce more accurate economic reports. Financial data can be submitted directly via gattomcferson.com. Participating practices will be added to the firm’s distribution list, and all information will be kept confidential.

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