A recent American Animal Hospital Association study shows that practices think they’re doing better than they really are when it comes to capturing fees. To see how far off practices are, Mark Opperman, CVPM, owner of veterinary consulting firm VMC Inc., based in Evergreen Colo., studied 300 practices. What he found: On average, hospitals give away $64,050 in services and materials each year PER full-time veterinarian. (Click here to see the break down.) Here are four simple tips taken from his CVC session “Internal Controls: Plugging the Hole in Your Bucket” to help you recoup lost income.
1. Charge for every IV catheter you use.
On average, hospitals give away three I.V. catheters per week. And at a national average of $34 per catheter, that adds up to $5,100 a year. The number one reason hospitals fail to charge for the extra catheters, says Opperman, because the dog or cat bit it out. “The technician didn’t bite it out, so why aren’t you charging for it?” Opperman asks.
2. Put a stop watch on your anesthesia machine.
If you’re not charging an initial fee for the first half hour of anesthesia, you need to start. You also need to charge for each additional minute of anesthesia after that, says Opperman. Working with the national average of $1 per minute, hospitals lose four hours worth of additional anesthesia charges. At $60 per hour, that’s a whopping $12,000 unaccounted for. Opperman suggest keeping a stop watch on your anesthesia machine to keep track of the additional time and charges.
3. Charge by the day for hospitalization.
It doesn’t matter whether the dog is picked up at noon or 2 p.m., Opperman says, as most of the work is already completed during the morning. So instead of charging by the hour for hospitalization, charge by the day—the whole day. Doing so will save you an average of $3,900 a year, per full-time veterinarian.
4. Charge an operation usage fee.
“Your surgery room is the most expensive and least used room in your practice,” Opperman says. “You need to charge accordingly.” That means breaking out a room usage fee. “No, it’s not covered in the surgeon’s fee,” Opperman says. An appropriate rate for operating usage and material charge: $35.
Want to save some green? Click on the related links below for more tips on how to capture missed fees.