Do clients typically take advantage of the free office visits you offer under your annual plan? I'm considering offering
two exams and three free office visits. Subsequent visits would cost 50 percent less than a regular visit.
Wellness-program clients visit the hospital three to five times more per year than non-wellness-plan clients, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, owner of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash.
"These frequent visits allow the hospital to provide more and better care, which raises revenue," he says. "I've rarely seen
clients abuse the plan options by coming in to socialize with the doctor instead of resolving a real medical concern."
Dr. Karl Salzsieder
Dr. Salzsieder says that unlimited free office calls, or pet examinations, are the real selling feature of wellness plans,
so he hesitates to limit them. (Read more about his annual plan at http://dvm360.com/annual.) "When I started offering these programs, I didn't offer free office calls," he says. "I didn't sell the plans nearly as
well as I do now." He also says that the automatic renewal rate has been more than 80 percent for many years.
"This means our plans have a high perceived value from clients, even though 30 percent to 70 percent of pet owners never use
all the plan services, even with reminder calls," he says.
If some clients abuse the program by requesting too many appointments, you can require them to drop off pets for exams, he
says. That way you can squeeze these patients into your schedule wherever you have time.