State board complaints: Protect yourself - Veterinary Economics
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State board complaints: Protect yourself
More clients are complaining about their veterinary care because they expect more of you.


Illustration by Marci Roth
Thanks to sophisticated equipment, technology, and products, you’re better able to diagnose and treat pets today than ever before. At the same time, clients are more bonded to their pets, making them more likely to seek—and pay for—higher-quality veterinary care. Coupled, these two factors mean that standards for veterinary medicine are at an all-time high.

Rising expectations and complaints
That's good news. But when the medical community and the public adopt higher expectations, it means that it's more likely a client will file a complaint against you with your state's regulatory board. (For evidence, take a look at the charts that follow.) While this is a scary proposition, state boards are important in ensuring that doctors uphold the established standards. More than 62 percent of veterinarians believe that their state boards are handling the role of consumer watchdog "about right," according to a 2007 DVM Newsmagazine reader survey.

A look at the extremes
Still, this doesn't make it any easier if and when you're facing a state board complaint. On the positive side, only a small number of complaints result in sanctions or loss of license. Another plus: You can protect yourself from complaints—and even decrease the chance that you'll receive a dreaded letter from your state board at all. The keys are providing top-notch care and communicating openly with your clients. Learn the preventive steps you should take by reading the tips on the next page.



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