The cost of veterinary care often carries with it a certain level of sticker shock for pet owners. But there are ways to help ease your clients’ financial pain. When it comes to preventive care, we can find ways to make sure pets stay healthy while also making it easier for pet owners to afford that care.
We shared with you last month our first installment of articles focusing on the valuable practice tools available to you through Partners for Healthy Pets, an initiative designed to ensure that pets get the preventive health care they need and deserve through regular visits to the veterinarian. This time around, we will talk about Preventive Healthcare Plans and how you can implement them in your practice. These plans, as well as the other components of the Partners’ Practice Resources Toolbox, will help enhance both the overall vitality of pets and your veterinary practice.
As we all know, dogs and cats are visiting the veterinarian less frequently, and their health status shows it. A recent report indicated that preventable and treatable health issues such as diabetes, dental disease, heartworm disease and flea infestations in both dogs and cats are on the rise. This problem is no doubt a source of great frustration to you and your colleagues. But there is a promising solution that has solid appeal among many pet owners: Preventive healthcare plans.
A preventive healthcare plan is a comprehensive package of annual veterinary services aimed at keeping a pet healthy that includes a little extra pet-owner incentive that you can provide – the choice between a monthly payment plan or lump-sum payment. These plans typically include one or more complete physical exams for routine preventive care, essential vaccines, certain diagnostics such as heartworm tests and blood work, and internal parasite control.
While the use of preventive healthcare plans may represent a significant change in your business approach, it also pays dividends to everyone involved – you, the pet and the pet owner.
First, pets get better, more dependable care. Instead of the current hit-or-miss approach used by many clients, pet owners commit to a program; pets get the care they need, when they need it. The frequency of visits also increases, so you have an opportunity to see pets more often and to catch problems earlier.
We also can’t underestimate the importance of how much each of us likes a plan, and that includes pet owners. Monthly payments for preventive pet healthcare can be worked into their household budget, eliminating the pain and strain associated with a “big ticket” hit to the pocketbook. Preventive pet healthcare plans spell out both the treatment plan and the payment plan.
And last but not least, preventive healthcare plans bond clients more closely to the practice. Why? Because the client has a plan and has agreed to pay for the year’s services. As a result, they are more diligent and conscientious about scheduling required services. A nice added bonus is that clients differentiate your practice as a more client-friendly business, one that is willing to reach across the counter with a show of understanding and patience when it comes to paying that bill.
To some pet owners, it seems like there’s never a good time to squeeze a veterinary visit into their regular expenses, especially when they may feel that the service is somewhat discretionary. With a preventive healthcare plan in place, you can help change that, making it easier on pet owners and making it better for the pet.
So visit the Preventive Healthcare Plans tool today. You’ll find a helpful overview introducing you to the concept, as well as some pretty powerful testimonials from veterinarians just like you who have already implemented the plan and like the results. You’ll learn how to design a plan best suited for your individual practice, and our Preventive Healthcare Plan Implementation Manual will take you through a step-by-step process of setting up plans, integrating them into your practice, marketing them to clients and training your staff. All it will cost you is a little bit of your time.