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Checklist for better veterinary drug control


Try these 8 tips to get inventory controls in place.

You got into veterinary medicine to care for pets, not to be on drug lockdown duty. It's not a fun topic, it takes a bit of time and sometimes it's hard to get buy-in from your team. But the payoff is worth it to promote a safe and healthy team, to improve inventory efficiency and lessen liability issues. Try these eight quick tips to get inventory controls in place:

Install a double-locked cabinet for controlled substances. Limit access to the cabinet, and make sure it's locked when not in use.

Number all bottles and link them to corresponding drug control logs.

Reconcile daily or weekly the amount left in the bottle and the control drug log form. How often depends on the size of your practice. If you gross over $1 million in practice income, you should do it daily. The manager, head technician or associate veterinarian should handle this in the practice.

Conduct pre-employment drug testing and background checks on all employees hired. State in your employment ad that you're a drug-free workplace. When a potential new hire fills out an application, attach a release form for the pre-employment drug screen. In the accompanying story, the inventory pilfering employee was found to have had a history of drug abuse. Drug screening and a background check could have discovered this at a cost of only $25 or so per test.

Develop a drug-free workplace policy within your practice. For guidelines, visit dol.gov/elaws/drugfree.htm.

Train all employees on your drug-control polices and your drug-free workplace policy. These policies need to be reviewed with employees when they're first hired.

Divide and conquer inventory control. The person who orders controlled drugs should not be the same person in charge of the logs or monthly reconciliation. If possible, there should even be a third person to review and check over what the other two have done, just as there should be for end-of-the-day cash reconciliation. The more people involved in these processes, the better.

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