Combating corporate? New association unites independent veterinarians

dvm360dvm360 June 2019
Volume 50
Issue 6

Founded to counter the corporatization of veterinary medicine, the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association aims to represent the interests and needs of privately owned hospitals in North America.

Corporate vs. indie

No one can truly Nostradamus this veterinary corporate consolidation: How fast? How many? How does it impact the medicine? How does it impact veterinary professionals?

But no matter which way your career swings, you can think about the issues and get advice on navigating the changing waters of the profession in our dvm360 Leadership Challenge: Go your own way.

With his vision to advocate for independent veterinarians, to promote the value of independent practices to the public and to the profession, and to increase client visits to privately owned veterinary practices, Florida practice owner Don Woodman, DVM, incorporated the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association with others in spring 2017.

The group's website says it now has more than 200 members from 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

By the numbers: Corporate veterinary practice ownership

Estimated number of U.S. practices
Estimated number of U.S. practices owned by corporations
Percentage of corporate-owned general practices
Percentage of corporate-owned specialty practices 2,000+ Number of hospitals in North America and Europe owned by Mars Veterinary Health
Number of hospitals in North America and Europe owned by Mars Veterinary Health
Number of veterinarians employed by Mars Veterinary Health
$1.2 million
Minimum revenue a multidoctor practice must generate annually to be considered for purchase by a corporation
Number of U.S. practice brands owned by Mars Veterinary Health (Banfield Pet Hospital, BluePearl, Pet Partners and VCA)

Sources: Nolen S. The corporatization of veterinary medicine. JAVMA News, December 1, 2018; Mars buys hospitals in Europe. JAVMA News, August 1, 2018.

“Our vision is a world in which independent veterinary practitioners can acquire, own and manage veterinary hospitals so that independent ownership of practices remains a viable and rewarding option, and where veterinarians remain at the center of leadership throughout the veterinary profession,” Dr. Woodman recently told JAVMA News.

The organization welcomes all private practice owners, regardless of the species they see or the size of the business. “Locally owned practices contribute to the fabric of their communities like no other business entity,” the IVPA states on its site. It goes on to say that as “pillars of their community,” private practices are vital to cultural and economic prosperity. The IVPA's four primary goals for this year include:

  • Becoming a member of the AVMA Allied Caucus with a seat in the House of Delegates
  • Using social media to promote to pet owners the value of independently owned practices
  • Advocating for fair pricing for manufactured goods
  • Funding a student representative program to support veterinary students who are considering practice ownership.
  • If you want to join, IVPA offers five annual membership levels: hospital owner ($95), nonowner or retired veterinarian ($75), affiliate ($125), paraprofessional (free) and student (free). For more information, visit the IVPA website.
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