Down a doctor? How to keep your veterinary practice running


Follow these guidelines to avoid making a hasty hiring decision.

Not every veterinary practice has a year to prepare for hiring a new associate. A fall, a car wreck, pregnancy complications or a spouse's relocation can leave your practice without a doctor. You can avoid making a critical hiring decision under pressure by having a plan for short-term coverage.

> Know the cost of one to three months' relief coverage for your practice, and set aside the money for it.

> Train your staff and clientele to support production if you or your associate isn't available for a time-a high-touch practice risks having clients bonded to the doctor rather than the practice.

> Make and maintain relationships with part-time and nonpracticing veterinarians in your community who can fill in if needed.

> Know how you would temporarily reduce hours or services-for example, by closing on your slowest weekday or referring your lowest-margin surgeries.

> Invest in technological solutions such as VINx or Benevet Webcare that can help you or your associate remain productively engaged when out of the office.

Dr. Ryan Gates writes for Dr. Eden Myers' website Dr. Myers contributed to this article.

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