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Letter to dvm360: Science, not revenue, should guide vaccine recommendations
I read with interest Dr. Sandra Wing's letter to the editor (“Vaccination changes have hurt client visits and hospital revenue,” January 2015), which laments how changes in vaccine schedules have hurt veterinary practice revenue. Dr. Wing correctly correlates triannual vaccine schedules to a decline in client and patient wellness visits, with a resulting negative impact on practice revenue. However, the letter seems to suggest that the profession return to recommending annual immunizations even though science dictates that this is unnecessary.
If it is true (however unproven) that annual versus triannual wellness visits have a favorable cost-benefit outcome for veterinary patients as a whole, our goal should not be to go backward and against the evidence vis-á-vis immunizations, but rather to go forward and develop new models for delivering preventive and wellness care (prepaid plans and other creative solutions) that promote annual (if not semiannual) patient visits.
Not that this is easy. In fact, it is difficult. But it certainly is superior, scientifically and otherwise, to a 1990s (and early 1990s at that) practice model that relies on vaccine reminders to drive revenue.
I do share Dr. Wing's concerns about the overall health of our industry and the challenging prospects of the future. However, the prescription is innovation, not lamentation.
Mark E. Epstein DVM, DABVP (canine and feline), CVPP
Gastonia, North Carolina