Staff health care options need AVMA help


Staff health care options need AVMA help One of the biggest all-time goofs in the annals of fulfilling responsibilities to the constituency of the profession has been the deletion of a health plan for the veterinary practice support staff.

One of the biggest all-time goofs in the annals of fulfilling responsibilitiesto the constituency of the profession has been the deletion of a healthplan for the veterinary practice support staff.

Our current economic climate dictates that organized veterinary medicineneeds to help us with our most important pressing issue: health care forsupport personnel.

Back in the good ole' days when health care for employees was not sucha big and expensive issue, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)provided AVMA members and its employees with health care options. When timesgot tough, the AVMA decided to drop the employees of members, causing problemsfor practitioners wanting to offer health care to their clinic team.

Question of retention

Good and experienced personnel are necessary for the progressive veterinarypractice to thrive this decade. Practices wanting to hold onto the bestpersonnel must have a health insurance option on the benefit smorgasbord.

The most recent "mega study" (A Study of the Current and FutureMarket for Veterinarians and Veterinary Services) discussed dilution ofcapital rescues and discusses the benefits of a stronger fee structure andimproved productivity. Essential to that issue is trained and experiencedpersonnel. And while some may not want health coverage, at some point ineveryone's life, health care becomes important and they will leave to finda business that can provide a health care plan.


The AVMA decision to cut off the support staff abandoned the majorityof veterinary practices to fend for themselves-and it is a struggle outhere.

So just what are the responsibilities of our professional associations?In my practice management book, More Management for Results, a chapter discussesthe pragmatic position of our associations. They provide a nice, legal watchdogfor the profession. Together the group is able to provide essential continuingeducation for the constituency and an organization can broker its numbersto provide health care coverage for the members.

Clearly, each of the tens of thousands of practices can find an equalnumber of assorted programs to fit each individual of the individual practices,but no doubt the concept of each of us fending for ourselves has failed.

Private practices and practitioners, as the large majority of the profession,have a huge responsibility to our staff personnel to provide a health careoption.

And with each passing year, the good, available programs from which wemight choose for the clinic staff get more complicated, more time-consumingand back-breaking than ever.

Pool resources

If we think of the win/win deal, organized medicine can pool talent andresources to broker some sort of a group plan that will include the veterinarystaff.

Where there is a will, there is a way, and the time has come to considerthe future of our profession by considering the backbone of our practices-thesupport staff.

Together, the mass number of veterinarians and their families has tobe able to put together a program in our free enterprise system. The timehas come to take the next step and expand the current program to includeall within the profession.

Providing decent health care options for the clinic staff is essential.And it is essential that organized medicine get organized to help the constituencywith this important issue.

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