The AVMA Veterinary Economic Strategy Committee and the Economics Division hosted the 4th annual Economic Summit in Schaumburg on October 24 – 25. A few dozen participants attended the first Summit in 2013, over 200 representatives of private practice, academia, allied organizations and industry participated in this year's event, legitimizing the AVMA Executive Board's 2009 vision to develop strategies addressing the profession's economic issues.
I'm most gratified, as an inaugural committee member and recent committee chair, to report the progress made in understanding our profession's finance and economics is nothing short of amazing. Twenty-four presentations on wide varieties of financial and economic topics place this meeting at the top of the attendance list for veterinarians seriously interested in fine tuning their practice's financial performance.
A few high highlights-
• Dr. Michael Dicks encourages practice owners to monitor The Conference Board Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). This index displays the United States business cycle revealing clues regarding timing of economic downturns, allowing you to position your practice to weather the storm. Don't rely on the media's interpretation, judge for yourself.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased in September Source: The Conference Board
• Dr. Lisa Greenhill reports our profession continues to attract robust applicant pools; 7,000 applicants for 4,200 seats at U.S. veterinary medical colleges for the class of 2021, with GPA's remaining consistent at 3.5. • New graduate income increases continue, according to Dr. Bridgette Bain; the 2016 class mean annual income approximates $73,000. • SAVMA President, Matt Holland's compelling presentation regarding the profession's wellness guides the Economics Division to quantify compassion fatigue's financial impact on the profession. • Veterinary CPA Terry O'Neil's presentation includes a plethora of financial strategies and statistics from over 300 of the nation's most profitable veterinary practices. What do they know the average veterinary practice doesn't?
I proudly report the veterinary medical profession leads the way in economic data collection and analysis. No other allied health profession, including the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association, support an Economics Division. Other health professions are noticing the veterinary profession's cutting edge efforts, the AVMA is truly raising the bar to new standards.
As 2016 draws to a close, consider opportunities to improve your practice's financial performance. Practice owners have responsibility to manage practices with high degrees of business acumen, the profession's profitability must increase to the profession's financial benefit.
• March 25 – 26, the WVMA partners with AVMA to present the highly touted Practice Profitability Workshop which debuted at the 2016 AVMA San Antonio convention. • The Practice Profitability Workshop repeats at the July AVMA Convention in nearby Indianapolis. In addition to presenting the original level 1 workshop, the first level 2 workshop will be available to previous attendees, continue to hone your business management skills. • Attend the 5th annual AVMA Economic Summit in Schaumburg on October 23 -24, 2017 and learn the current data and research regarding issues impacting the financial health of the veterinary medical profession and its markets.
Why chart this course? You must chart this course because good medicine is good business, and good business financially supports good medicine. Make 2017 the best year yet for your practice, for your profession!
Over the past several years, the WVMA has become acutely aware of the increasing mental health and substance abuse stresses that our professionals are experiencing. Survey studies by mental health experts have quantified the challenges facing some of our colleagues. Articles in our press have made us aware of this issue. The stresses of veterinary school and practice can combine to create depression, anxiety, and even suicide for some of our colleagues.
In a cooperative effort to provide additional resources for our profession, the WVMA worked with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and Governor Walker’s office to get authorization for the creation of a Professional Assistance Program for Veterinarians and CVTs included in the 2017-19 state biennial budget bill. The program is funded with existing license fees and will be a much-needed resource for Wisconsin veterinary professionals who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. This is a major victory for veterinarians in Wisconsin. The WVMA will be working with DATCP as this program is developed. We extend our thanks to DATCP and the Governor’s Office for their recognition of this need for our profession and the commitment to creating this professional assistance program.