September 01, 2002


 Commission delivers tools to aid practice efficiency

Posted Aug. 15, 2002 

Attendees test the online economic tools at the NCVEI meeting.Attendees test the online economic tools at the NCVEI meeting.

Officials with the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues provided an overview July 15 during the AVMA Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., of the commission's efforts to improve the economic health of the veterinary profession.

Dr. James Lloyd, a professor at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, gave an overview of the numerous projects coming out of the Skills,  Knowledge, Aptitude, and Attitude Working Group. One of several NCVEI subcommittees, the group is responsible for identifying and fostering competencies in veterinarians to ensure their economic well-being.

Ongoing working group projects, Dr. Lloyd said, include identifying competencies necessary for professional success, teaching veterinary students business skills, developing leadership ability, and using a veterinary teaching hospital as a business model.

Commission CEO Howard Rubin walked attendees through the benchmarking and pricing programs available for the past six months on the NCVEI Web site ( The programs are user-friendly, interactive tools that allow veterinarians to see how their practices measure up to others. Users can examine practices that are doing well in one of the benchmark categories and see how their own practice compares.

"What we hope we're doing now is beginning to deliver on our mission," Rubin said, "which is not just to talk about issues of the day, but to actually deliver programs that will help veterinarians improve their operations and improve their economic status."

The AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges established the NCVEI as a not-for-profit corporation with the mission of halting the downward economic trend in the veterinary profession.

The commission's long-term objectives are to promote the relationship between providing quality veterinary care and economic health as well as to establish a national agenda to improve the profession's economic base, create new opportunities, and continue attracting talented individuals to the profession.

The benchmarking and pricing programs have met with the approval of antitrust and Federal Trade Commission experts, Rubin explained. "What we're doing is no different than what other trade associations are doing in other industries across the United States," he said. "It's a very common practice."

Written by a panel of practice management consultants and practitioners, the programs are based on data provided by nearly 2,900 companion animal practices across the country. There are plans for programs based on equine and food animal practices, Rubin added.