September 2017



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Standardized Chart of Accounts Available Free to Veterinary Professionals 

The Veterinary Hospital Manager's Association (VHMA) partnered with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Veterinary Management Groups (VMG), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and VetPartners to provide veterinary professionals access to a free, powerful finance tool.

Traditionally, the accounting methods of individual veterinary practices are as diverse as the owners themselves. Times are changing... and for the better. Through this partnership', AAHA's previously members-only Chart of Accounts was revised and expanded. The new AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts is now available and free to all veterinary professionals.
"We are thrilled to provide the  AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts to members of the veterinary profession," said AAHA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F) Emeritus. "By using an apples-to-apples comparison of productivity, costs, and profitability, veterinarians can better assess the financial health of individual hospitals and the industry as a whole."
Human dental and medical professionals have long recognized that the lack of standardization in practitioners' charts of accounts, diagnostic codes and procedures have impeded individual and professional success.
View the AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts free at
Why Do You Need An Employee Manual?
Is it ok to have "cookie cutter" employment policies that don't necessarily fit your practice? What's wrong with just borrowing someone else's employee handbook and distributing it to your staff as your own? Why should you spend the money to customize your policies? If you're a small practice, do you really need a Handbook? How often should you review your policies to make sure they are legally compliant?
These are all good questions that practice owners and managers must ask themselves as they assess the effectiveness of their employee handbooks. Employee policies should be clear, concise, and reflect how you want to treat your employees. Some policies are essential and should be included in every practice's Handbook. For instance, an Equal Employment Opportunity policy that prohibits harassment and discrimination will help assure your staff that these unlawful activities will not be tolerated while also providing an affirmative defense against complaints from disgruntled employees. However, many practices unnecessarily include policies they don't need just because they saw them in someone else's handbook. For instance, including information about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may not be necessary if your practice doesn't have enough employees for the Act to be applicable. However, once you include it in your Handbook, it becomes your policy.
Is it better to have some policies than not to have any at all? Well, that depends. Poorly crafted employment policies, or policies that don't reflect what you do in your particular practice, can actually do much more harm than good. Whether your practice employs 3 or 300, it's a good idea to review your policies annually to make sure they accurately reflect the uniqueness of your practice. If you don't have a handbook yet, what are you waiting for?

In This Issue
Residency Retention Agreements

Finding the right resident for your practice is a lot of time and work.  Protect your investment and keep your resident from straying to other practices by including proper retention provisions in your residency agreements.

The basic bargain you make with your resident is simple: you agree to pay all or part of your resident's training and residency living expenses; and your resident agrees to work at your practice for a minimum period-the "retention period"- after  she is board certified.

To implement this bargain, residency provisions typically use a stick and/or carrot approach.  The stick requires your resident to pay back the residency expenses you fronted if she fails to timely pass her residency or if she leaves your practice before the agreed upon retention period expires.  The carrot, which is optional, pays your resident a bonus at the end of the retention period.

Here's a list of the principal issues your residency provisions should address, bearing in mind that the main variable affecting their structure and content is whether or not the residency will be in-house.
Good News For Employers 

For the past year we had all been holding our breath, waiting for the courts to decide on the DOL's new overtime rule which more than doubled the minimum salary levels required for overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).  On July 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor decided to abandon the DOL new overtime rule.  The DOL published a request for information (RFI) which has effectively restarted the revision process of the white collar overtime exemption regulations, yet again. The DOL announced that it intends to use the information submitted by interested parties to draft a new proposal for updating the tests that define which executive, administrative, professional and high-compensation employees are exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

We will keep you apprised of any changes as they come.


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