Charging upfront at veterinary practices

7 December 2020 – News

The pandemic has required new social distancing protocols that limit the number of people in work places, such as veterinary practices and hospitals. Some practices have also had to make redundancies or have experienced colleagues becoming infected with COVID-19, further reducing the size of their teams.
At the same time, the workload in many clinics has increased dramatically, perhaps because of the large number of pets adopted during lockdown. It’s also possible that with more people working at home, they have more time to notice altered behaviors in their animals that require a clinic visit.
To plan their workload more effectively and to reduce growing numbers of appointment ‘no-shows’, some practices have started charging for appointments in advance. In most cases, clients are able to cancel with 24-48 hours’ notice and receive a full refund. This move has been accepted by many clients as a temporary measure that will be removed once life gets back to normal.
In the US, data shows that revenue during August 2020 was up around 19% compared with the same period in 2019. The same pattern was seen in Australia and the UK.
Expert opinions differ on the future for veterinary practices. Some believe that remote working for at least some aspects of veterinary care will remain once the pandemic is over and that this will encourage a higher number of veterinary consults and higher standards of care for animals. Others predict that, once a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, life will rapidly get back to ‘normal.’

Ross, K. As business booms, veterinarians start charging upfront. Sept 2020.