There is an update to my blog-entry of earlier in the morning, and it is more optimistic than the previous.
I called my veterinary hospital to complain about the fact that veterinary technicians would be taking the place of the veterinarians in many of the procedures conducted at the hospital. I had a list of reasons why this new policy was horrendous and I was not going to be reticent.
However, I was informed by the receptionist - who, to judge by her tone, had already had an earful or two from clients this morning - that the new policy is optional, and in any case applies only to certain activities. I pointed out that this was not what the email I had received yesterday described; she agreed that it was ‘not very clear’. I further stated that the announcement had been quite definite about the new policy. The receptionist was equally definite about it being optional. I asked if a second email would be sent out by the hospital to correct misconceptions born of the first, and was informed that the first email had originated at corporate headquarters.
I suspect that the new policy’s popularity at the company’s headquarters is not shared by the staff at some hospitals, mine being one. There is no way to correct the impressions of the email, as that would entail contradicting headquarters, and even sending out another message, declaring the optional character of the new policy as practised here, is not practicable. To be honest, I gathered that largely disregarding headquarters’s new directives might have to be done quietly, without drawing attention from the bosses.
The receptionist sounded embarrassed by the matter, and was at pains to assure me that if I wanted to see a veterinarian when I brought my cat in that would be arranged, as it always has been. Nonetheless, I am wary, which is probably the response the staff of the hospital is receiving from more than one client. Even with the - possibly informal - amendments of which I was assured, the hospital may experience the effects of the first email for some time.
I appreciate your concern and it sounds like the vet office would rather not have pets "see the doctor". Why are there vet doctors if they are not going to see the patients? And company headquarters? My vet here is an independent doctor as are the other half dozen or so animal offices in our small city. I hope you can continue with Renn's care at this location.ReplyDelete
I just read your last 2 posts and your readers' comments. It sounds like the company that owns your vet's practice is trying to increase it's profits by having techs see patients - that way they can avoid hiring more vets. I am not surprised as I am very familiar with VCA hospitals. When my old vet retired, she sold her practice to VCA, and I continued using the practice for several years. While their staff may be quite excellent, their services are very over-priced. You will pay a lot less at other vets. Of course, the VCA staff does not set the fee schedule - corporate does, but still...ReplyDelete
This is what I think, too: that vet-techs cost less than vets, so those will be hired. And my hospital is like yours: the staff remains very good but they aren't working for correspondingly satisfactory bosses. It may be telling that a year ago, there were six veterinarians; now, there are three.Delete
I remember the time I was told the cost of my cat's medicine would be $80. Luckily, I happened to be on the exact same medicine and realized I could get it at my pharmacy for $10.Delete
Very interesting. It does sound like you're far from the only one who called and gave the hospital holy hell. GOOD.ReplyDelete
I certainly agree with you.Delete
As I said in response to your first blog, we who have cats and dogs love them, and we want the best for them. This is NOT the best; and I alluded to the possibility that these vet offices owned and managed by VCA would lose business, meaning those who see their animals as family will not want to entrust them to vet techs with a weeks "training". Those people who see their animals as "just a cat" "just a dog" are generally not overly concerned with that pet's physical welface. Especially if it's a cat. Cats who are in a family that loves and cherishes them get the care they need...as does a dog. Cats who are in a family that just lets the cat in and out- and lays food down once or maybe two times a day will more likely be taken to this place of business described in your blog. Just bad news all the way around.ReplyDelete
Those who care less about their animals will not take them to a VCA clinic to begin with, or not more than once, because they are so over-priced. (As are most clinics here, but there are degrees of price-gouging.)Delete
My independent clinic does not book appointments with the vet tech, even for things that SHOULD be done by one, for far less. That's the downside. They also are not set up for the Freestyle Libre sensors, which is most unfortunate. So to get specialty care I need to go elsewhere. But this corporate takeover of pet health care is appalling, IMO.Delete
I hope you still will be satisfied enough with that clinic to keep taking Renn there. I'm glad you called! The receptionist likely doesn't make enough to warrant dealing with the fallout from stupid head office decisions. 😕
My good will would have broken irrevocably, and if I had other choices available, I'd still go somewhere else.ReplyDelete
I hadn't seen your original post so went back and read it. What they are proposing is ridiculous! It sounds like HQ is just out to make as much money as possible. I do hope your vets will stick to what they have told you and you will be able to see a fully qualified vet.ReplyDelete
I would not want to be a receptionist there. :)ReplyDelete
I know here there is a vet shortage. Maybe for simple things a vet tech is fine. Poppy gets an arthritis injection every couple of months and a shaving of any matts, something we don't need the vet for, and i find it an expensive visit, one I'm happy to pay for though.ReplyDelete
I agree with Eastside Cats. However, I'd have no problem with routine things like claw clipping and maybe even vaccines done by our Techs, they're really good. We can book just a Tech appointment for those things if we like, it's quicker. But if there is a medical issue a Vet is required.ReplyDelete
We used to have an ophthalmologist, a family friend, do all our eye care. He retired, and eventually the other 2 that were in that practice with him did, too...other eye MD's came, and a year or so later we got a letter that told us that the whole office was being taken over by some corporate office in another large city...and we would continue to receive good eye care...but we found quite the opposite, and now we go elsewhere to a single doc practice.ReplyDelete
Same with our vet. He has the practice by himself, and we know we will see him at each visit, be it a big deal emergency or a routine affair. I like that he knows our beasties from the time they first see him till the day we need to do those sad goodby times...and he cries with us.
I sure hope your current office will abide by 'the option' they proposed to you, good too know they do not like what headquarters wants them to do.
It is unethical to say the least.
That poor receptionist having to field all those irate and concerned pet owners, and its not her fault at all...
We always see the vet along with the techs. We would not like just seeing the tech unless it was something routine.ReplyDelete
I know sometimes it's out the hands of the locals especially if it's such a big company. I hope that what she said is true, and I suppose you can test that once and see if it indeed it is. Talking straight to the Vet may be a good idea if possible in the future.ReplyDelete
As you noted it is clear the corporate office is attempting to make as much money as possible, whereas your vet office understands this won't work with many of their current clients. I'm sure that corporate will be tracking the visits to vet techs vs. vets, and may find those vet offices who follow head office policy lose many of their current clients. (Who wants to pay twice for a visit when one would suffice?) There may be a change in policy in a few months. Meanwhile I'd like "test" this clinic to ensure they are following the old methods. If not, you may have to consider another clinic. I hope it doesn't come to that.ReplyDelete