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2018 WSVMA VetMed Matters Conference
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Information and discussion on staffing of your practice and the LVT shortage.

When: Sunday, February 25, 2018
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Where: Courtyard Marriott Bellevue
1101 Northeast 8th St.
Bellevue, Washington  98004
United States
Contact: Cassie Isackson
(425) 396-3191

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2018 WSVMA VetMed Matters - Corporatization, Unions and Your Veterinary Team
February 25, 2018, Marriott Courtyard, Bellevue



There’s a convergence of 21st century conditions that are challenging the old ways of veterinary practice. Veterinarians rely on support staff to enhance and improve the quality and delivery of veterinary medicine, but it’s increasingly difficult to attract and retain them. And now, corporate medicine is quickly changing the practice landscape and there are rumors afoot about unionizing. What’s a veterinary practice to do?


This forum is to help veterinarians and team members understand why it’s difficult to attract and keep technical staff, how corporate medicine may or may not affect entry and retention of the veterinary team, and what it means for the profession to unionize.

Here are the burning questions we’ll address:

· Why am I having trouble finding and keeping technical staff in my practice?

· How is corporate medicine changing what it’s like to work in veterinary medicine? Does it have an impact on entry and retention into the profession?

· There are whispers about unionizing the veterinary profession. What do we need to know as practice owners, hospital managers, and support staff?

· What changes are needed to attract and retain a veterinary team so I can enjoy a thriving practice, regardless of whether it’s private or corporate?


Opening Session

9 – 10:20AM

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Rebecca Rose, CVT

Statistics point to the fact that a large percentage (upwards of 50%) of your team is asking this exact question on a daily basis, “Should I stay or should I go?” Veterinary team members may be dissatisfied in their career opportunities and unable to define a path that is professionally and financially fulfilling for the long haul. Veterinary hospitals experience turnover twice that of other industries. Is it any wonder managers are continually on the lookout for qualified, formally-trained veterinary technicians and team members? We will outline various reasons for the high attrition rate (a few examples include lack of leadership, lack of vision, underutilization and misunderstanding burnout and fatigue). While reviewing national and state information focusing on credentialed veterinary technicians, we will continue to identify trends in attrition. But don’t despair, we will discover ways to improve retention too!


Rebecca Rose, CVT, is the founder and president of CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants. She has over 30 years of involvement in the veterinary community including working at a mixed animal practice in rural Colorado, experience as a practice manager of two AAHA-accredited animal hospitals, a veterinary practice management consultant and a collaborator with industry partners. She is a Past President of the CACVT (2002) and National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (2016). Her book, Career Choices for Veterinary Technicians; Opportunities for Animal Lovers, co-authored with Dr. Carin Smith, was originally published in 2009 by the American Animal Hospital Association and revised in 2013.



10:20 – 10:30AM



10:30 – 12pm

Corporate and Private Practice Approaches to Team Management

Scott Spaulding, DVM

Over twenty percent of veterinary practices are now corporately owned, a change that’s picked up speed within the last two years. Employees have more options than ever before for employment within the veterinary industry. In this session, Dr. Spaulding will bring his perspective to explore the impact of both worlds on human resource management, benefits, staffing, employee engagement, and culture from the perspective of the businessowner and the employee.

Dr. Scott Spaulding, entrepreneur and inspirational leader in the veterinary industry, combines exceptional business management skills, financial acumen, strategic foresight, and leadership skills to educate, mentor, and support practice owners, entrepreneurs, and professional groups seeking to improve business profitability and enhance work-life integration. Dr. Spaulding is Badger Veterinary Hospital’s president and CEO, joining the practice in 1992 as an equine doctor and becoming a practice shareholder in 1996. Badger Veterinary Hospital has grown to a three-location mixed animal practice in Southern Wisconsin. Dr. Spaulding is also founder and president of Mixed Animal Veterinary Associates North America, Inc. (MAVANA), a nationwide group of 21 mixed animal, equine, and companion animal practices.


12 – 12:15PM

12:15 – 1PM

WSVMA Board of Directors Informational Session



1 – 2 PM

Unionization 101

Kent McClure, DVM, JD

Session Description: Employer relations with unions and unionization is one of the more complex areas of employment law. It is important that both employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities when there are efforts to organize a union. This session will provide an overview of organized labor under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Topics covered will include the process of union organizing, union representation elections,employer – union interactions, and unfair labor practices.

Dr. Kent McClure is the AVMA Chief Government Relations Officer where he leads the AVMA Advocacy Strategic Business Unit, which includes all of the AVMA federal and state advocacy efforts. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Prior to joining the AVMA, Dr. McClure served as the General Counsel for the Animal Health Institute.



2– 2:30PM

Interview - National Veterinary Professionals Union – What’s it All About?

David Gill, DVM

There are efforts by local doctors and team members to form a union. Dr. David Gill, an emergency medicine practitioner and representative from NVPU, will discuss the status of the union and the reasons behind their efforts.

Dr. David Gill is an emergency medicine practitioner at BluePearl in Seattle. He’s a founding member of the effort to form a union for veterinary professionals. A 1987 graduate of UC Davis, Dr. Gill enjoys the challenging aspects of emergency medicine, the quickly changing focus from one patient to the next, and being able to help both suffering animals and their families. At home, Dr. Gill enjoys the company of his wife, two daughters, one cat, two guinea pigs, 12 hens and three dogs.



2:30 – 3:30PM

Attracting and RETAINING qualified veterinary team members

Rebecca Rose, CVT

There are Best Practices in nearly all aspects of small businesses. We will focus on generating a list for Best Practices in Team Retention. Gone are the days of throwing a job announcement together, placing it in your local newspaper and watching the stream of qualified applicants flow in. Today, savvy managers must consider far more. They must create a hiring strategy, properly leverage team members, offer appealing benefits packages, consider career advancement opportunities, share goals and purpose in the delivering of daily quality veterinary care, AND provide competitive wages. Now, veterinary teams may include five generations of employees and clients, stretching managers and owners out of their comfort zone in establishing effective lines of communication, defining a clear vision for the practice and growing team members’ careers (not just a job!). Relief is on the way! There is hope as models prove team satisfaction and retention can be a reality.


3:30 – 4PM

Working Together to Make a Difference

Panel discussion with the speakers.

The final session of the day will be for attendees to ask questions and discuss how we can all work together to attract and retain qualified veterinary professionals.


4 – 5PM

WSVMA Board of Directors Meeting

Stay after the program and listen to the Board of Directors make decisions on the business of the Association.




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