Managing a business is a complex job

Published 6:00 am Monday, October 18, 2021

With growth comes change.
While my current staff and I have been doing a good job of splitting up the duties of practice manager, I have decided that I need help managing and have started researching what this might be.
And I have seen the amazing progress that Sally has made on major projects while she has been here. She will be leaving on a long-term camping adventure soon, so I am having to research possibilities.
The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association said that there are three levels of practice management: a veterinary hospital office manager; a veterinary practice manager; and, a veterinary hospital administrator.
From the VHMA, a veterinary hospital office manager is responsible for seeing that administrative policies and decisions are accomplished.
A veterinary practice manager is charged with the responsibilities of managing the business activities of a veterinary hospital.
The function of a veterinary hospital administrator is unique from all other positions in a veterinary hospital because the administrator has complete authority over the operation of the business and practice in concert with the practice owner(s) or board of directors.
(The practice administrator does all of these duties plus all professional hiring and scheduling.)
I currently wear the hospital administrator hat and the doctor hat. I don’t want to be in the position of having to ask for whatever equipment that I want or need.
And yes, I know that the laser, thermal imaging camera, oxygen cage and a few other things don’t actually pay for themselves, but they save lives, relieve pain or make diagnosis easier.
Sometimes that is enough.
That means I need an office manager or a practice manager.
“An office manager’s realm of authority and decision-making may be very broad or very limited depending on the administrative needs and criteria established. Generally, the office manager may be responsible for the daily accounting transactions with clients, banks, suppliers, and personnel. Office managers may coordinate scheduling, training, purchasing, and bookkeeping for a veterinary practice. Some office managers may be the liaison between the administrator and support staff personnel.”
While a “practice manager may have extremely different responsibilities and authority depending upon the size of the hospital and the ownership or administrator’s delegation.
Practice managers have knowledge of all the responsibilities of a veterinary office manager and the ability to further the management of a veterinary hospital by having direct authority and decision-making responsibilities over all business aspects of the veterinary practice.”
The duties listed are prepare and perform bank deposits.
Erika has been doing that, but she could do more call backs if she didn’t have to reconcile the deposits. Likewise, Erika is helping with the accounts payable while I have been doing the bookkeeping. I don’t actually mind bookkeeping and it allows me to make sure that I am not being taken advantage of.
Various people have been helping with accounts receivable, but it really has crept up a tad too much. Lots of people promise that they will pay us, but when it is no longer an emergency, paying us is no longer a priority.
We need someone to take over this and get us paid or accounts to collection.
Lindsay has stepped up to do the staff schedules. The receptionists do their own. They are doing such a good job that I didn’t realize we were missing two people on Tuesday.
Next duty: Mediate personnel issues. This is one of the huge reasons that I would like a manager. I don’t care to conduct weekly staff meetings and coordinate the daily work assignments, but I don’t like the details of making sure things get done. Every. Day.
Becky Jo has been working on the direct action to deal with complaints and serve as liaison to clients concerning complaints, but a few of these have dropped through the cracks.
Garrett and Rusty have done a bit to oversee building and equipment maintenance and make sure things get done, but they have to do that around their other jobs.
Another duty is purchases/supervise supplies purchases. Lindsay is doing most of the day to day ordering. Stephanie helps with vaccines or other things. I work with purchasing equipment purchases.
I am most happy to hand off the hat that ensure compliance with laws and regulations. There are a lot that are specific to veterinary medicine that will have to be taught, but it is another group of details that I don’t really need to do.
I don’t think one person could do well with all of Guardian Animal’s marketing plan.
The pet of the day, Instagram, Facebook,
website and community events are all significant tasks. However, someone to make sure that all of the rest of us are on track on busy days would be great.
Our practice management software (manage practice information technology (IT)) is a job by itself. And then the job includes prepare or supervise hospital accounting, prepare hospital budgets, audit company and prepare financial information.
One of the duties that I really want completed that we have had trouble with is the Key Performance Indicator, which is a set of numbers that determine how the business is doing. This becomes important as I want to add another veterinarian.
As I read down the VHMA list, I realize that the duties are what the future practice manager will want to know, but what is most important to me is the critical competencies.
The thirteen critical competencies that the VHMA lists are decision making (a new day is a new situation), integrity, critical and strategic thinking (vet med is changing), planning and prioritizing, oral communication and comprehension (speaking and listening), writing and verbal skills (my staff says we have a protocol for everything), analytical skills (we make business decisions based on complex data), compliance (importance of organizational rules and policies), resourcefulness (vet med does not have the money that human med does, but we want better results), resilience, adaptability, continuous learning and leadership.
So, I will list the duties and search for the core competencies.
Stay tuned. Growth and well thought out change improves the future.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. 606-928-6566

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