• 1. Verdon DR. Pet owners push back on prices. DVM360 News 2011;Sep 1. Available at: veterinarynews.dvm360.com/pet-owners-push-back-prices?id=&pageID=l&sk=&date=. Accessed Feb 5, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2. Scheidegger J. Veterinary practices performing more euthanasias despite increase in stop treatment point. DVM360 News 2012;Oct 24. Available at: veterinarynews.dvm360.com/veterinary-practices-performing-more-euthanasias-despite-increase-stop-treatment-point. Accessed Feb 5, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3. Tremayne J. Economic euthanasia on the rise. Vet Practice News 2014;Jun 10. Available at: www.veterinarypracticenews.com/June-2009/Economic-Euthanasia-On-The-Rise/. Accessed Feb 5, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4. American Animal Hospital Association, AVMA. Reversing the decline in veterinary care utilization: progress made, challenges remain. Schaumburg, Ill: Partners for Healthy Pets, 2014. Available at: www.partnersforhealthypets.org/Uploads/iv4kcp3e.juc/VetCareUsageStudy_WhitePaper_July2014.pdf Accessed Feb 5, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5. Kipperman B. Economic euthanasia; a disease in need of prevention. Aug 10, 2010. Available at: www.hsvma.org/economiceuthanasiadiseaseinneedofprevention#.VNVJ8SnFJGI. Accessed Feb 5, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6. Skipper GE, Williams JB. Failure to acknowledge high suicide risk among veterinarians. J Vet Med Educ 2012; 39: 7982.

  • 7. Figley CR, Roop RG. The practice of veterinary medicine and compassion fatigue. In: Compassion fatigue in the animal care community. Washington, DC: Humane Society Press, 2006;5156.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8. Coe JB, Adams CL, Bonnett BN. A focus group study of veterinarians' and pet owners' perceptions of the monetary aspects of veterinary care. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2007; 231: 15101518.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9. Volk JO, Felsted KE, Thomas JG, et al. Executive summary of the Bayer veterinary care usage study. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2011; 238: 12751282.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10. Coe JB, Adams CL, Bonnett BN. Prevalence and nature of cost discussions during clinical appointments in companion animal practice. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2009; 234: 14181424.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11. Flemming DD, Scott JF. The informed consent doctrine: what veterinarians should tell their clients. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 224: 14361439.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12. Alexander GC, Casalino LP, Meltzer DO. Patient-physician communication about out-of-pocket costs. JAMA 2003; 290: 953958.

  • 13. Ubel PA, Abernethy AP, Zafar SY. Full disclosure—out-of-pocket costs as side effects. N Engl J Med 2013; 369: 14841486.

  • 14. Mechanic D, McAlpine DD, Rosenthal M. Are patients' office visits with physicians getting shorter? N Engl J Med 2001; 344: 198204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15. Robinson NJ, Dean RS, Cobb M, et al. Consultation length in first opinion small animal practice. Vet Rec 2014; 175: 486.

  • 16. Cochrane A. Animal rights without liberation: applied ethics and human obligations (critical perspectives on animals: theory, culture, science, and law). New York: Columbia University Press, 2012;132.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17. Rollin BE. Animal rights & human morality. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006;311.

  • 18. Rollin BE. Putting the horse before Descartes: my life's work on behalf of animals (animals and ethics). Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011;5761.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19. Kahler SC. Moral stress the top trigger in veterinarians' compassion fatigue. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015; 246: 1618.

Advertisement

Factors that influence small animal veterinarians’ opinions and actions regarding cost of care and effects of economic limitations on patient care and outcome and professional career satisfaction and burnout

Barry S. Kipperman DVM1, Philip H. Kass DVM, MPVM, PhD2, and Mark Rishniw BVSc, PhD3
View More View Less
  • 1 Veterinary Emergency and Specialist Care Center, 7660 Amador Valley Blvd, Dublin, CA, 94568
  • | 2 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, 95616
  • | 3 Veterinary Information Network, 777 W Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95615

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine small animal veterinarians’ opinions and actions regarding costs of care, obstacles to client education about veterinary care costs, and effects of economic limitations on patient care and outcome and professional career satisfaction and burnout.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 1,122 small animal practitioners in the United States and Canada.

PROCEDURES An online survey was sent to 37,036 veterinarians. Respondents provided information regarding perceived effects of client awareness of costs and pet health insurance coverage on various aspects of practice, the influence of client economic limitations on professional satisfaction and burnout, and proposals for addressing those effects.

RESULTS The majority (620/1,088 [57%]) of respondents indicated that client economic limitations affected their ability to provide the desired care for their patients on a daily basis. Approximately half (527/1,071 [49%]) of respondents reported a moderate-to-substantial level of burnout, and many cited client economic limitations as an important contributing factor to burnout. Only 31% and 23% of respondents routinely discussed veterinary costs and pet insurance, respectively, with clients before pets became ill, and lack of time was cited as a reason for forgoing those discussions. Most respondents felt improved client awareness of veterinary costs and pet health insurance would positively affect patient care and client and veterinarian satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested most small animal practitioners believe the veterinary profession needs to take action at educational and organizational levels to inform pet owners and educate and train veterinary students and veterinarians about the costs of veterinary care.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine small animal veterinarians’ opinions and actions regarding costs of care, obstacles to client education about veterinary care costs, and effects of economic limitations on patient care and outcome and professional career satisfaction and burnout.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 1,122 small animal practitioners in the United States and Canada.

PROCEDURES An online survey was sent to 37,036 veterinarians. Respondents provided information regarding perceived effects of client awareness of costs and pet health insurance coverage on various aspects of practice, the influence of client economic limitations on professional satisfaction and burnout, and proposals for addressing those effects.

RESULTS The majority (620/1,088 [57%]) of respondents indicated that client economic limitations affected their ability to provide the desired care for their patients on a daily basis. Approximately half (527/1,071 [49%]) of respondents reported a moderate-to-substantial level of burnout, and many cited client economic limitations as an important contributing factor to burnout. Only 31% and 23% of respondents routinely discussed veterinary costs and pet insurance, respectively, with clients before pets became ill, and lack of time was cited as a reason for forgoing those discussions. Most respondents felt improved client awareness of veterinary costs and pet health insurance would positively affect patient care and client and veterinarian satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested most small animal practitioners believe the veterinary profession needs to take action at educational and organizational levels to inform pet owners and educate and train veterinary students and veterinarians about the costs of veterinary care.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 40 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Kipperman (bkipper98@aol.com).