VetPartners 2022 Mid-Year Meeting Does Not Disappoint

Oct 26, 2022 at 3:50 pm

The 2022 VetPartners Mid-Year Meeting was held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront September 28–30 in Portland, Oregon. As the last session wrapped, and attendees made their way to the infamous CareCredit reception, I heard the phrase, “This was the best meeting yet!” more than once. The 63 attendees spent two packed days learning about the latest trends, updates, and success tips in the veterinary industry. In case you missed the meeting (and the giant shrimp), here are the highlights.

Profitability panels

Profitability is always top of mind, and two separate panels of financial experts shared their expertise about how veterinary practices can maximize profits. The first panel, “Profitability: Diving into Revenue,” was led by Glenn Hanner, and featured panelists Elise Lacher, Dr. Joy Fuhrman, Terra Eddleman, and Kirk Eddelman. The second panel, “Profitability: Digging into Expenses,” was led by Dr. Peter Weinstein, and featured panelists Cammi Bailey, David McCormick, Jimmy, Bell, and Steve Strickler. The panelists answered a variety of questions, which also spurred lively discussion and input from the attendees.

Practice Impossible panel

After leading with a rousing Practice Impossible video (think Restaurant Impossible with expired drugs instead of bad meat), practice consultant Dr. Joy Fuhrman posed a variety of difficult real-life scenarios to panelists Mary Mongioi, Monica Dixon Perry, Robin Brogdon, and Debbie Boone. From job postings so horrible they were hilarious, to untrained team members presented with a crashing patient, to dealing with resistant staff after a hospital purchase, the panelists gave excellent advice about how to handle the scary, stressful, and downright unbelievable situations. 

Insights from a new veterinary graduate

Fresh off of an overnight emergency shift, Tierra Price, DVM, a recent veterinary graduate of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and founder of BlackDVM Network, joined the meeting virtually to provide information and insights about what factors new veterinary graduates consider when searching for a job. Competitive pay, flexible scheduling, benefits, mentorship, company values, and work-life balance topped the list of a new graduate’s considerations. Dr. Price also discussed why new veterinarians typically don’t stay at their first job, and what practices can do to make a new grad’s experience more fulfilling and positive. 

Veterinary technician shortage—the issues and possible solution

In a passionate presentation, Meagan Parks, RVT, lead veterinary technician recruiter with Mission Veterinary Partners, tackled the issue of the current veterinary technician shortage. 

Drawing from the results of her recent veterinary technician survey, Meagan shared sad statistics—70% of respondents had completely left the veterinary field, and another 15% planned to leave in the next year—and the impact this drastic turnover has on the veterinary industry. Making less than a McDonald’s employee, mental burnout, and toxic workplace culture is taking a toll on these valuable team members, with devastating consequences. Lastly, Meagan proposed solutions, including paying veterinary technicians a living wage, to keep them in the field and perhaps bring back those who have left.

Courageous conversations

Finishing off Friday afternoon was an impactful discussion with Peter Weinstein, DVM, and Phillip Nelson, DVM, about their ongoing Courageous Conversations podcast series. After the George Floyd tragedy, Peter called Phillip, the then-current dean of Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, to try to understand the situation. Phillip’s response: “Why are you calling me? Am I your only black friend?” What ensued has become a series of difficult conversations, during which Peter and Phillip share stories and experiences to better understand each other, based on their different perspectives. During the last VetPartners session, Phillip shared three stories from his life that have molded his perspective, and Peter shared how his life experiences have been vastly different. The discussion left the room somber, and more aware of how our different life experiences influence our individual perspectives.

The programming committee knocked it out of the park, and Bill Schroeder took the mic as MC, complete with dad jokes. Intermixed with the sessions were ample networking opportunities, great food, and lively discussions—often over after-dinner drinks. The sessions were recorded by Veteos, so stay tuned about how you can access on-demand content from the meeting.

The VetPartners Annual Meeting will take place February 15–17, 2023 in Las Vegas, prior to the WVC Annual Conference—look for registration to open soon at!

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Dr. Angela Beal

Angela Beal, DVM, is COO of Rumpus Writing and Editing, a veterinary-specific writing and editing company. Her past endeavors include working in small animal practice and directing a veterinary technician program for 15 years. Angela resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two soccer-loving teenage boys.

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