August 16, 2022
Are we all living with unnecessary pain in veterinary medicine? Clients, pets and our veterinary teams?
The prevalence of US workers living paycheck to paycheck and Americans overall that classify as “financially fragile” surprises many people yet we all experience this reality in veterinary medicine and animal welfare every day. When pets need care, what happens when these pet families find themselves unable to pay up front or qualify for the most common credit plan in veterinary medicine? It’s a tremendous amount of pain for practice teams and pet families. While some practices report approval ratings as low as 10% for a common financing tool in veterinary medicine, we know that four in ten Americans have credit scores that would make them likely ineligible for traditional credit, they are credit invisible or are simply unscorable (think of an elderly person in your community who paid off their home years ago and has a stale credit file). This new research offers insights to what payment options disassociated with traditional credit scoring could offer to bridge cash flow and credit challenges in veterinary medicine. The research also introduces a veterinary care multiplier and finds from an analysis of six years of payment option data among those unlikely to qualify for traditional credit, practices could provide 14.5 times the medical care versus direct subsidy or discount dollars alone. This implication is that $100,000 of donor dollars to a non-profit clinic could potentially provide $1,450,000 of care for cash strapped clients who need to pay over time but who cannot access traditional credit. In for-profit clinics, $10,000 dollars put to discounts to enable care could otherwise be put to provide $145,000 of care with $135,000 of that being net new care dollars for the practice and clients and patients who need it. The researchers conclude that payment options offer significant opportunities for expansion of care.
Too often the financial barrier to care conversation is dominated by cost of care. Tools to mitigate cash flow and credit challenges offer great opportunity to expand care and have providers paid for their services.
Please share your feedback with us. The corresponding author is Heather Cammisa. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on our Facebook page.