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Standardized Vet Fees

mummummum
January 27th, 2007, 12:30 AM
I'm remembering previous threads in which we have compared Vet bills and typical costs along with the recent poll about how much each us is prepared to spend and on what basis. In some cases, we seem to pay similar costs for X treatment within the same region but, for other treatments there seem to be HUGE differences. And, as we all know it adds UP.

Unlike healthcare in Canada where the costs are standardized in each province and doctors cannot charge-back the Ministry of Health anymore than beyond the standard rate ~ there are no (as far as I know) standard rates for Vets, it's more a "what the market will bear' costing "formula".

I would like to see standard costing. At least within framed geographical boundaries. It just seems unreasonable that I should pay $ for procedure at my Vet when you pay $$ for the same procedure 10 km/mile down the street.

Out of curiousity, what would you be prepared to do make Vet clinic fees standardized ? Petitions to the Vet College ? Letters ? Lobbying your MP/ MPP ? Sending emails/ posts to other like-minded folks on other boards & breed organizations ? Etc Etc Etc...

And has this ever been tried ?

Prin
January 27th, 2007, 12:32 AM
I don't know if I would like standardized vet prices... I would hate for good vets with good equipment be penalized and bad vets with no equipment benefit... You know? It's a multi-sided issue.:shrug:

dustybird
January 27th, 2007, 01:51 AM
It's hard to say if it would work or not. The caring vets will still do what they do and the ones who don't care will do less since they aren't "making what they think they are worth" (in their minds). I know because I've seen them and looked through them ( worked in a clinic for x number of years). Once a year the ontario college of veterinarians or the college of veterinarians (can't remember who) sends out a fee guide to all the vet clinics or private vets. They want the vets to charge what they say as they (head honchoes) think that is what a vet is worth. Most vets do their own thing and charge what they think is fair, other's see dollar signs and right away up their prices(or even raise them higher than what is suggested). The one clinic I worked for only raised the prices on things he thought were fair and not very often raised the price of the exam fee's as he felt that would turn animals in need away from care. At the time most of the clinics in the area were charging 45 for an exam and he still charged the price from about 2-3 yrs ago, I think it was like 35-38 ( it's been awhile). He would also get very angry if the office manager who only thought in $ signs raised any prices without his consent. It was a very profitable clinic because of the care and compassion every client and their pet recieved and there never were any surprise fee's. You knew exactly what you were going to pay as everyone got an estimate always rated higher and the final bill was if not that amout most of the time lower.

I am more concerned with the standard of care than the price, if I feel I am being taken for money and not seeing the care/compassion I expect from the vet and the staff then I will go elsewhere. I think we would being paying a lot more at the vet if they all had to charge the same thing as the ones who decide it are already trying to get vets to charge us an arm and a leg.

It would be great if the suggested prices were not already as high as they are and I have a hard time thinking that they would lower them.

Just my thoughts and I am sorry my post ended up soooo long.

Dad of Dog's
January 27th, 2007, 02:02 AM
It would be no different than ours. The ones with more advanced equipment could perform more procedures.

Prin
January 27th, 2007, 02:18 AM
I think it might end up the other way around. The ones with the crappy equipment would need you to spend more money to get a diagnosis because their equipment would give such shoddy results. :o

OntarioGreys
January 27th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Are you aware a vet and a general doctor both are doctors of medicine? They both have to complete the same number of years in school taking almost indentically courses with the same costs. The vet student has more to take is and learn since they are learning about more than one species of mammal or animal.

Do you know what your family doctor earns annually? Is he doing all his own surgeries? or does he sending a a specialist for almost everything under the sun, which does not require a pad of paper to write a prescription. Does he have his own surgery in his office, does he have all his own diagnostic equipments. Do you know why there are severe shortages of doctors in rural areas, though their is a wage scale it also reflects cost of living in certain areas therefore more profitable to be in larger cities, the resaon many doctors is rural areas retired or quit and why very few will move into low populated areas, as a result I have to wait a month to get an appointment with my doctor, at least I have a doctor, some people here have been without a doctor for 3 years. How does one get a annual paps smear, or a job physical if you no doctor So goverment interference can to dangerous harm as it has done is the case of regulating doctors, in rural areas it is costing people their lives, people are being diagnosed with cancer when it is too late, doctors are so overloaded they have no time to ask questions are rush their patient thru like and assembly line often doing no more than handing out with a prescription as a quick fix to a complaint rather than doing a physical exam and taking time to learn all the symptoms, it has been years since I have had a doctor tell me to stand on a weigh scale or ask me if I have any other problems, I use to have doctor call me up and tell me it is time to come in for a physical or have and exam, I can't even remember when the last time that happened, it has to be over 16 years

Do you know what your vet earns annually? or what his operating cost are in comparison to your doctors.

The greatest reason for differences in costs has to do with cost of living/operating in certain areas of the country.

For example here a vet can purchase a building to operate out of for $250,000 and about $3,000 in property taxes , near downtown Toronto a similiar property would be closer to a million and taxes are probably $8,000 or more , there is no way the vet in the heart of Toronto could afford to stay in business if they charged the same fees as the vets here.

The offset which most are not considering when comparing vet costs across the country is that their own wages also are higher that those living in rural areas for the same line of work which allows you to pay the difference in the higher cost of living. As a result the autoworker in Oshawa earns a higher hourly wage than I earn working in a plant in Ingersoll though the employer is still GM even though we do the same work

So if you are expecting to pay the same costs, you have to be willing to take a cut in wages as well, why should we expect a vet to take a major financial hit only.

The vet has already made a huge financial sacrifice( over 150k per annum (income) by choosing to care for animals over people. a vet earns roughly $80k
where as the doctor in my area the lower income are starts at over $250K and he has no diaganostic equipment to purchase.

The vet is gynacologist, dermatologist, internal specialist, urologist, surgeon dentist and general doctor all roled in one, imagine how much you would pay if you had to keep seeing your vet first just in order to be referred to a specialist, because of medicare we as Canadian have no clue as to much our health cost fees are, yes they get so much per visit but often leave to treating to specialist because it is not worth it to them to due much more the write a prescription or order a couple of tests, the specialist get to charge not only for the visit but for treatments and that is where he bigger money come in

If people ever chose to force vets to recieve even less I think it would back fire big time, instead it would create a lot of anger and they may instead decide join forces to appeal to the courts they are a doctor of medicine after all the only real difference is they are treating 4 legged mammals rather than 2 and the court would have to grant the equality in wages to the family doctor because they cannot discriminate against only one type of doctor. 30 years ago general anesthesia was not covered by OHIP back then the cost was $300 today that figure would probably closer to $1000 if we had to pay out of pocket, so just imagine what a dental would cost or a surgery under equal pay, you could easily expect to pay 5 to 6 times the current costs for many procedures.

So when you demand fairness remember it is a 2 way street the vet could easily demand the same fairness in return , that is to be compensated as a doctor of medicine.

mummummum
January 27th, 2007, 08:04 AM
OG that's a fairly *angry* post ~ I'm not dismissing as unfair what I pay to my Vet, what I'm suggesting is that if all fees were standardized that may raise awareness as to level of care and as such improve popular demand for a standardized care = money.

OntarioGreys
January 27th, 2007, 08:29 AM
OG that's a fairly *angry* post ~ I'm not dismissing as unfair what I pay to my Vet, what I'm suggesting is that if all fees were standardized that may raise awareness as to level of care and as such improve popular demand for a standardized care = money.

It is not meant to be angry, but what vet would want to remain in Toronto if they were forced to charge the same amount as a vet in Woodstock, Norwich or Barrie where the cost operating an office is only a 1/4 or 1/3 of what he pays. Would you remain in Toronto if your wages were lowered to be the same as someone with the same job in Chatham were the rent half what you have to pay, thus prevent you from being able to pay the rent?

In reality your cost of vet care is comparable because your earning for your job is higher than in areas where the cost of living is lower, so it is not enough to look at fees only you also have to take into account your income.


A person living on the east coast has a lower income and lower cost of living and there their vets fees will also be lower than what my vet charges, so it does mostly balance out across the country when other factors are taken into consideration

mummummum
January 27th, 2007, 08:52 AM
Respectfully OG I must disagree and I think you may have missed my point around geo-boundaries. So let me be clear.

I am concerned that I pay $ at my clinic whereas a clinic down the street ~ not across the country ~a clinic charges $$ for the same procedure. I think it is reasonable that I pay more to visit a Vet on Very-Rich Road versus Middle-Income Road but, surely there has to be a baseline of actual costs. The difference should not be hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, as Prin noted, the standard of care should be the same for the same dollars.

Prin
January 27th, 2007, 02:15 PM
That's the problem though. If you get the provincial government involved, then prices would probably be standardized in the easiest way possible- by large areas. Once you start dealing with percentages and property values, I think the powers that be would just shut down.:shrug:

IMO, it's a buyer beware thing. It's the same with insurance. If you don't shop around between companies and even discuss options within one company, of course your rates will be higher than mine, if I do shop till I drop.

I had this discussion with mafiaprincess a while ago about vaccines. Some vets still vaccinate every year. Yes, it's probably a scam and there are standards out there that they just don't follow. But it's up to us to walk in there equipped with all the info we can possibly have to get the service our pets deserve.

OntarioGreys
January 28th, 2007, 03:43 AM
Respectfully OG I must disagree and I think you may have missed my point around geo-boundaries. So let me be clear.

I am concerned that I pay $ at my clinic whereas a clinic down the street ~ not across the country ~a clinic charges $$ for the same procedure. I think it is reasonable that I pay more to visit a Vet on Very-Rich Road versus Middle-Income Road but, surely there has to be a baseline of actual costs. The difference should not be hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, as Prin noted, the standard of care should be the same for the same dollars.

Lets say you were talking about a spay.

vet A charges $250 vet B down the road charges $400

they are both doing the exact same surgery but there can still be valid reasons why one charges more.

Vet A
-uses animal grade anesthesias
-they do not include pre-op blood work it is optional,
- they may not include a post op pain injection to carry on after the anethesia wears off
- they may not include an antibiotic injection as a just in case
- surgery done with a scapel
- assistant monitor vitals periodically between check on other surgically patients or getting the phone

Vet B
- uses only human grade anesthesia they are safer and better tolerated
- includes pre-op blood work
- gives a pain injection that will provide additional comfort for 24 hours after anesthesia wears off
- gives an antibiotic injections and possibly sends some home with the client
-removes any babyteeth that may be remaining since they are easy to remove any prevents have to possibly anesthesize again to do later.
- trims toe nails
- entire time dog is under it is hooked up to an EKG machine to monitor pulse, blood pressure, temp and respiration and heartbeat so as to know any problems are occuring immediately before situation can become lifethreatening so medications can be administered with causing interuption to the surgery, if something like hyperthermia occur and does not get noted till seizure start, surgery has to be stopped injection given and patient then needs to be tranferred into a vat and packed in ice hopefully not to late where they slip into a coma where rescuitation needs to occur and if lucky animal survives.
- uses laser to do surgery, which results in a smaller incision with less scar tissue, less inflammation and less bleeding also reduces possible post op bleeding and patient has a easier and shorter recovery, time under anesthesia also shorter so less likelihood of anesthesia related nausea.
_ vet B also recently purchased an ultrasound machine to be able to provide better care to his patients and be able to avoid possible unnecessary exploratory surgeries and would be able to diagnose organ cancers sooner, cost of the ultrasound equipment starts at $200,000, he cannot pay for it
strictly thru ultrasound usage so must raise costs of other proceedures in order to pay for

Guess what vet I would choose to do my dogs spay? If you guessed Vet B, your right,

A vet that did the exact same work and becomes greedy and charges $200 more but offers nothing extra for the dollars would end up destroying their practice over time and destroy their reputation eventually they would lose their clientelle to other vets who offers the "same level " of service for less. Where free enterprise exists we do not require government interference, consumerism manages/polices it well enough'

If you allowed capping . It would cause vets not to want to invest in specialized equipment because they would have problems paying for, each proceedure would be done seperately inorder to bill for the service, so there would be no overlapping service or inclusions with other proceedures . And lastly crappy vets that consumerism would have helped weeded out, get to flourish because capping now has made it harder to distinguish the better vets from the chaff

A vet that offers more or includes technologies to ensure extra safety, and includes work that can prevent the dog from having to come back again and be put under, foe example for the baby teeth, and has other lifesaving equipment will have a loyal clientelle knowing their dogs will get the best of care and in the event of complications have a better chance of surviving than with a vet that does not have specialized equipment. So those clients prefers to pay more and have the benefits they think is important, which is no different than the person who choose to spend $75 for dogfood when a $20 bag would keep their dog alive, they view the $75 bag has having extra value and quality to enhance their pets life so are willing to spend to have what they believe is important

Dobb
January 28th, 2007, 04:42 AM
I have to agree with OntarioGrey on this topic. You definitely do not get the same care at one vet as you do another. Take my vet clinic: three vets,,five different receptionists, office manager, four or five technicians[not sure], and usually at least one doing training. My buddy has a vet: One semi- retired farm animal vet. Works alone. Works out of his house. Buddy pays less than half of what I pay for same treatments and I'm sure his vet is still making more profit than mine. Would I go to his vet?? Not a chance!! My former dog Beauty had many illnesses and we spent alot of money treating her in the three yrs we had her. We got to know everyone at the clinic just like family. Guaranteed to get a call next day after a visit to see how she was doing, alot of these calls were from the vet personally after clinic hours. I guess the bottom line for me is you get what you pay for. I could opt to save money, but I could be jepardizing my pet's health. I like the system the way it is now,,if you get the goverment involved your sure the system will be screwed up, all rates will be the same and will go up by 20-30 percent,,and some kind of management tax for the goverment also. Anyway that is my opinion, and you can always shop around .
Later Dobb

LL1
January 30th, 2007, 12:31 AM
I have to agree with OntarioGreys,and am not for standardized fees for vets,or doctors.I think it was a very bad move to ban "extra billing" for docs.