Veterinary Service Agreement

Decades ago, veterinarians owned veterinary clinics. And the law in most states was that only veterinarians could possess it. But there have been smart lawyers who, in response to demands from venture capital and Wall Street, have found a clever way to circumvent laws that prohibit layman ownership of professional practices. The strategy works as follows: lawyers designed an "animal practice structure" in which a veterinary clinic would operate through the interaction of two separate legal entities. One of them would be a "professional company" (owned by one or more DVMs). The second would be a "management company" (owned by people who have money but do not have a veterinary degree). In the end, however, the government doesn`t seem very interested in the fact that unlicensed people don`t have a direct impact on animal care. My advice is therefore as follows: before accepting a position as a partner in a veterinary clinic owned by a company or other non-DVM owner, go to the documents that are already there. Ask them if they feel like management is going too far. Based on this guide, it is much easier to choose a clinic employer that offers DVM-friendly management. Demographic clientele versus level of care: Physicians on staff at a particular MSA clinic may want to offer a full service and establish long-term client-veterinary relationships. But if the management company chooses a "company name" for the practice, such as "Super-Discount Vet Hospital", the veterinary staff may be very unhappy with the customers that such a name attracts.

What if employee DVMs declare their dissatisfaction with the management company? The MSA probably says that the choice of name is the prerogative of . Yes, the management company. But can`t the name of the practice sometimes influence the level of medicine that the institution must practice routinely? But here`s the big problem I see when I put on my vet hat: the MSA/MSO structure has been accepted as acceptable and legal in countless U.S. jurisdictions. But is anyone checking whether the requested separation of powers is actually maintained? Or does the feasibility of the legal theory on which these agreements are based dissolve shortly after the purchase of a clinic or the construction of a hospital empire? And the same paperwork offers essential foosball: Management services are so well valued that most of the clinic`s profits go for – yes, you guessed it – IT management services. What is a service management contract, you ask? Why do they need monitoring? Well, as the snowman says in the "Rudolph the Red Reindeer" special in the "Rudolph the Red Reindeer" special, pull up a block of ice and I`ll tell you the story! There was a time when veterinary practices belonged to veterinary farms. Then there were other interested people. Dr. Christopher J.

Allen is President of the Associates in Veterinary Law PC, which provides legal and advisory services exclusively to veterinarians. He can be reached by e-mail at It does not appear that many attorneys general or most secretaries of state in the United States are extremely concerned about how these veterinary MSAs are implemented. But they should be. Given that an increasing number of veterinary practices need to be controlled by these documents, it is entirely appropriate for regulatory authorities to monitor the degree of professional autonomy (or absence) of employed physicians. For it to work, a really long document, known as a service management contract or MSA, is concluded by the professional company and the management company. This agreement, signed by both companies, provides that all activities and obligations (with the exception of those requiring professional training, references or both) are carried out by the management company. Recruitment decisions: this too may seem, at first glance, like a basic management decision, which hires assistants and other non-DVMs and what they should be paid. . . .