5 keys to success when developing a wellness plan

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In a previous post, I shed some light on how to know if your practice needs a Wellness Plan. Say you’ve determined that your clients need one. What’s next? Developing a Wellness Plan for your practice can feel daunting, but it’s actually not as hard as it may seem.

5 Keys to Success When Developing a Wellness Plan

Here are five keys to helping make your development efforts successful:

Key #1: Keep coverage options simple

Before you begin developing a Wellness Plan, work with your medical team to decide what to cover, based on your practice’s existing medical care standards for preventative care. Keep it as simple as possible, as your main goal with a preventative care plan is to improve overall compliance with your recommendations for preventative health care.

Choose services that can easily be applied to all situations and leave the rest out of the plan. Common ones include physical exams, vaccinations and dental care.

Avoid inclusion of products, as this can complicate the plans since pets vary in size, species and type of product used.

All different sizes and breeds of dogs

Key #2: Price your Wellness Plan to make sense for you and your clients

If you want to offer a 12-month payment plan, a deep discount will leave you out in the cold. Most practices build in an upfront annual enrollment fee that is anywhere from $40 to $100. This captures some of the costs of the plan at the first visit, preventing the practice from taking all the risk on at once. The balance of your total plan cost is then divided over 12 equal payments.

Example: If your practice decides on a package of services that you are going to price out at a total value of $400, and you decide that a $30 monthly payment is reasonable, then you will charge the client a $40 annual enrollment fee plus $30/month over 12 months for a total cost of $400 to the client.

Key # 3: Offer Wellness Plan options

Clients like choices. There is no one-size-fits-all magic plan that will drive clients to your door. Click To Tweet Choose two or three levels of coverage that will appeal to a broad audience.

If you want to include a loyalty discount, consider offering different discounts for each level of your plan. Example: Basic plans that offer 5% off services outside the plan; Premium plans that offer 10% off services outside the plan; Senior plans that offer 15% off services outside the plan.

Key #4: Pick a payment platform that is easy to manage

An effective payment platform is a key consideration when developing a Wellness Plan. Choose an administration system that works for your practice from a convenience and financial standpoint. Click To Tweet Many companies will help manage your Wellness Plan by processing your payments for you.

Begin by checking with your local banking partner. You will probably find that they offer a platform that will allow you to process automatic monthly credit or debit cards, and/or handle ACH checking account payments. These platforms usually just need to be set up once, then staff can load new account information as clients enroll in your preventative care plans.

Key #5: When developing a Wellness Plan, adopt successful ideas from others

If monthly payments and multi-level plans sound too complicated, or you want to start with something simpler, consider this.

Sara Fleissner, Practice Development Director for Frontier Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Oregon, developed a plan that has clients pay everything upfront with a generous discount built into each plan. With pre-paid semi-annual visits, compliance soared. In 2007, 32% of their patients were enrolled in a preventative care package. That number grew to 55% in 2012.

Sara’s advice to practices that are thinking about developing a Wellness Plan is to take baby steps. She says, “Start with one simple plan, monitor your progress and let it evolve from there.”

Step by step paw animation


Brenda Tassava is veterinary consultant and veterinary conference speaker. She consults privately with veterinary practices around the U.S. Brenda can be reached at brenda@vetsupport.com.

This blog has been updated and was originally published on February 17, 2016.