Are Veterinary Consolidators and Hospital Groups Helping or Hurting Veterinary Medicine?
During the last three decades, a growing number of privately-owned veterinary hospitals providing general, specialty, and emergency medical care to pets have been acquired by corporate entities such as veterinary consolidators and hospital groups. Their are approximately 28,000 to 32,000 veterinary practices in the United States.
In HUMAN MEDICINE, the Association of Independent Doctors (AID), a trade association representing the concerns and interests of independent doctors, which seeks to stop the consolidation of hospitals and medical practices stated the following:
- “Every day hospitals and private equity groups are buying up medical practices turning independent doctors into employees. That trend is not healthy for patients or for doctors and it hurts our health-care system. When doctors give up their independence to work for health systems, studies show that health-care costs go up, quality goes down, access to care is limited, jobs are lost, communities suffer financial harm, and doctors feel less satisfied. Everybody pays.”
According to a forecast by Brakke Consulting (a leading consulting firm in the pet and veterinary care industry) approximately Twenty-Five percent (25%) of all veterinary practices will be corporate-owned by 2023 which represents half of all veterinary visits. Back in 2017, it was estimated at over Ten percent (10%).
The Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association (IVPA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to privately-owned practices which are independently owned and locally operated. Their website includes a nationwide listing of their veterinary practice members. In addition, the Veterinary Specialty Practice Alliance (VSPA), is a nonprofit association that represents independently owned veterinary specialty hospitals.
There are currently more than 60 consolidators within the veterinary consolidation space which is a form of investment when bigger veterinary groups buy smaller ones (or just veterinary practices directly either from a private or corporate-owned) to boost profits and often re-sell a revitalized business in 5-7 years. Some of these consolidators are backed by private equity (PE) which aim for fast growth, an increase in profit margins and may seek additional mergers and acquisitions in order to maximize returns. VIEW the list of consolidators that own the largest share of the veterinary market.
- Common Perceptions about Corporate-Owned Veterinary Practices
- DOCTORS SPENDING LESS TIME WITH PATIENTS: Doctors are under pressure to see high numbers of patients as corporate hospitals book more appointments per hour compared to private-owned practices.
- Competition in Veterinary Medicine
- How will the increase in corporate owned practices change the face of veterinary care. Simple, costs will increase as competition decreases. Pets and their families will increasingly not be able to afford care. Especially in the areas of emergency and specialty care.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE COMING YEARS FOR VETERINARY MEDICINE IN THE U.S.
Competition Watchdog Bares Teeth Again in Veterinary Realm (5.4.22)
- The United Kingdom’s competition regulator has moved to block a veterinary takeover deal, in a sign that antitrust authorities are growing increasingly uneasy about the rising power of big corporations in the profession.
- The market share of independent practices in the U.K. plummeted from 83% in 2013 to 45% in 2021.