Monday, September 6, 2010

Banfield under fire

From VIN News comes this underreported story about legal actions taken by veterinarians working at a Banfield pet hospital in Oregon:
"A lawsuit by an ex-Banfield veterinarian in Oregon alleging unethical medical and business practices by the corporation has been dismissed, but a second veterinarian who once worked at the same clinic has a similar complaint pending before the state Bureau of Labor and Industries....
Like Nix, Esquivel alleges that veterinarians and staff at Nyberg Woods were pressed by their superiors to maximize the clinic’s profits at the expense of patient care and welfare, such as by ordering frequent costly ultrasound images and by presenting the clinic as a night-time emergency-care center when it was not properly staffed and equipped to provide true emergency service. 
Esquivel also alleges that she was under pressure to generate a specific amount of revenue for the clinic — $2,200 a day — but was assigned to handle a large share of free wellness exams for which clients were billed “only for vaccines and other small procedures,” and therefore was unable to meet her quota, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Nyberg Woods struggled to retain clients and that Esquivel had to skip meal and rest breaks to cover the workload. This paradoxical situation arose because management scheduled fewer people per shift to save money, Shahri said in an interview.

By the end of 2008, according to the complaint, Esquivel had become ill from the working conditions and chronic stress. Following 60 days of medical leave, she gave Banfield notice that she would quit “unless she could be assured that their practices would change,” the complaint states. She did not receive a response, but a termination notice was placed in her employee file, according to the complaint."

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