I’m seeing a rise in crowdfunding for veterinary treatment via social media. Some of it is from legitimate charities for certain cases, but also a lot from private individuals who can’t afford treatment.
The latest I’ve seen is typical. They’ve run out of money/insurance and are now posting their crowdfunding link on local community group websites and Facebook pages – so they’re not just getting money from friends or family, but from total strangers too.
I’m worried about the rise in these pages. It’s my understanding they do not pay back the money raised, so how can you check the page is legitimate and the money goes to the vets (and not just to the owners to do with as they please)? Is there even always a pet?
Have the vets not been able to offer services such as Braemar Finance or Carefree Credit? Both were set up to provide low-cost loans to cover medical treatment and, in my experience, I’ve never had a client turned down. It improves cash flow for the practice and means the debt is with a third party, which can make relations with clients easier as they’re not worried about being asked to settle the full debt at the next visit when a new receptionist is on the desk.
How we manage debt as a practice says a lot about how we treat our clients. Having worked in a charity practice for many years, there were several practices in our area we never had clients who had run out of insurance or money from. The practices must have worked well with their client base to keep running and help those in need.
Every practice I know has done pro bono work. But where do you draw the line, and would you want your practice named in a crowdfunding bid for pet treatment? Would you want your diagnosis, treatment plan and costs put out for all to read?
Or does it not matter as long as the bill is paid?