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It's a dog's world

August 3, 2010
by Nelson W. Burns
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Taking my dog to the “emergency hospital” this weekend reminds me of my favorite video… “It’s a Dog’s World.” Coleman Professional Services has used this video for our customer service training with our employees for years. Maybe you have seen it. The video gives a wonderful example of comparing the healthcare industry to the animal care industry. The dog, injured in a fall, gets immediate medical attention with minimum wait; the man hurt in the same accident gets a rude reception, nurse and doctor with long waits, and poor service.

Arriving with my poor, sick dog on Sunday afternoon to this thriving 24/7 animal hospital, my wife and I were so impressed with their quick responses, three receptionists, and a nurse came out to my car with a caring veterinarian to help diagnose my pet’s problem. Even while paying the bill, the receptionist would not let the phone ring more than two times! Now let’s look at the public behavioral health industry and compare the differences these days. Underpaid staff, burned out with poorly trained employees and administrators/funders pining the phrase… “do more with less.”

Of course the difference is in how we pay for human beings versus animals. We all know that many animals go without good medical treatment and are euthanized in APL clinics across the county. Many of these local clinics are financially suffering (at least in my part of Ohio). However, many people don’t hesitate to pay for beloved pets with their earned income. What is the push back when paying for healthcare? I don’t think the costs are that much cheaper for my dog versus my visit to the emergency department. We must seek a solution to this issue and improve the quality of behavioral health service. Leadership should find these meaningful solutions by working together with a common vision of helping people who suffer from mental illness. These are goals that can be accomplished.


Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns has been the president and CEO of ...

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