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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

VIP Vets

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I think my veterinarian and I are the last two men in America who get their hair cut at a barber shop instead of a salon. This is where I ran into him. 

“Did I tell you I had to get a new doctor?” I asked my vet.

“Yeah, you mentioned it. How’s the new physician working out?” he replied.

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call him new,” I said. “He’s got to be 80.”

“You must be talking about old Doc Mallard,” he said.

“You know of him then? What do you think of him as a doctor?” I asked. 

“I’ve heard of him all right. For heaven’s sake, Doc Mallard was my mother’s doctor! Mallard’s now part of the Quack Medical Group, which should be your first clue. And personally, I make it a point to avoid any doctor who can’t even keep the plants in his office alive,” he replied. 

“I know he’s a little old, but I like Doc Mallard,” I said. “On our first visit he asked me to show him where I felt pain, so I touched my foot and said it hurt. Then I touched my head, and I said it hurt too. Finally, I jabbed myself in the stomach and doubled over in pain. I thought I had cancer-of-the-everything, but he accurately diagnosed me as having a broken finger.”

“After only one visit, he cured me of diseases I didn’t even know I had, like the heebie jeebies, the creeps, cooties and the willies,” I continued. “We’re now working on my vapors, breakbone fever, nettlerash, scrofula, quinsy, glanders, carbuncles, boils, dyspepsia, piles, scurvy, consumption, farcy and hectic fever.”  

“You do know those diseases are already wiped out?” my vet asked.

“I know. See how good he is! With the younger doctors everything’s a syndrome, and all they really know how to do is play golf. With Doc Mallard, I’m off all the meds I was on before. Instead, he switched me over to Lydia E. Pinkhams Vegetable Compound. Not all pharmacies carry it, but you can make your own with a mortar and pestle and a few herbs and weeds from your garden. But, the news isn’t all good,” I said. “Doc Mallard says he’ll probably need to bleed me to cure my dropsy and cerebral softening.”

“You do know that the last person bled by a doctor was over 100 years ago? At least on purpose,” he said.

“Well, it can’t hurt and who knows, it might even help me,” I said. 

“Tell me again why you quit your last physician?” he asked. 

“I really liked him, but my insurance wouldn’t cover me because he joined the Matasanos Medical Group,” I said. 

“You do know ‘matasanos’ roughly translates to ‘killers of the healthy?’” he asked.

“I’d have stayed with him, but he became part of the movement called concierge, valet or VIP medicine. It’s also called Beverly Hills medicine because rappers, drug dealers, sports stars and the Kardashians are joining up. To stay with the Matasanos Group I’d have to pay $2,700 up front for a yearly membership fee,” I said. 

“What is this, Costco medicine?” asked my vet.

“In addition to the yearly fee, it’s $150 a visit, payable in cash. No insurance accepted. Basically, it’s for wealthy clients. Perhaps it’s something you should look into for your veterinarian practice,” I said. 

“I really doubt the average rancher is going to give $2,700 just to establish a deeper relationship with me,” he said. 

“It’s basically a status symbol for rich people who want their doctor to make house calls,” I said.

“I do that now, and no one is giving me $2,700 a year,” replied my vet.

“For this membership fee you get a promise the doctor will always be on time, and you’ll have complete access to a network of specialists your doc can refer you to in order to take part of the blame if things go wrong,” I said. 

“Who would I have in my network?” asked my vet.

“You could refer your patients to the tallow man or the leather tanner, for example. And if your client was reading an article in an old cow magazine the concierge vet would wait until you finished reading the article. He’d wait on you instead of the other way around. So, what do you think of the idea of VIP Vets or Beverly Hills boutique veterinarians?” I asked.

“I think the part about always being on time would be a real deal breaker for me,” replied my vet.

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