Private Equity's Influence in Veterinary Medicine: A Veterinarian's Perspective

DoveLewis is a nonprofit emergency animal hospital that has been serving the Portland, Oregon community for over 50 years. The hospital is staffed by highly skilled veterinarians and support staff dedicated to providing the best possible care to animals in need.

We recently sat down with Dr. Christin Gooding, Criticalist and Director of Critical Care at DoveLewis, to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of private equity on animal hospitals. Private equity has become a hot topic in the veterinary industry, and its effects on organizations are not always clear. In this blog series, we will explore the subject of private equity in greater detail and provide insights into what it means to work for a privately owned clinic. Our goal is to provide a first-hand look into this topic and help veterinary professionals make informed decisions about their careers in veterinary medicine.

Private equity is becoming more and more common in veterinary medicine, and DoveLewis prides itself on being a local nonprofit organization. What does “no private equity” mean to you?

Working at a hospital that has no private equity means two things to me. Firstly, it means that the company I work for does not have a financial and operational oversight incentive with the primary goal of profit and efficiency to sell the company later. Secondly, no private equity means that the bottom-line items will not be up-charged at the level of the client, which would significantly affect employee well-being and enjoyment at work when in the healthcare industry.

What advantages can being an independent clinic offer patients and the community?

Independent clinics, especially a local nonprofit, are very client and community-focused. Engagement in helping the community is front and center of the organization’s mission, and it feels great to be a part of a group that cares for the local public this much. Clients also receive more transparency, where their feelings, finances, and individual limitations are considered in every decision. Their satisfaction is essential to their visit and the hospital’s success. So they seem beyond just a number. That is hugely uplifting for anyone, both on the clinical level and for managers and leaders making strategic and often difficult decisions.

Describe the decision-making process at DoveLewis. Can you share an example of when you brought a suggestion, concern, or desired change to the team? How was it received?

I bring ideas and changes to the hospital daily. One of my primary responsibilities at the hospital is to ensure we are keeping up with evolving medical standards, ensure effective feedback from medical team members to management, and provide digestible and practical changes to operations on the floor. My experience formulating and expressing new ideas to DoveLewis has been very positive. They make my job easy because they already understand the values and goals of medical staff, are in tune with top client worries and concerns, and live by their mission to serve the community.

What is something you are looking forward to at DoveLewis in the next year? In the next five years?

I am looking forward to us building a second hospital location across the street from our current location to expand our specialty departments. This will allow us to continue developing our Emergency and ICU services. This is a large project for a single nonprofit location and makes me feel confident you do not need private equity to invest in the longevity of a growing business.


Christin Gooding


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