PROFILE: Dr. Kathleen Bartos and Lou Bartos

How did Halifax Veterinary Clinic go from $0 in collections to over $1 million a year?


Dr. Kathleen Bartos and Lou Bartos

Practice: Halifax Veterinary Clinic

Location: Port Orange, Florida

A general small animal veterinarian, who specializes in veterinary acupuncture, Dr. Kathleen Bartos opened her clinic in July of 1990. Together with her husband Lou as office manager, the Halifax Veterinary Clinic struggled badly for the next five months. By December, they had $0 in collections. That’s right – $0.

Dr. Bartos had graduated from the University of Florida veterinary school in 1986. She worked as an associate for two and a half years and then did relief work for other veterinarians for a year and a half while attempting to build her own practice.

She thought she had the necessary tools to succeed.

But in December of 1990, on the verge of bankruptcy, she and Lou had a serious dilemma: do they invest in the practice more or do they shut down?

Due to Dr. Bartos’ strong desire to help animals, shutting down was clearly not an option.

The Bartos’ quickly decided that they needed help in managing their practice so they hired practice management consultants.

The first piece of advice they were given was to promote the practice and to promote without delay. Since it was December, they sent out holiday specific promotion and, within a month, things swiftly started changing for the better.

Within two months, the Bartos’ had received a 100% return on their investment in the program.

Fifteen years later, Halifax Veterinary Clinic produces over $1 million a year. It has its own in-house blood lab and Dr. Bartos has developed an incredible reputation as an excellent practitioner of veterinary acupuncture.

Even with their great success, The Bartos’ still use consulting services.

“It’s like going to church, if you stop going you feel like you’re missing something. And when we have new staff, we have to get them trained,” said Dr. Bartos. “It’s a successful action,” said Lou.

It may seem like the Bartos’ would have to work all the time in order to be this productive. Not true. They only work 4 days a week giving them plenty of opportunities to enjoy their hobbies of kayaking, hiking and spending time outdoors in other activities. They also have 5 cats and a dog.

At the end of the interview, Dr. Bartos had some advice for veterinarians just graduating. She said, “Don’t miss out on general practice by being a specialist, go into progressive, high quality general practices that are willing to innovate.”

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