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Daily Court Reporter - News MedVet's growth from a single Columbus facility to seven states expected to continue


MedVet's growth from a single Columbus facility to seven states expected to continue

BRANDON KLEIN, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

Three decades ago two Columbus veterinarians saw a need for more emergency care for pets, a need that has since led to a company with more than 1,600 employees in seven states.

That company, MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, employs 350 doctors that specialize in 17 fields, from anesthesia and analgesia to rehabilitation and surgery and has 20 locations across Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Alabama, and Michigan.

In Ohio, the company has nine locations and employs about 800 people, including 350 employees at its two central Ohio locations.

William DeHoff and James Harrison founded MedVet as the Veterinary Hospital Operations of Central Ohio in 1988.

They provided specialty veterinary services at the Columbus Veterinary Emergency Services in northeast Columbus.

DeHoff said there was a growing demand in the 1970s for emergency and specialty services in veterinarian medicine.

"The clients were asking more to be done for their dog," he said.

MedVet specialists receive referrals from more than 4,500 veterinarian practices, treating and evaluating more than 100,000 dogs and cats each year.

DeHoff said the model is similar to how medical hospital systems for humans such as the Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University handled specialty treatments.

"We've become an extension of what (the veterinarian's) practice can deliver," the now retired founder said. "I'm very proud of what we're able to do."

When DeHoff started the practice in 1988 he had one employee technician which grew to about 45 workers in 1999, said Eric Schertel, MedVet's current president and chief executive officer.

Schertel and three other partners joined the company in January 1999 that lead to an expansion starting with the company's first acquisition of Columbus Veterinary EMS.

"I was looking for any opportunity to have influence ... on a small company, help it grow and be successful," Schertel said.

MedVet is the largest veterinarian-owned company in the United States with about 90 veterinarians owning a share of the company with about 60 percent of them from Ohio, he said.

"We think it keeps us focus on values rather than our finances," Schertel added.

The company relocated to a 54,000-square-foot location in Worthington in 2002 and its acquisition strategy has focused on community-owned emergency services as an entry point. The company added 5,000-square-foot cancer center in Columbus in 2009.

"Cancer is one of the biggest challenges in veterinarian medicine," Schertel said.

While the company's growth hasn't slowed down, the company's president said it can be challenging to implement its culture in recent acquisitions. But MedVet has benefited from being based in Columbus.

"It's responded remarkably well to everything we introduced," Schertel said.

"Central Ohio has been a fantastic community to for MedVet to work in and has been a source of high quality administrative talent in addition to our healthcare teams. In fact, our current executive team all live in Central Ohio. We have found central Ohio to be a great place for our employees to work, live, and raise families," said Carmin Gade, MedVet's chief experience officer.

MedVet will celebrate its anniversary milestone at its annual leadership summit in November. Schertel is positive about the company's future as more veterinarians across the nation become aquatinted with the company.

"We're excited to have serve our patients and clients over those last 30 years and see the company grow from a local service to a regional service and perhaps a national service in the future," he said.

Veterinary medicine contributes $13 billion annually in direct and supporting services to Ohio's economy, according to an OSU economic study. The state's veterinary services contributed $2.4 billion in direct economic output, sustaining more than 23,000 jobs.

Support of animal-related industries, including agricultural production, reflects an additional $10.6 billion in annual economic activity.

Date Published: February 27, 2018


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