VPP provides co-ownership to 21 associate doctors
Veterinary Practice Partners (“VPP”), a community of over 125 animal hospitals across the United States, announced a partnership with Caring Hands Animal Hospital, a network of eight veterinary hospitals in Maryland and Virginia. Through this partnership, VPP and Caring Hands are elevating 21 associate doctors to become equity partners, of whom 17 are women.
The partnership between VPP and Caring Hands is based on the companies’ strong alignment of core values, specifically, a shared mission to provide quality veterinary care in their communities while preserving the human-animal bond. The Caring Hands brand has grown under the leadership of Dr. Michelle Vitulli, founder and co-owner of Caring Hands Animal Hospital. The 21 doctors who are equity partners will enhance the leadership team of six current partners in this next chapter for the Caring Hands brand.
Dr. Vitulli is an amazing leader in the profession and an inspiration for younger doctors and for me. This partnership reflects our combined mission with Caring Hands to make ownership a reality for as many doctors as possible, particularly female leaders who have played a fundamental role advancing veterinary care in recent years. We’re excited to welcome Dr. Michelle Vitulli and her partners to the VPP community,” said Dr. Doug Aspros, Chief Veterinary Officer at VPP.
A Differentiated Model
Veterinary Practice Partners co-owns practices with veterinarians. VPP’s differentiated strategy aims to provide a better alternative to doctors than that offered by more traditional investors in the sector. Veterinarians can focus on treating patients, while VPP supports the core business functions, helping alleviate the stressors of independent ownership.
The Caring Hands business model, built on empowering doctor partners, fits well into the VPP model. Dr. Vitulli, along with Dr. Jeff Newman and Dr. Karen Murphy, have built an incredible eight-hospital network by investing in their associate doctors, building de novo hospitals with them, and actively participating in the day-to-day management of the practices.
The partnership between VPP and Caring Hands was built over many years. Dr. Vitulli, a 1991 graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and VPP’s Dr. Aspros have known each other for several years. Dr. Aspros’ and VPP’s tenacity in supporting female owners was an important factor in Caring Hands choosing VPP as a business partner.
“I recall asking Dr. Aspros why he was attending a women’s veterinary leadership conference, to which he replied, ‘Women are the future of the profession,” said Dr. Vitulli. “Doug cares about veterinary medicine, and his resolve to help ensure women colleagues – who make up the majority of veterinarians, but the minority of practice owners – have a seat at the table continues to make a lasting impression on me.”
Through the partnership, VPP and Caring Hands will provide comprehensive veterinary care and expertise to pet owners and their animals, continue to uplift more doctors to become owners, and ensure the human-animal bond is respected and enhanced over time by protecting veterinarian-owned businesses.
“The outcome of this partnership is that it will allow me to be more present in the exam room and give many of my hard-working doctors a chance to have equity and ownership, which is deserving due to their incredible dedication to our patients and this hospital,” said Dr. Brian Neumann, co-owner of Caring Hands’ Alexandria location. “I am equally thrilled to maintain a significant ownership stake, which aligns the interests of our veterinarians and VPP and incentivizes each of us to reinforce our strong ties to our respective communities.”