Banfield Pet Hospital launches vet debt relief programGeneral veterinary practice commits to helping ease financial strain for its more than 3,500 doctors November 9, 2017 Banfield Pet Hospital announced its new Banfield Veterinary Student Debt Relief Pilot Program, marking the latest development in the practice’s commitment to supporting its associates’ financial well-being, according to the company. The company is set to launch a new debt-relief program for its veterinarians next month. “High levels of veterinary student debt are plaguing the industry, and Banfield is committed to helping veterinarians address this significant burden,” said Daniel Aja, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield. “As we continue to dedicate ourselves to continuous improvement as a practice, we’re investing in the new [program] to support our doctors first and foremost—but also set the bar for the veterinary profession to help address this industry-wide issue.” The program for eligible doctors will include three main elements: A low-interest refinancing option with supplementary 0.25 percent interest-rate reduction from a third-party financial institution A monthly student-loan contribution of $150 paid by Banfield directly on qualifying student loans A one-time $2,500 payment for each qualifying Banfield student program in which the doctor participates prior to graduating Research shows veterinarians carry a staggering amount of student debt, averaging more than $167,000. “When I graduated from veterinary school, I had finally achieved a lifelong dream to be part of the profession I loved so much—but it came at a high cost,” said Kirk Breuninger, DVM, program ambassador. “Like most early-career veterinarians, my student debt weighed heavily on me and made financial freedom very challenging. The new student debt benefit shows Banfield is listening to and addressing the needs of its associates.” The company also offers flexible schedules; community volunteering programs; stress resilience and energy management programs; continuing education funds; and Banfield-sponsored industry memberships; 100 percent practice-paid partial income replacement benefits for full-time associates to cover illness, pregnancy, and unexpected events in life; and 100 percent practice-paid life insurance coverage to meet financial needs of associates’ loved ones.