Did you know that when it comes to pet health care, inspection of veterinary hospitals by the American Animal Hospital Association is VOLUNTARY and not mandatory like human medical facilities? In fact, only about 12% of veterinary clinics are accredited, and Country Hills Pet Hospital is one of them! In 2016, Country Hills Pet Hospital was even named as a top-finalist in the AAHA Accredited Practice of the Year Award! As the only organization that accredits hospitals in the US & Canada, AAHA sets the standard for quality veterinary care.
So what is AAHA Accreditation?
Veterinary hospitals are evaluated on approximately 900 standards of veterinary excellence in order to become accredited. The AAHA standards address patient care and pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education. To maintain accredited status, hospitals undergo comprehensive on-site evaluations every three years.
How is AAHA accreditation achieved?
Country Hills Pet Hospital’s next evaluation is coming up this January! We have been diligently examining and fine-tuning our systems, processes, and protocols to be sure every aspect meets AAHA’s standards of quality. Our whole practice team is involved in the evaluation process, building teamwork and spreading knowledge across the entire clinic — an important factor in quality pet care.
Practices are awarded points for each standard they meet, and they must achieve a certain score in order to pass the evaluation. A passing score is 22,300, however; Country Hills Pet Hospital’s personal score to beat from 2014 is 30,350!
What does AAHA mean to me and my pet?
When you come to an AAHA-accredited practice, like Country Hills Pet Hospital, you should know that our veterinarians and our staff are being held to a standard that keeps us current in our profession and are constantly learning about the newest and best medicine. And that’s not only good for your reassurance but for your pets health as well! Clinics like ours are expected to be thorough, responsive, sanitary, and safe!
Country Hills Pet Hospital chooses to undergo these strict AAHA evaluations because we believe in offering you and your pet the best attention and care available! We know that your pets are a special part of your family and they deserve to be treated with love, kindness, and respect. Pets are our passion and keeping them healthy is our #1 priority.
A few areas of AAHA evaluation are highlighted below:
Among the many standards in the dentistry section, AAHA accreditation requires that veterinarians perform thorough examinations (including xrays) of the teeth and gums and only properly trained practice team members, like certified veterinary technicians, perform dental procedures. Additionally, AAHA standards recommend that dental procedures are accompanied by pain assessment and include appropriate pain treatment. Another mandatory dental standard requires veterinary hospitals to perform dental procedures under general anesthesia with patients being intubated using a properly fitted breathing tube.
Although complications are always possible, the AAHA Standards of Accreditation help diminish the risks associated with surgery and help veterinary practices achieve the highest level of care with the best surgical techniques, surgical attire, and sterile equipment. Pre-surgical assessments, including exams & blood tests, are also performed & reviewed by the veterinarian prior to procedure. These AAHA standard precautions help determine if your pet is at risk for complications while under general anesthesia.
Anesthesia is necessary but it can pose health risks, which is why AAHA requires accredited clinics to use monitoring equipment to track a pet’s vital signs (temperature, pulse, heart rate, & blood pressure) with a designated team member continually monitoring the machines as well as the patient. At Country Hills Pet Hospital, a CVT is with your pet every step of the way and provides monitoring checks every 5 minutes. This provides clients with a level of assurance that their pets are receiving the best care possible!
AAHA-accredited practices are encouraged to involve every team member in an organized plan of education and self-improvement. Continuous learning and keeping skills up-to-date helps staff members build their confidence and ultimately helps Country Hills Pet Hospital to provide a positive client “experience,” while improving the level of patient care. Our education includes topics like client service, communication, fear free, feline-friendly, and information about the latest products/medication/equipment on the market!
Wish us luck as we begin preparations for our AAHA evaluation on January 17th. The clinic will open; however, our doctors will not be seeing appointments during this time!