Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls has earned a new certification from the American Animal Hospital Association! We are now specialty accredited!
After much planning and preparation, in December 2015 we proudly achieved AAHA referral (specialty) accreditation! This is great news for patients and pet owners. Currently, there are only 150 veterinary referral practices who have earned this top honor!
In 2012, we achieved accreditation for our general practice and we have been re-accredited each year since. Only 12% of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada are AAHA-accredited, and we are very excited to be one of them.
What is an AAHA-accredited referral practice?
Hospitals that have earned this accreditation have been evaluated on practice methods, standards of patient care, and quality of the facility and medical equipment by trained AAHA consultants. Maintaining this accreditation requires regular AAHA evaluations.
According to AAHA standards, AAHA-accredited referral practices are required to have a board-certified veterinarian on staff for each specialty within the hospital. Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls not only has one of the widest variety of specialty department available, but most departments have more than one specialist in each one.
What is a veterinary specialist?
A specialist is a veterinarian who has completed the requirements of their specialty board (cardiology, dermatology, surgery, etc.). The process begins with undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school followed by an internship and a residency in their specialized field (an additional three to five years of training). Afterwards, there is a rigorous examination to achieve board-certification status from the specific organization that oversees that specialty. Passing this examination grants the status of Diplomate of that particular college (for example, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons).
What is AAHA?
AAHA, or the American Animal Hospital Association, is the only organization in the United States and Canada that accredits companion animal veterinary practices, setting the highest standards for veterinary care. Achieving accreditation ensures that we provide quality care to our patients and clients by following established AAHA standards in daily practice.
Why Get AAHA-Accredited?
Achieving AAHA-Accreditation is voluntary, and a lot of work! But it is worth it because it shows our commitment to quality care. To comply, we must meet over 900 standards that span all hospital departments – medical and support. Re-accreditation takes place every 2-3 years to verify our compliance and ensure we are up-to-date with new AAHA standards.
What Types of Standards Must be Met?
All hospital departments must meet specific AAHA standards. Here are some examples of what protocols must be in place for the hospital, as a whole, to achieve certification.
- Anesthesiology: the department is required to utilize specific monitoring equipment and staff members must have proper training and follow mandatory pre-anesthetic protocols.
- Client Service: a documented training program must be in place to teach staff members how to effectively communicate with clients in order to deliver optimal customer service.
- Contagious Disease: policies must be in place to prevent the spread of disease between patients and co-workers. This includes proper hand washing, as well as disinfection of equipment, examination rooms, and animal housing.
- Continuing Education: every member of the veterinary healthcare team is required to earn a designated amount of continuing education credits.
- Dentistry: all procedures must be performed under general anesthesia with patients intubated (a tube placed in the trachea for anesthesia to be inhaled) for their safety and comfort.
- Diagnostic Imaging (x-ray, CT): all imaging machines must be evaluated by qualified personnel to ensure accuracy and safety for patients and staff.
- Emergency and Critical Care: emergency services must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and emergency team members will demonstrate proficiency in performing life-saving treatment using a variety of equipment.
- Examination Areas: rooms must be properly equipped for thorough examinations to take place.
- Housekeeping & Maintenance: client and patient areas of the practice must be clean, disinfected, and well organized.
- Human Resources: personnel matters must be carried out according to suggested protocols and the hospital must show compliance with all labor laws.
- Laboratory: a wide range of diagnostic testing must be available either in-house or through outside laboratories.
- Leadership: the hospital must demonstrate a commitment to creating a positive work environment for its employees and to providing high-quality care for all patients.
- Medical Records: all patient care and client communications must be documented in the pet’s medical record at all times to ensure continuity of care.
- Pain Management: every patient must be assessed for pain and it must be recorded in the medical record. Pain management must be provided for all patients undergoing a surgical procedure. Clients must be educated in identifying pain in their pets.
- Patient Care: humane care that is in the best interest of the patient must be provided at all times to all patients.
- Pharmacy: employees must demonstrate proper handling, storage, and dispensing of medications.
- Referral Standard: protocols must be in place when transferring patients from the emergency/specialty hospital back to the primary care veterinarian.
- Safety: patients and staff must be protected from the effects of harmful chemicals or diseases.
- Surgery: surgical areas must be sterile and patients must be provided with pre and post surgical care.
Find an AAHA-Accredited Hospital
Looking for a hospital that is AAHA-accredited is important to many pet owners. It ensures that patients receive the highest quality care from well trained, professional veterinary teams. Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls is proud to be one of those hospitals! To learn more, visit www.aaha.org