The acronym AAHA may not mean much to you, but it means a great deal to your pet. AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association, a leading veterinary organization that spearheads innovative guidelines for practicing patient and client care. AAHA also is the only organization that grants accreditation status to veterinary hospitals that hold themselves to standards of excellence. Hospitals that choose to pursue accreditation are evaluated on stringent quality standards that encompass all aspects of veterinary medicine, from pain management and patient care, to team training and medical recordkeeping. The standards are continuously updated to keep accredited hospital teams at the forefront of the profession.
Only 12% to 15% of all U.S. and Canadian veterinary hospitals have achieved AAHA accreditation, and Mill Creek Animal Hospital is proud to be counted among the few. When your beloved pet comes to our hospital, you can rest assured they will receive only the best of care. Here are our answers to your questions about AAHA accreditation, and what it means for your pet.
Question: How did Mill Creek Animal Hospital become accredited?
Answer: AAHA accreditation is not easy to achieve, and can take many months or years. To become AAHA-accredited, Mill Creek Animal Hospital’s entire team dedicated themselves to the task of adhering to a multitude of standards. While the hospital is evaluated on 940 total standards in a number of categories, only 50 are mandatory, plus a set number of other standards from each category. A veterinary hospital that believes they have achieved the standards is evaluated by an AAHA practice consultant who can grant accreditation. Despite the rigorous process, Mill Creek Animal Hospital believed in achieving AAHA accreditation, because for your pet, only the best will do.
Q: How does Mill Creek Animal Hospital stay accredited?
A: Although we’ve already achieved our AAHA accreditation, we will not slack off and let our standards slide. Instead, we continue to grow our knowledge to stay at the forefront of veterinary medicine and provide the best in patient care. To maintain our accreditation status, an AAHA practice consultant reevaluates our hospital every three years on the same 940 standards.
Q: What is the focus of the standards of care?
A: You may wonder why veterinary hospitals must be evaluated on such a high number of standards to gain accreditation. Overall, the 940 standards are categorized into 18 groups, and each category is vitally important in running a top-notch veterinary hospital and providing optimal patient and client care. Accredited hospitals must adhere to a certain number of standards in the following 18 categories:
- Contagious disease
- Emergency and critical care
- Pain management
- Patient care
- Client services
- Continuing education
- Human resources
- Referral standards
- Medical records
- Examination facilities
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Diagnostic imaging
- Pharmacy and laboratory
As you can see, veterinary hospitals must achieve a great deal before they can be accredited.
Q: Why aren’t all veterinary hospitals accredited?
A: Unlike human hospitals, which must be accredited, veterinary hospitals do not need accreditation to provide patient care. Only the most dedicated hospitals put in the considerable time and effort to undergo the accreditation process, and to maintain their status. That’s not to say that unaccredited practices provide sub-par pet care, but with AAHA coaching and guiding their practice policies, good veterinary hospitals can become great ones.
Q: How does AAHA educate pet owners?
A: While AAHA is devoted to advancing veterinary medicine and helping hospitals achieve gold-standard patient care, they also focus not only on helping pets receive the best veterinary care, but also helping pet owners provide excellent at-home care for their cats and dogs. AAHA publishes their own journal, as well as peer-reviewed articles in other professional veterinary journals, and creates informational content for pet owners. AAHA has produced guidelines to help pet owners understand and follow the standards they have set for veterinary hospitals, and provides answers to common pet-care questions.
Are you eager to see the difference an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital can make in your pet’s life? Experience the gold-standard care you and your furry pal will receive at Mill Creek Animal Hospital by scheduling your pet’s next appointment with our team.