AAHA accreditation is an achievement worth celebrating each day your hospital makes the choice to practice the highest standards of veterinary medicine. That’s why we believe every milestone should be acknowledged, whether your practice has been accredited for a day or a decade.

At AAHA, we like to say our accredited hospitals are “Champions for Excellent Care,” and we urge them to publicize their accreditation using both the tools we’ve developed (aaha.org/publicity) and creative ideas of their own.

Arroyo Veterinary Clinic in San Lorenzo, Calif., recently reached their one-year accreditation anniversary and have done some amazing things to celebrate.

According to practice manager, Carling McCormick, “We are proud members of AAHA and live and breathe the well-being of our patients.”

She recently spoke with AAHA about how they marked the special occasion and continue to promote their accreditation year-round.

Trends: Congratulations on your AAHA-versary! What motivated you to become AAHA-accredited?

Arroyo Veterinary Clinic: Thank you! As a team, we have always been focused on bringing the highest quality of care to our patients. AAHA accreditation gave us more direction and the tools we needed to keep pushing forward. It became the launching point for us—we may now be AAHA accredited, but we refuse to become complacent and stop improving!

Trends: How have your staff and clients responded to your newly accredited status?

AVC: Our staff are ecstatic, even more than a year after accreditation. They are still proud, regularly wear AAHA pins on their uniforms, and always boast about it!  Our clients have really responded to our enthusiasm. They see how proud and driven we are to be the best and they are excited to be a part of the journey with us. 

Trends: Why is it important to you that clients realize you are accredited?

AVC: We want all of our clients—from those who joined our practice when it started in 1972 to those who've found us this week—to know we are dedicated to them and their pets. Being AAHA accredited reinforces our passion and helps us to keep pushing to achieve the best standards of care for our patients. We prioritize safety, efficiency, quality care and compassion, and we feel that our accreditation further proves that to our clients.

Trends: What benefits has AAHA accreditation brought to your practice over the last year?

AVC: AAHA has been an amazing resource. They frequently keep in contact with us, give us ideas, and sponsor continuing education, such as the Veterinary Management Institute. Our practice manager attended this year and it was such an educational and inspiring experience, it gave our entire team a new sense of focus and drive. 

The AAHA team is made up of wonderful, dedicated people who want nothing more than for your medicine to become the best it can be. They truly care. We are extremely proud of the work we put in every day to uphold AAHA's standards and the care we give every pet that walks through our doors.

Trends: How do you promote your accreditation within your community?

AVC: We utilize the AAHA logo frequently and have an entire page in our new client packets dedicated to what it means to us to be AAHA accredited and what it means for their pet's care. We are the only AAHA-accredited hospital in our city and we promote that when we participate in community events. In addition, our Facebook page and website feature our accreditation as one of the countless reasons to choose Arroyo Veterinary Clinic for your pet care needs!

Trends: Have you had clients come to you just because you are AAHA accredited?

AVC: Yes! Pet parents in the know seek out AAHA-accredited hospitals!

Trends: Why is it important for you to send clients to AAHA-accredited hospitals when they move away from your practice?

AVC: We feel confident that other AAHA-accredited hospitals will match or exceed our own level of care, that their teams are as dedicated to their patients as we are, and that they have the full support of AAHA behind them, too!

Trends: What one new thing do you plan on doing in your practice in the next year to improve your accreditation?

AVC: We are in the process of adopting the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, which recommends the use of Class IV lasers and acupuncture. We are adding new equipment and skills for both of these pain management tools and have added pain as our fourth vital sign (TPRP) as we train our staff to better recognize it. We want pain control to be on the forefront of everyone's minds and utilize the best technology and research to keep our patients comfortable and pain-free!

Trends: How did you celebrate your first year as an AAHA-accredited practice?

AVC: Our AAHA-versary was in September. We celebrated for two months, and in many different ways! 

First, we celebrated with our attitude. We reignited our AAHA fever and got the whole team excited as if we just became accredited again! We also educated our newer staff members about the importance of accreditation, why AAHA is the standard of veterinary excellence, and why they should be proud to be a member of our Arroyo Veterinary Clinic Family. 

We then brought our clients into the celebration by offering discounts on their pet's annual wellness screenings. We then took that opportunity to educate them about the importance of preventive care and how we work to meet AAHA’s standards.  We posted frequently on our Facebook page, shared photos of our beloved patients, and showered the hospital in AAHA logos and pamphlets. 

Every year, we also host a big Halloween event we call "Howls and Meows." We spend the month of October gathering donations for our local animal shelter, soliciting vendors for donations, and building up energy in the community. We had a huge turnout this year, received very generous donations from our clients and even non-client community members, and featured our AAHA standards of care through fun hospital tours. We were able to show everyone that being AAHA accredited means taking pride and care in everything that you do, both inside and outside of the hospital!

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Red is your guide to everything AAHA. Whether you’re looking for association news, updates on our educational offerings, the latest books from AAHA Press, deals from our Preferred Providers, or fun reads from various AAHA staff and AAHA-member veterinary professionals, this is where you’ll find it.

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