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AAHA’s Response to COVID-19

Lakewood, Colorado—March 23, 2020—The American Animal Hospital Association is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by operating virtually, including performing virtual practice accreditation evaluations, through at least April 20.

AAHA is the only organization to accredit veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada, adhering to the AAHA Standards of Accreditation, which include more than 900 standards to ensure the highest-quality veterinary care. If any standards change in response to COVID-19, AAHA-accredited members will be notified.

“Essential business” position statement

As cities and communities enact restrictions on nonessential business operations, AAHA released an official position statement stating that veterinary hospitals are essential businesses that “provide critical healthcare to companion animals, horses, and livestock, as well as vital public health monitoring and management of potential animal illnesses.”

The statement adds that they “are essential to the wellbeing of pet owners, who rely on companion animals and think of them as family members, and to the public, as veterinarians often are on the frontlines in animal welfare and food-supply safety, as well as in issues related to animal-human interaction.”

Staying open during difficult times

“As essential businesses, veterinary hospitals should be allowed to remain open to continue providing necessary care to their patients and peace of mind to their clients,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F) Emeritus, AAHA’s chief executive officer. “Remember that veterinary practice teams will also need access to personal protective equipment (PPE) during these challenging times. We as an industry will work together and continue to share the latest updates on legislation and best practices to continue to provide critical services while caring for the wellbeing of veterinary professionals.”

In-person AAHA events

AAHA has canceled the April session of the Veterinary Management Series: Practice Essentials. This is the only change to in-person events at this time, and AAHA will continue to follow recommended public health guidelines leading up to all scheduled AAHA events.

Support for the profession

All AAHA-accredited practices have a designated Member Experience team who are answering members’ questions on the phone and over email. Members can reach out to brainstorm, get resources, or even just talk things through.

The AAHA Learning team has released a video with COVID-19 practice tips and the AAHA newsroom is posting updates, resources, and industry news at aaha.org/covid-19, including breaking news through AAHA’s veterinary news blog, NEWStat. The AAHA-Accredited Member Facebook Group also has seen a rise in requests to join as practices struggle to find answers to questions about how to stay open and provide high-quality care during the pandemic.

For a list of AAHA’s COVID-19 resources, visit aaha.org/covid-19.

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The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization that accredits companion animal practices throughout the United States and Canada according to high standards of veterinary care. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the profession, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pets’ health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire healthcare team.