AAHA Announces Mandatory Accreditation Standards for Veterinary Profession

Forty-six new, mandatory standards for accreditation were unveiled at AAHA! Baltimore 2005 March 19-23, 2005. The new standards, which will be available on CD this fall, will be used to evaluate practices soon thereafter, said Terri Johnson, AAHA practice accreditation supervisor.

Overall, AAHA uses more than 900 standards to evaluate practices in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. The document contains 18 sections that include anesthesia, dentistry, education and patient care. Each section contains 12 to 201 standards. Practice consultants, who regularly schedule appointments with AAHA members for evaluations, will start the process with the mandatory standards, Johnson said.

One of the mandatory standards is that veterinary clinics must use one dedicated and enclosed room for surgery. Changes to the existing standards, which have been used since 2003, were approved by the Standards Enhancement Task Force. The group of six veterinary professionals began meeting in September 2001.

Prompted by member feedback, changes to the standards are expected to benefit accredited practices, said Link Wellborn, DVM, chair of the task force. “With the addition of sections like pain management and client service we hope that practices will be better prepared to raise their quality of patient care as well as increase their level of client service. We also wanted to better address the role that every member of the practice plays in patient care and business success,” he explained.

Describing the mandatory standards as “basic,” Johnson added, “I actually think they [members] will like them. It’s an unwritten rule that everyone needs to do this,” she added.