Alabama now accepts AAHA accreditation in lieu of state inspection

The Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) recently passed a motion that allows veterinary hospitals to skip an inspection by the ASBVME if they have already passed an evaluation by AAHA.

The motion, approved Dec. 19, 2012 during the ASBVME board meeting and effective as of that date, specifies that an ASBVME inspector will still visit clinics at their three-year rotation, but clinics that have passed an AAHA evaluation will be exempt from the ASBVME inspection.

“The Alabama Practice Act allows the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to issue a premise permit to any premise which is accredited by a recognized organization whose standards meet or exceed minimum board standards as established by the administrative code. Clearly AAHA standards exceed those minimum standards,” said Dr. Robert E. Pitman, ASBVME president.

According to Pitman, the motion benefits hospitals that are already AAHA-accredited as well as enables ASBVME evaluators to make better use of their time.

“This benefits member hospitals by not requiring a redundant inspection. It can be considered a member benefit of AAHA and encourage other hospitals that may be considering AAHA membership to take the big step,” Pitman said. “Also, it allows for more efficient use of our evaluators’ time by not having to inspect member hospitals that exceed state standards.”

The ASBVME decision reaffirms that AAHA’s 900-plus standards set a high standard for how animal hospital hospitals should be run, said Dr. Kate Knutson, AAHA president.

“I am so pleased that Alabama recognizes the rigorous nature and the standard of medical excellence required to meet the AAHA accreditation standards,” Knutson said. “The 900-plus standards of AAHA go above and beyond any states' mandated regulations.”

Knutson encouraged other states to take note of Alabama’s decision and consider how it can potentially streamline their inspection process, as well as allow them to focus some of their resources on other endeavors.

“We applaud Alabama and would encourage any other states to follow their lead. It does not make sense to require a hospital which has met the AAHA standards to have to go through state standards as they are not as rigorous,” Knutson said.

Pitman also expressed his view that other states might be well-served by following Alabama's lead and considering adopting similar changes to their rules.

“I do not know of other states considering this change, but there are many reasons to do it. I think other states will at least consider it,” he said.

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