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Dear AAHA began as a monthly column in Trends magazine, featuring questions about practice management, hospital operations, and AAHA accreditation, answered by AAHA’s Member Experience team. Now we’re bringing it to a broader audience.

More is coming soon! In the meantime, read on for a selection of our most popular Dear AAHA columns.

Popular Dear AAHA columns

Dear AAHA: Do you have any recommendations for how to stay current with OSHA safety requirements?

—Safety Training in Miami

Dear Safety Training, 

Creating a safe work environment for your team, patients, clients, and yourself is one of the most important responsibilities of being a practice leader. We recommend providing an annual safety training and routinely checking alignment with OSHA standards ( Rather than one big training, keep safety topics top of mind with your whole team by covering one or two training topics at the beginning of each monthly staff meeting. All you need to do to meet the OSHA documentation requirement is to have a written agenda and maintain an attendance sign-in record. Reach out to your AAHA practice consultant or accreditation specialist and ask for recommendations on more specific safety training resources.

Dear AAHA: One of our employees asked to bring their preschooler to the clinic for a few hours a week. We don't currently have anything in our handbook about this, and we’re wondering where to research more on the law.

—Kid Questions in Knoxville

Dear Kid Questions in Knoxville, 

Having an employee handbook in place outlining the practice’s specific policies around children in the workplace is a great place to start. We would recommend the Society for Human Resource Management, OSHA, VHMA, and the AAHA Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook to get templates and see examples on which to base your own policies.

Dear AAHA: One of our veterinary technicians has been trying to wear a lab coat and cap for dental procedures to align with AAHA standard DE04.1b, but she’s getting overheated. Would it be sufficient to meet the standard if she wore a long-sleeved shirt that she doesn’t wear anywhere else in the hospital, along with an apron that covers her from the waist down to below her knees?

—Overheating in Omaha

Dear Overheating in Omaha, 

Great question! If the team is able to change clothes after performing the dental prophy, that is all that is required. It doesn’t need to be a lab coat—just a different covering from what they would be wearing to hold the next immune-compromised kitten or other pet who comes in. A separate scrub top, isolation gown, or smock would all be acceptable. So according to what you describe here, your staff would meet the standard.