Inside AAHA: September 2021

New board member Scott Driever, DVM, discusses the importance of disaster preparedness from his personal experience. Dear AAHA answers a question about radiology PPE integrity, and congratulations to our 25-, 50-, and 75-year accreditation practices!

View from the Board

Always Be Prepared

September is National Preparedness Month, so I would like to share a little story with you.

Disasters come in many shapes and sizes. Some are natural, some man-made, and some are just bad luck. No one could have predicted what happened in March of 2020, but I would bet that those who had disaster plans in place had an edge on those who did not when it came to the world shutting down for COVID-19 and the instant pivot of operations as we knew it in the veterinary world.

Disaster preparedness are two words that meant little to me early in my career. That is until September 2005, when I had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of a storm named Rita. She was the lesser-known storm that was the sequel to her big sister, Katrina. This was really the first time I experienced a disaster as an adult with a young family. I realized that it was mostly dumb luck that nothing serious happened to my family, but I saw the devastation suffered by those around me who were affected. Bad decisions and no decisions wind up being good teachers when things go poorly. One of the lessons I learned during that storm season was that I needed a plan.

I started out trying to create the ultimate disaster plan and was quickly overwhelmed, so I lowered my expectations and started with a one-page plan. It consisted of a list of items I would need in case my family and I had to evacuate for three days. That was a simple enough task. After that, I worked on a list of all insurance policies and family records that would not be easy to replace. My plan has grown with each disaster and near miss since. There are general themes for planning that can be shared, but there is no premade plan. The ultimate plan needs to be created by and for the individual. There is also no such thing as disaster season. An unexpected disaster is something we should be prepared for 365 days a year.

Fast forward to 2008 when I met Hurricane Ike. This time I had a plan. It was a simple plan, but a plan, nonetheless. We knew what to do and where to go. With each subsequent storm, we did better and were more prepared.

It all starts with making the decision to have a plan. Every part of the country has certain natural disasters that they are prone to, whether hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, or whatever Mother Nature throws at your region. This is where you start. Plan for those things that happen commonly. It was about the time of my third or fourth disaster when I was taught that you cannot help anyone else if you need to help yourself. Disaster planning starts with you, then expands to your family, then your business, then your community. I consider my work team my family and have included them in my disaster plans.

By the time Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017 and flooding forced the evacuation of my family (plus my father) from our homes, our family disaster plan ran like a well-oiled machine. We moved the five of us, our dog, perishable and nonperishable food, a pressure cooker and indoor grill, and all our important paperwork and photos from our home and into our hospital in a couple of hours. We were able to live there comfortably for nearly a week.

We were thrown a curveball in Texas earlier this year with a severe ice storm that our part of the country does not handle well. Even through that experience, knowing how to prioritize our response made all the difference. Family safety comes first, then staff and hospital concerns. It was bizarre putting ice packs in our vaccine fridge when the power was out and it was below freezing, but we knew what to do because of our hurricane preparedness experience. We knew that the power would still be out when it warmed up the next day.

It is exceedingly difficult to make good decisions when under stress. Being in the middle of a disaster is nothing if not stressful. Creating a plan is step one. Knowing the plan and sharing the plan are steps two and three. Thinking through contingencies beforehand is also important. That is why we have fire drills in schools, so everyone knows the plan and can execute it when it really matters.

Starting a disaster plan can seem daunting, but all journeys start the same way—by taking that first step. Start with “what if ” scenarios and go from there. Having a plan in place goes a long way toward maintaining positive mental health during an event. The actual disaster is always stressful, but it is more stressful if you are trying to create a game plan on the fly. There will always be alterations to the plan, and no plan is foolproof, but having one does wonders for helping your mental state and the mental state of those around you.

Understand that there is no finish line in creating a disaster plan. It will always be a work in progress. I challenge you to get started—before the next disaster strikes.

Scott Driever
Scott Driever, DVM, is a new director on the AAHA board. Driever is a Houston native who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 2000. He began his career at Animal Hospital Highway 6 in Sugarland, Texas, where he became a partner in 2005 and purchased the practice in 2015. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association.


Dear AAHA,

What is a good technique for checking the integrity of my radiology PPE?

—X-ray Safety in Beaumont

Dear X-ray Safety,

According to the AAHA Standards of Accreditation, commonly used settings for checking thyroid shields and aprons are ~5–10 mAs ~80–90 kVp. For gloves and mittens, use ~10–20 mAs ~90 kVp. With new radiology PPE available to veterinary hospitals, such as lead-equivalent PPE, we always recommend checking with the manufacturer for exact procedures and techniques to use when regularly checking the durability and integrity of the PPE being utilized in your practice.

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at [email protected].

AAHA Meetings and Events

AAHA is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and we will continue to follow recommended public health guidelines leading up to all scheduled AAHA events.

AAHA at WVC Annual Conference

Booth #1924 | September 6–9

Beyond Medicine Workshop

October 30

AAHA at IAAHPC Conference

September 9–11

AAHA Connexity (virtual)

November 10

Connexity (in-person)  

Scottsdale, Arizona | September 22–25

Beyond Medicine Workshop

November 13

Register for a learning program and learn more about AAHA’s upcoming events.

Add End-of-Life Care Accreditation to Your Practice’s Credentials

IA-EOLC logo.jpgIA EOLCimage.jpgAlmost half of pet owners (40%) say that they won’t continue as your client if they have a bad euthanasia experience at your practice. Elevate your ability to provide appropriate and supportive care with AAHA’s End-of-Life Care (EOLC) accreditation, which equips the whole team with tools to handle these difficult situations in thoughtful, intentional ways. End-of-life care will always be part of your services—make sure your team knows how to do it well.

Who is eligible for EOLC accreditation?

  • AAHA-accredited practices with a dedicated end-oflife care services department (brick-and-mortar and/ or mobile)
  • Practices not accredited by AAHA that are solely dedicated to end-of-life care services (brick-andmortar and/or mobile)

4 Steps to EOLC accreditation

  1. Email [email protected] for access to the End-of-Life Care standards.
  2. Complete an End-of-Life Care accreditation agreement and pay initial evaluation fee.
  3. Submit your agreement and begin preparing for your initial evaluation.
  4. Your AAHA accreditation specialist will follow up to schedule an evaluation date.

Will you be attending the IAAHPC Conference this month? Stop by our booth, and if your practice already has a dedicated department for end-of-life care services, don’t wait to add AAHA’s newest accreditation to your credentials. Want to learn more about EOLC? See the 2016 AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-Life Care Guidelines and contact the AAHA Member Experience team for access to the new updated EOLC standards.

For more information, please contact AAHA’s Member Experience team at 800-252-2242 or [email protected].

FREE to All! Blend Your Favorite Learning Styles with Beyond Medicine Workshop

Join expert facilitators Mia Cary, DVM, and Jason Coe, DVM, PhD, for this enlightening free workshop for veterinary professionals of all career levels who want to gain hands-on skills for the nonmedical part of the job, such as client communications, overcoming professional challenges, and caring for your own well-being.

“The topics we discuss are foundational to thriving. Regardless of career path, where you have been, where you are now, and where you are heading in the future, the content we share—along with the rich networking discussions—will provide a strong base and launchpad to whatever is next in your career,” said Cary.

By popular demand, Beyond Medicine Workshop will be offered in a blended approach of virtual interaction and e-learning and will earn you eight (8.0) hours of RACE nonmedical, interactive-distance CE.

The program is free and registration is open to all veterinary team members, even if your practice is not accredited by AAHA!

This limited-capacity educational experience starts October 30, 2021. Register now to reserve your spot and learn more at

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Congratulations to the following practice teams, who are celebrating 75, 50, and 25 years, respectively, of AAHA accreditation in 2021. We are so proud of these practices for continuously upholding themselves to the highest level of veterinary excellence.

75 Years

50 Years


Niskayuna Animal Hospital


Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos
Animal Hospital of Soquel
Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital
Companion Animal Hospital of Norridge
Countryside Animal Hospital

Detroit Dover Animal Hospital
Glenway Animal Hospital
Golf-Mil Veterinary Hospital
Lewisburg Veterinary Hospital
Markham Animal Clinic
North Canton Veterinary Clinic
Okemos Animal Hospital
Sequoia Veterinary Hospital
St Joe Center Veterinary Hospital
VCA Beech Road Animal Hospital
VCA Cascade Animal Medical
Center & Inn
VCA Madeira Animal Hospital
VCA Mission Animal Hospital
VCA Monte Vista Animal Hospital
VCA West Shore Animal Hospital
VCA Woodford Animal Hospital

25 Years


Aboite Animal Hospital
Animal Health Center
Annapolis Cat Hospital and
Bay Ridge Animal Hospital
Athens Animal Clinic
Baldwin Animal Hospital
Bear River Veterinary Clinic
Brandon Hills Veterinary Clinic
Care Small Animal Hospital
Cat Doctors
Cats Limited Veterinary Hospital
Chillicothe Animal Clinic
Fall River Animal Hospital
Fox Valley Veterinary Hospital
Gulfshore Animal Hospital
Halifax Veterinary Hospital

Heritage Veterinary Hospital
Hope Veterinary Clinic Northside
Hopkins Road Animal Hospital
IndyVet Emergency & Specialty Hospital
Jefferson Road Animal Hospital
Juneau Veterinary Hospital
Manlius Veterinary Hospital
MetroWest Veterinary Clinic
Mill Creek Animal Hospital
Miramonte Veterinary Hospital
Monument Road Animal Hospital
Muddy Branch Veterinary Center
New Frontier Animal Medical Center
North Tollway Pet Hospital
Northern Oaks Bird & Animal Hospital
Northpark Animal Hospital
Pet Pals Holistic Veterinary Hospital
Petcare Animal Hospital
Plantation Animal Hospital
Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital
Prescott Animal Hospital
Prettyboy Veterinary Hospital
Redwood Veterinary Hospital
Salmon Creek Veterinary Clinic
Sierra Veterinary Clinic
Southgate Animal Hospital
Southgate Veterinary Hospital
Temple Terrace Animal Hospital
The Animal Clinic Port Charlotte
The Parkway Veterinary Hospital
Town & Country Animal Hospital
Uptown Animal Hospital
VCA Animal Specialty Group
VCA Brown Animal Hospital
VCA Chatsworth Veterinary Center
VCA Davis Animal Hospital
VCA Feline Medical Center
VCA Glasgow Animal Hospital
VCA Health Associates Animal Hospital
VCA Kaneohe Animal Hospital
VCA Lakewood Animal Hospital
VCA Marshalltown Animal Hospital
VCA North Country Animal Hospital
VCA Park East Animal Hospital
VCA Seaside Animal Hospital
VCA Timpanogos Animal Hospital
VCA West Linn Animal Hospital
Vermont-New Hampshire Veterinary
Clinic Inc
Wellswood Midtown Animal Hospital
Wright Veterinary Medical Center
Wright’s Corners Animal Care Center


Photo credits: Linda Raymond/iStock via Getty Images Plus



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