Why do Binga and I look so concerned? Well, for one thing, we are at the vet clinic, and for another thing, we are wondering if it is AAHA accredited! When we must go to the vet, whether it’s for a check up or for something more serious, we want to make sure we are getting great care. There are lots of excellent veterinary hospitals out there, and not all of them have AAHA accreditation — but when one does feature the AAHA plaque and logo, you know that it has met very high standards for patient care.
What is AAHA, and why does it matter?
The American Animal Hospital Association evaluates veterinary hospitals on about 900 standards of excellence. These range from contagious disease control to surgical protocols and a host of other areas that make for a great practice — pharmacy, exam facilities, cleanliness and more. When a veterinary hospital applies for AAHA accreditation, all the humans working there often prepare for weeks to make sure everything is ready to meet the AAHA’s high standards. And once they achieve accreditation, they will be re-evaluated every three years to make sure they are keeping up the quality expected of them as an AAHA practice, and to see if they have kept up with any updates in the standards that make up AAHA’s criteria.
Human hospitals that see Medicare or Medicaid patients are required to be accredited by an outside organization. There is no such requirement for veterinary hospitals, so to be in compliance with AAHA’s standards of excellence is completely voluntary. To find out more about AAHA, you can visit their website.
At the moment, only between 12 and 15% of North American veterinary hospitals are AAHA accredited. Is the veterinary hospital you go to one of them? You can find out with AAHA’s accredited hospital locator. If they’re not, ask them why! I checked and found out that our emergency veterinary clinic is AAHA — I was kind of relieved to know that, considering that when any of us cats get sick it always seems to be at night or on the weekend.
If you do have an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital in your area, I’ve got great news for you: the AAHA humans are offering a $50 credit at an accredited hospital to one of my lucky readers! The organization accredits veterinary hospitals in the U.S. or Canada, so the giveaway is good for both countries. All you have to do it leave a comment on this blog post (like so many of you usually do), then say you did on the Rafflecopter widget below! You get extra points for visiting my Facebook page, or the AAHA Facebook page, and even more points if you can name an AAHA veterinary hospital in your area! Good luck — I know lots of you can put that $50 to good use!
Disclosure: AAHA has generously provided the $50 credit for my blogging about them.