Denver-In 2004, the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) strategic plans feature a multitude of "exciting" projects,
according to one industry source.
While AAHA President Link Welborn, DVM, says it would be "premature" to discuss the overflow of new developments at length,
he did provide snippets of what's to come later this year.
Animal welfare, accreditationTailing AAHA's release of its animal welfare position statements last year, the association is now in the process of creating
white papers on feral and roaming cats and pet guardianship that are expected to be issued this spring.
On the accreditation front, AAHA plans to further the implementation of new enhanced standards of accreditation and the associated
evaluation system that were introduced last year. AAHA specifically plans to enhance the efficiency of the on-site accreditation
process by allowing more time for practice consultation. To that end, AAHA intends to double the number of practice consultants
in the field.
"This will allow AAHA to visit practices more often strictly to offer a helping hand and consultation," Welborn says.
Additionally AAHA plans to build on its standards of accreditation for specialty and limited services practices this year.
The new standards include those for surgical specialty practices, dentistry specialty practices, feline practices, avian practices,
mobile and housecall practices, emergency and critical care practices and central hospitals. For the first time, AAHA will
introduce standards of accreditation for ophthalmology practices in 2004.
Compliance efforts continue"Raising awareness about the importance of improving client compliance with healthcare recommendations to increase quality
of care will continue to be a major focus for the association in 2004," Welborn says. To reinforce the compliance tools, the
Driving Excellence in Veterinary Practice truck tour will be revised to focus more heavily on specific methods to strengthen
Furthermore, the association anticipates creating a compliance demonstration project in the coming months. The project, according
to Welborn, will assist select practices in their efforts to increase compliance and monitor the results, benefits and costs.
Conference around cornerLeaders of AAHA are counting on the "biggest and best ever" annual meeting, March 20-24 in Tampa.
The 71st annual conference will play host to more than 360 continuing education hours spread throughout management, scientific,
client relations and veterinary technician tracks.
This year's meeting, according to organizers, focuses on significant aspects of all veterinary team members' skill sets, such
as high quality customer service, gaining acceptance of treatment recommendations and handling difficult ethical dilemmas.
A highlight of the event includes a video and live presentation of a practice makeover, similar to reality makeover shows
on television, including the facility, practice team and practice systems.
As a follow-up to AAHA's release of position statements on animal welfare last year, the organization has lined up interactive
group discussions of animal welfare at the conference.
To register by phone or for a copy of the program, call AAHA's Member Service Center at (800) 883-6301 or download an online
form at http://www.aahanet.org/am_registration/form1.cfm.