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Appointments, Daytime Emergency and Missed Appointment Policy
Our routine order of priority in attending to patients:
(1) Daytime Emergencies
(2) Scheduled Appointments
(3) Flex Urgent Care Appointments
(4) Late Appointments or Walk-Ins
Emergency cases shall always receive top priority, which is why occasional appointment delay is inevitable. If your pet had a life threatening medical crisis you would want our doctors and staff to give them immediate attention - we ask you give the same courtesy to others in this situation.
We have chosen to operate a scheduled appointment style medical practice to ensure we are able to see our clients in a timely reliable fashion. We also do this to permit ample time for the proper examination and assessment of our patients and to give our clients adequate time to have their concerns addressed and questions answered.
Our practice does run on schedule the vast majority of time and we consider this an important benefit to our clients. We ask you do your best to arrive at the practice a few minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. This will give you time to unload your pet from your vehicle, give Fluffy a brief walk to relieve herself, collect your paperwork and enter the practice for your appointment. Staying on a schedule and seeing our clients on time is a valued priority for us, however it requires everyone - staff, doctors and clients - to work together for everyone's benefit.
Flex Urgent Care Appointments
We have also experienced a substantial increase in both established and new client visit requests while hiring more qualified staff to expand has proven challenging. To address this surge, we’ve integrated FLEX URGENT CARE SLOTS into our daily schedule. These slots are additional to our time specific scheduled wellness / preventative care and Illness/Injury appointments. These FLEX SLOTS can only be utilized after all other available time specific appointment slots have been filled.
There are four FLEX URGENT CARE SLOTS per day, two morning / afternoon blocks, which are flexibly timed. Our staff will request you come in and we will start an initial history / triage, and fit your pet in based on urgency and existing case load. We advise you call early, as once these slots are filled we don’t have excess capacity and will have to refer you to Emergency Services -- which you do not want to have happen.
Let us reiterate –THESE FLEX URGENT CARE SLOTS ARE FOR OUR ESTABLISHED CLIENTS/PATIENTS ONLY, and are only opened up on that particular day. These slots are at an increased fee premium to offset additional support staff costs, and frankly to discourage less than urgent cases from utilizing them.
Drop Off Appointments
For your convenience, drop-off appointments are available. A 'drop-off' means you may bring your pet to the hospital facility at a time that works for you and leave them with us. Usually we will ask you to drop off sometime on a weekday morning between 7:30-9:00 AM so our doctors can examine the patient between appointments or at a time purposely reserved for admitted patients. Generally, when you drop off we will set up a 15 minute discharge time to have qualified staff go over basic information -or- the doctor will discuss important findings or concerns.
Late Appointments and Walk-Ins
We understand most people don't set out to be late for a scheduled appointment time however sometimes despite best intentions things happens which may delay your arrival. Those arriving after their scheduled appointment time begins will be seen on a space available basis. Space available means either (1) we will begin with the late appointment and hopefully be able to complete it before our next scheduled appointment is ready to be seen on time but if not, we will stop mid visit to take care of the on-time client and then return to complete the late appointment as we are able, or (2) if the appointment is late enough we may need to see our on-time appointment first and get back to the late appointment after other scheduled appointments have been attended to, or (3) We may ask the late appointment to reschedule. We simply will not make clients who arrive on time for their scheduled appointments wait for a significant amount of time while we attend to others who have missed their appointment start time - it is a matter of common courtesy. If this doesn't work for you, then may we politely suggest you plan to be on time -or- to call us if you are going to be late so we can ask "How Late?" and provide you with an idea of what is likely to happen.
We schedule specific time slots for our doctors, veterinary technicians and veterinary staff appointments to see individual clients and their pets. Walk-ins (No scheduled appointment) are actively discouraged as we rarely have the ability to "Squeeze in" a walk-in pet on the fly - and as noted above we will not inconvenience a client with a previously scheduled appointment so that we can accomidate someone without an appointment.
We made a significant business policy change in 2012.
Historically, our practice had not charged a fee for Missed / No Show / Failed appointments. Fortunately over time our practice grew. Unfortunately, as our practice grew and we had more demand for appointment slots the number of missed appointments also increased.
Since we do not double or triple book our doctors, failed appointments create a problem for our business as well as our other clients. The business has to have the facility ready and staff available to serve our clients with a scheduled appointment. No shows result in zero revenue to offset those costs, which then are shouldered by our (paying) clients who do show up. In addition, scheduled no show appointments take valuable appointment slot times which would otherwise be used by our clients who would show up for that appointment time had it been available to them.
We did not find this situation 'fair' for either our practice or for our clients in general.
In January of 2012, our appointment policy changed to include a fee charge (Currently $ 54) for missed medical appointment - which is the equivalent of our 'wellness' examination fee. A failed scheduled procedural appointment will be assessed a fee charge (Currently $ 100) which is the equivalent of our lowest procedural fee.
This charge must be paid before another appointment will be scheduled.
This policy change has not affected the vast majority of our clients - based on our review, greater than 85% of failed appointments arose from less than 5% of our client base. The result of this policy change has been a significant reduction in the number of missed / failed appointments compared to 2012 dropping in excess of 80% - and has worked particularly well for repeat no-shows 'offenders'.