Guidelines For Classifying Veterinary Facilities

Comment on this policy

Whereas the public assumes that there is a fundamental consistency within the medical professions in the levels of care provided by facilities having certain descriptive terms in their names, the veterinary profession should strive to comply with generally accepted perceptions as to the level of care provided by facilities when using these descriptive terms. The name of a veterinary facility should represent the type of practice conducted. To avoid confusion on the part of the general public and to provide guidelines for consistency in the future designation of veterinary facilities by the veterinary profession, the following suggestions are offered. These guidelines are superseded in states where the practice act regulates the naming of a facility.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital—A veterinary teaching hospital is a facility in which consultative, clinical, and hospital services are rendered and in which a large staff of basic and applied veterinary scientists perform significant research, teaching of professional veterinary students (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent degree) and house officers.

Hospital—A veterinary or animal hospital is a facility in which the practice conducted typically includes in-patient as well as out-patient diagnostics and treatment.

Clinic—A veterinary or animal clinic is a facility in which the practice conducted may include in-patient as well as out-patient diagnosis and treatment.

Outpatient Clinic—A veterinary or animal outpatient clinic is a facility in which the practice conducted may include short-term admission of patients but where all patients are discharged at the end of the workday.

Office—A veterinary office is a veterinary practice where a limited or consultative practice is conducted and which typically provides no facilities for housing or in-patient diagnostics or treatment.

Mobile Practice—A mobile practice is a veterinary practice conducted from a vehicle with special medical or surgical facilities, or from a vehicle suitable for making house or farm calls. Regardless of mode of transportation, such practice shall have a permanent base of operations with a published address and telecommunication capabilities for making appointments or responding to emergency situations.

Emergency facility—A veterinary emergency facility is one with the primary function of receiving, treating, and monitoring of emergency patients during its specified hours of operation. A veterinarian is in attendance at all hours of operation and sufficient staff is available to provide timely and appropriate care. Veterinarians, support staff, instrumentation, medications, and supplies must be sufficient to provide an appropriate level of emergency care. A veterinary emergency service may be an independent, after-hours service; an independent 24-hour service; or part of a full-service hospital.

On-call emergency service—An on-call emergency service is a veterinary medical service where veterinarians and staff are not necessarily on the premises during all hours of operation; or one where, after providing initial triage and treatment, veterinarians leave orders for continued patient care by staff and remain available on-call.

Specialty facilities—A specialty facility is a veterinary/animal facility that provides services by board-certified veterinarian(s) specialists.

Referral facilities—A referral facility provides services by those veterinarians with a special interest in certain species or a particular area of veterinary medicine.

Center—The word "Center" in the name of a veterinary/animal facility strongly implies a unique depth or scope of practice (e.g. Animal Medical Center, Veterinary Imaging Center, Canine Sports Medicine Center).