What is AAHA? American Animal Hospital Association
Established in 1933, AAHA is well known among veterinarians and pet owners for its standards for hospitals and pet health care. Approximately 3,000 veterinary hospitals voluntarily participate in the AAHA hospital evaluation program. Trained consultants regularly visit these hospitals to ensure compliance with AAHA’s standards for services and facilities. Individual veterinarians can also be members of AAHA.
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The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an organization serving veterinarians and members of their staffs, who are engaged in the delivery of veterinary medical care to pets. In addition to providing educational programs and publications and various services to practices, the Association publishes Standards for veterinary practices. Those practices that choose to undergo periodic on-site evaluation by AAHA staff may become Accredited by the Association. Membership in AAHA and participation in the Accreditation Program is voluntary.
The Standards and the Accreditation Program
The Standards developed and published by AAHA are widely accepted as representing those components of veterinary practice that represent high quality care. The Standards are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving knowledge and technology. The AAHA Standards of Accreditation address the following areas:
- Emergency services
- Pain management
- Patient care
- Surgery and anesthesia
- Contagious disease protocols
- Radiology services
- Laboratory services
- Client service
- Staff continuing education and training
- Human resources and leadership
- Patient and staff safety
- Pet medical records
- Examination facilities and equipment
- Housekeeping and maintenance
All AAHA-accredited practices voluntarily meet or exceed the association’s standards for facilities, equipment and quality procedures.
Those practices that wish to be accredited complete a lengthy application process, which culminates with an on-site visit by a veterinary professional employed by AAHA. Those practices that are found to be in compliance with the policies and Standards requirements established by the Association are awarded AAHA-Accredited Practice status. In order to maintain accreditation, the practice must undergo periodic review and additional on-site evaluations every three years.
AAHA also accredits species-specific and specialty veterinary practices. The association offers accreditation for avian practices, feline practices, emergency and critical care hospitals, house call/mobile practices, central hospitals and hospitals with an emphasis in surgery or dentistry.
AAHA-accredited practices are truly distinctive in providing the highest quality care for pets. AAHA standards are recognized around the world as the benchmark for quality care in veterinary medicine. The Standards of Accreditation are written for veterinary health care staff and AAHA members only.
What Accreditation Means for Pet Owners
Choosing an AAHA accredited veterinary practice for your pet’s medical care assures you that the practice you have selected has the facilities, equipment, staff, and medical protocols that AAHA believes are important for the delivery of high quality care. Further, voluntary commitment to the AAHA Standards and the Accreditation Program demonstrates that the practice has chosen to have itself measured by an outside organization against the most rigorous published Standards in the industry.