STAF172-0815: Specialty/Emergency Practice: Unique Management Challenges
The lectures for this course will be presented in a predominantly audio format.
Please come prepared to listen.
Instructor: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
August 6- September 6, 2015
Real Time Sessions (RTS):
Thursday, August 13th, 20th, and 27th 2015; 9:00pm-10:30pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area:
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In order to prepare you for a successful experience
in your CE course, we request you attend a Practice Session prior to the first
Real Time Session. Please arrive promptly at the start time; each Practice Session
is up to 1 hour in length.
For more information, please visit the
CE Practice Area
*The instructors for this course will be using audio which will require you to have a headset or speakers to listen.
If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend
one of the Practice Sessions.
Level and Prerequisites:
course is designed to focus on the unique management challenges in specialty/emergency practice, and as such, is for anyone who manages or works within a specialty/emergency practice, is considering or is interesting in moving into a career in specialty/emergency practice, or anyone in general practice who would like to learn more about the complexities of specialty/emergency practice. This includes front office team members, assistants, technicians, associate veterinarians, and/or owner veterinarians in EITHER type of practice involved in the referral relationship.
VSPN CE Course:
This course has been RACE approved for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. This course has been approved by VHMA for CVPM credits (ID 15-09)
The Veterinary Information Network (VIN) is RACE Provider #22.
Managing a referral practice (specialty/emergency) is all about managing expectations. While this is true for all veterinary practices, what makes referral practice management unique is managing the expectations that evolve from the process of referral. The referral relationship involves a Triangle of Care, consisting of the pet owner, the referring veterinarian, and the referral veterinarian, with the pet at the heart of these relationships. We examine this Triangle of Care, and explore a Code of Conduct created especially for referral medicine that defines the essential tasks of the specialist/emergency clinician, the medical support staff, and the client service support staff. Using the AVMA Ethics and the AAHA Referral Guidelines, this Code of Conduct addresses many of the most daunting management challenges that face the specialty and/or emergency practice.
This course consists of three (3) Real Time Sessions of ninety (90) minutes each, supplemental library materials,
interactive message board discussions, a mandatory end-of-course test, and may include online multiple
choice quizzes (after each Real Time Session).
Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required
to earn a certificate of completion for the course.
*The lecture portion of this course will be an audio presentation, please be prepared to listen.
*To learn more about the requirements for earning a CE certificate, please refer to
Receiving Your CE Credit and Course Completion Certificate.
Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to
- Explore the Triangle of Care and the relationships formed within the referral process.
- Discover a Code of Conduct that can guide the care of these referral relationships and define each team member’s responsibilities to patient, client, and referring community.
- Examine how the AVMA Ethics guided the creation of emergency and specialty veterinary medicine.
- Explore how the AVMA Ethics defines both VCPR’s (veterinarian-client-patient-relationship) in the Triangle.
- Discuss how to honor and respect both VCPR’s with integrity and in the best interest of the pet.
- Understand the difference between a consultation and a referral, and why both are important within the Triangle.
- Learn how to use the AAHA Referral Guidelines to communicate effectively between practices before, during, and after the patient referral.
- Discuss the complexities of marketing a referral practice and how the Triangle supports marketing to pet owners and the referring community, including the availability of “limited care” services.
- Examine the decisions regarding who should follow the case and what to do when a new problem with the patient arises.
- Discuss the importance and difficulties in providing estimates of fees to the referring community and pet owners.
- Learn what the resources say in regards to clients seeking specialty care without an official referral.
- Uncover the answers to questions discussed in the AAHA Focus of Referral article, and how to apply these roundtable responses to the successful management of referral practice. This includes answers to:
- What constitutes a good referral experience?
- What is most important in terms of verbal and written communication?
- How should specialists handle follow-up on cases?
- How do you feel about specialists seeing cases without a referral?
- How do you address the expectations of clients regarding the referral process?
- How do you prepare clients for the cost associated with a referral?
- How do you handle a situation in which a client states they will absolutely NOT return to the referring veterinarian?
- When should general practitioners refer, and why are cases often referred “too late”?
- Do you feel referring veterinarians can actually increase revenues by referring to specialists?
- Explore the difficult scenarios that take place in referral medicine, how to communicate effectively with the family, within the referral practice, and between the two practices.
Course materials will be available
in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
There is no required textbook for this course.
There are required readings from the course materials in library including the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, AVMA Guidelines for Referral, AAHA Referral Guidelines, AAHA Trends article Focus on Referral.
About the Instructor:
Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR, began as a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in 1992. Since that time, she has become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM), and created interFace Veterinary HR Systems, LLC. She is also a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator. In 2006 she also founded and managed the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Practice Association, a professional organization. Katherine has been published in various veterinary journals in the United States, UK, and Canada, and has published three books through AAHA Press.
(Real Time Session August 13):
Challenges Affecting the Veterinarians
Within the referral relationship, there is a triangle of care with two very distinct veterinarian-client-patient relationships: the relationship between the general practitioner and the pet/family, and the relationship between the emergency clinician or specialist and the pet/family. Both veterinarians have their role in the care of the pet and communication with the client, but they also have a responsibility to communicate with the other so that the triangle of care remains balanced and there is a team approach to pet healthcare. Using the AAHA Referral Guidelines and more, we’ll learn how to address the unique challenges facing veterinarians in specialty/emergency practice.
(Real Time Session August 20):
Challenges Affecting the Medical Support Staff
Within the referral relationship, there is a triangle of care where the medical care provided by each practice is largely delivered by the veterinary technicians and medical support staff. Although the focus of the care will differ, the ultimate goal is a team approach to taking care of the pet and the pet’s family. The referral practice technicians will also be involved in the communication that takes place between the practices, and the balance of the referral relationship. Using the AAHA Referral Guidelines and more, we’ll discuss how to address the unique challenges facing the medical support staff in specialty/emergency practice.
(Real Time Session August 27):
Challenges Affecting the Client Service Staff
Within the referral relationship, there is a triangle of care where the client service staff facilitates the flow of information both in and out of the practice. This flow of communication is essential to the success of the referral relationship and the pet’s well-being. These front office gatekeepers have the opportunity to talk to each other’s clients, veterinarians, and team members, so they are perhaps the most pivotal position in the success of the referral relationship. Using the AAHA Referral Guidelines and more, we’ll explore how to address the unique challenges facing the client service staff in specialty/emergency practice.
CE Credits: 4.5
$90 ($81 early bird special if enrolled by July 23, 2015)
* Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status).
*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes,
enrollment will close at 5 PM ET August 13, 2015,
or when the maximum number of participants is reached.
*For more information on how online CE works, see the
Participant Resource Center
- Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to
VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course
must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a
VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
- Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from @vspn.org
and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants;
personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
- Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration.
To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll
for a course on behalf of another individual.
- For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 792 or email
Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
*Note: "This course is approved for 4.5 continuing education credits in jurisdictions
which recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some
boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or
restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education."
Call VSPN CE at 800-846-0028 ext. 792 for further information.
(Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for
information regarding recognition by their board). This course has been approved by VHMA for continual education units toward CVPM CE credit requirements. ID 15-09
Course withdrawal and refund policy:
A complete refund of the paid course price will be
issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course.
If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VSPN office 800-846-0028 ext. 792
to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you
call the VSPN office at 800-846-0028 ext. 792.
*For more information on VSPN's upcoming CE courses, check the
VSPN Course Catalog
Charlotte Waack, RVT, CVT
VSPN Director/VSPN CE Interim Director
VSPN CE Services: VSPNCE@vspn.org
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 792
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452 226154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357
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