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Wellington Veterinary Clinic PC has been named the Accredited Practice of the Year for 2012 by the American Animal Hospital Association. The award was presented March 15 at the AAHA yearly conference in Denver.
“I’m still in a little bit of shock and awe at the honor,” said Tracy Jensen, DVM, co-owner of the clinic. “To have an outside organization come in and say that our team is the No. 1 practice in the country means a great deal.”
The Wellington clinic is the first Colorado veterinary practice to take home the Practice of the Year honor in the three years it has been awarded. The other four finalists this year were from New Hampshire, Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits companion animal veterinary practices throughout the United States and Canada for dedication to high standards of care. Only 15 percent of all U.S. small animal hospitals – about 3,200 practices nationwide – pass AAHA’s regular reviews of patient care, client service and medical protocols.
“Accreditation isn’t necessary to practice veterinary medicine, but it is above and beyond state requirements,” Jensen explained. “We felt that having an outside organization evaluate what we do would help us achieve the quality of care we want to provide.”
The accreditation process looks at more than 900 individual standards divided into 18 major sections — everything from patient care and medical records to the quality of the facility and continuing education for the staff. AAHA inspects practices every two to four years to verify that standards are being maintained. While proximity to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital helps bring the level of care higher in Northern Colorado, only 23 local practices have achieved AAHA accreditation.
Wellington Veterinary Clinic first opened in 1999, but did not receive accreditation until 2008, when it moved from its initial location on Main Street to its larger current space at 7837 Sixth St.
“It had nothing to do with our level of care,” Jensen said. “The building just didn’t meet AAHA’s standards of excellence.”
While Jensen said she was honored to have the clinic’s quality of care acknowledged by a national organization, she said she was even happier that the hard work by the clinic’s 12-person team has been recognized.
“I can say ‘thank you’ all the time, but to have an outside organization appreciate how much they care about both people and their pets means so much more,” she said.
I know this must be a joke.