As many of you know, I am a straight-shooter and problem-solver. Over the past four years as hospital director, I have worked with referral partners and hospital faculty and staff to implement an incredible number of improvements during very challenging times. I am proud of what we have accomplished together.
In the face of veterinary staffing shortages and overwhelming caseloads nationally, we are tirelessly working to find innovative approaches to meet the needs of our patients, clients, referrers, and students. Our commitment to providing the best in veterinary care has not wavered.
I write now to address some ongoing challenges that are concerns for our referrers.
Ophthalmology. The painful decision to close this service was made after we exhausted every means possible to hire new faculty and could no longer staff the service with locum veterinarians. Our search for the next faculty ophthalmology team will continue until we are successful in hiring.
Urgent and Convenient Care. This service, launched in September to relieve the demand for care both at our emergency service and at area practices, closed due to the unexpected departure of our clinician. A search is under way to refill this position. In the meantime, our ER provides comprehensive care 24/7 for patients with emergent needs.
Wait list. Patients that do not have urgent/emergent needs, or that are able to be treated and discharged, will be sent to their local veterinarian or scheduled for the next available specialty appointment. Unfortunately, our wait list is long. We are working diligently to accommodate your and your clients’ needs. You are always welcome to speak with our clinicians about cases, and often we can help.
Communication. We have implemented several measures to improve coordination of care. Our Referring Veterinarian Portal gives you access to the medical record of all your patients. Discharge forms for owners have been redesigned with take-home information. We strive to deliver referral reports within 3 business days.
We hope that you will continue to partner with us as we work to serve you and our clients better.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season,
Julia K. Whittington, DVM
Hospital Director and Assistant Dean for Clinical Services