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COMPLAINT PROCESS

AAHA is a voluntary association; it has no regulatory standing and is not an investigative agency. As such, AAHA cannot take disciplinary action against a veterinarian’s license.

AAHA addresses complaints if and only if an AAHA-accredited practice has violated a mandatory standard within the AAHA Standards of Accreditation. AAHA cannot address complaints related to non-accredited practices. Pet owners can learn more about the AAHA Standards of Accreditation by speaking with their AAHA-accredited veterinary practice.

Pet owners with a complaint against a veterinary practice should attempt to resolve the matter with the practice directly, with the medical director or practice manager. Before contacting the Association, pet owners should engage in constructive dialog with the hospital regarding their concerns.

AAHA does not address the following types of complaints:

  • Fee disputes. Estimates for treatment and surgeries are based on an expected treatment plan. Due to complexities and variables of medical cases, it is not a guarantee of the final cost.
  • Personality conflicts or perceived rude behavior.
  • Boarding/grooming facilities.
  • Medical course of action and treatment. Diagnostics (e.g., lab work, radiographs, etc.) and treatments vary in complexity and unforeseen factors as well as individual patient response. As they are based on individual circumstances, there is no guarantee of the outcome.
  • Anonymous complaints. A practice accused of wrongdoing has a right to know what is being said against them; therefore, if AAHA finds that an AAHA-accredited practice has violated a mandatory AAHA Standard of Accreditation, a copy of the complaint will be forwarded to the medical director(s) of the accredited practice.

Complaint process:

  • Engage in constructive dialog with the practice regarding your concern.
  • If you are unable to resolve your concern with the practice and you believe a mandatory standard within the AAHA Standards of Accreditation has been violated, click the link below to submit a complaint.
  • AAHA will review the complaint to determine if a mandatory standard has been violated.
  • If no mandatory standard violation has occurred or the practice is not AAHA-accredited, AAHA will close the complaint; no further action will be taken.
  • If AAHA finds that a mandatory standard within the AAHA Standards of Accreditation has been violated by an AAHA-accredited practice, we will contact the practice to investigate further and provide you with an update within 30 days.

AAHA-accredited hospital evaluations:

AAHA-accredited practices are evaluated by trained AAHA consultants and found to meet the standards required for accreditation. To maintain accreditation, practices must successfully go through regular evaluations, typically every three years. In the interval, AAHA consultants periodically contact practices on an informal basis and in-house staff is available to answer questions, but it is the responsibility of the veterinary practice to continue to uphold the standards between evaluations.

Click here to submit a complaint regarding violation of a mandatory AAHA standard for an AAHA-accredited hospital.