Referral Policies

Our Emergency and ICU Services


Our emergency service is designed to serve as an extension of your practice, providing 24/7 emergency and critical care. Our ICU serves the entire Bay Area, providing advanced care by a specially-trained team of doctors and nurses using state-of-the-art equipment for patients with serious medical problems. Our doctors regularly attend CE, including monthly rounds and case review as well as national and local conferences, directed at improving and maintaining skills specific to the emergency and critical care field. You may elect to refer a patient to our emergency service for any of the following reasons: • A client has an emergency with their pet outside of your regular office hours • A patient requires an examination or surgical procedure at a time that is impractical or inconvenient for you and your staff; for instance, a client seeks immediate care yet your schedule is already full. By referring these cases to our hospital you can rest assured that the patient will be well cared for and that the client will remain your client for future care. • You feel a patient requires intensive care or monitoring, including 24-hour case supervision. • A patient requires advanced life-support equipment such as continuous oxygen administration, ventilation, or blood pressure monitoring. • A patient requires or may require administration of blood products or constant rate infusion drug therapy. • You would like to have an advanced diagnostic procedure such as Doppler color flow ultrasound, video endoscopy, bone marrow biopsy, etc. performed by a specialist as soon as possible. • You would like to refer a client for evaluation or possible emergency surgery by our board-certified surgical specialist. • A client prefers that his or her pet receive overnight post-surgical or post-anesthesia monitoring and supervision of potential or realized complications and/or pain management. • A patient is recovering from surgery or anesthesia and you recommend overnight monitoring for patient safety. • If a client requests immediate care at our facility during regular business hours, and identifies you as their family veterinarian, we will direct the client to contact you to determine if he or she can be seen at your practice. If the client has no family veterinarian, we may see the case but recommend that future care be performed with a family veterinarian. We then provide a referral to a family veterinarian based on the client’s location in the county. Clients seen by our emergency service are typically advised they must pick up their pets by 8 a.m. on weekday mornings. If one of your client’s pets under our care is stable but requires continued care, the client is asked to transfer the pet to your hospital. In such cases our emergency doctor will attempt to call you regarding the transfer. Records for all discharged patients are promptly faxed to your hospital. If a patient is too unstable to safely transport to your practice on a weekday morning, or if a client specifically requests ongoing 24-hour care, we will continue care at our facility while promptly faxing records to you to keep you abreast on the case. If it appears that a patient may require a complex surgery, endoscopy, or ultrasound, we will make every effort to contact you (typically in the early morning) to discuss the case and determine your preferences for case management. Obviously, the final decision regarding case management is made by the client. Whenever possible, we strongly encourage clients to discuss their pet’s condition directly with you, their family veterinarian. We cannot, nor do we intend to, replace the important ongoing relationship and trust between you and your clients. We routinely advise clients seen by our emergency service to follow up with their family veterinarian during regular business hours rather than returning to our facility. PETS has developed a reputation throughout the Bay Area for providing top notch emergency care. We value the trust you have placed in us and will do our best to ensure that each patient receives quality, prompt, and compassionate care.




Our Hours and Transfer Policy


We are available for emergency and specialty referrals 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Our emergency service is designed to serve as an extension of your practice offering emergency and critical care 24/7. Our team of emergency doctors and nurses use state-of-the-art equipment and advanced emergency training to provide patients with the best care. Our emergency doctors regularly attend emergency specific CE including monthly grand rounds, case review, and national meetings directed at improving the skills specific to the emergency and critical care field. Clients seen by our Emergency Service are typically advised they must pick up their pets by 8 a.m. on weekday mornings unless there is a medical need or a request by the referring veterinarian or client to continue with ongoing care. Regardless of the reason, the emergency doctor will make every attempt to personally contact the referring veterinarian on the first morning the patient stays at PETS. Thereafter, the referring veterinarian will receive a daily faxed progress report. However, please feel free to call our hospital at any time for a medical update on any of your cases. Records for all discharged patients will be promptly faxed to the client’s family veterinarian.
Whenever possible, we strongly encourage clients to discuss their pet’s condition directly with their family veterinarian. We cannot, nor do we intend to, replace the important ongoing relationship and trust between clients and their family veterinarians. We routinely advise clients seen by our emergency service to follow up with their family veterinarian during regular business hours rather than returning to our facility. Some clients with hospitalized pets indicate they are unable to transfer their pets to their family veterinarian on weekday mornings due to work schedules or other time conflicts. In these cases, we offer the client the option of having one of our stafftransport the pet or leave their pet under the supervision of one of our specialty services until the pet can be transferred by the owner. We charge only a nominal fee for this service, as our goal is to return cases to our referring veterinarians and to make this transition as easy as possible for the client.




Referrals to PETS


Your clients may be referred to our hospital by several different methods: • Many area hospitals utilize an after-hours telephone message machine or answering service and provide clients with our telephone number for after-hours care. Other hospitals use a service that automatically transfers their after-hours calls to our telephone number. Our staff is happy to answer any questions your clients may have at times when you are unavailable. Staff members of PETS Referral Center have been trained to provide courteous, safe, honest, and medically accurate information. • Your hospital may wish to display a small sign, which we provide at no cost, on your front door advising clients arriving after hours of the location and telephone number of our hospital. This has proven to be greatly appreciated by distressed clients who would otherwise have been uncertain about where to seek immediate assistance for their pet. Additionally, the Veterinary Medical Board requires providing such notice. As a member or our referring veterinary family, you may elect to refer a patient to our emergency service for any of the following reasons: • A client has an emergency with their pet outside of your regular office hours.
• A patient requires an examination or surgical procedure at a time that is impractical or inconvenient for you and your staff; for instance, a client seeks immediate care yet your schedule is already full. By referring these cases to our hospital you can rest assured that the patient will be well cared for and that the client will remain your client for future care.
• You feel a patient requires intensive care or monitoring, including 24-hour case supervision.
• A patient requires advanced life-support equipment such as continuous oxygen administration, ventilation, or blood pressure monitoring.
• A patient requires or may require administration of blood products or constant rate infusion drug therapy.
• You would like to have an advanced diagnostic procedure such as Doppler color flow ultrasound, video endoscopy, bone marrow biopsy, etc. performed by a specialist as soon as possible.
• You would like to refer a client for evaluation or possible emergency surgery by our board-certified surgical specialist.
• A client prefers that his or her pet receive overnight post-surgical or post-anesthesia monitoring and supervision of potential or realized complications and/or pain management.
• A patient is recovering from surgery or anesthesia and you recommend overnight monitoring for patient safety. If you have time and wish to refer a case, please complete one of our "Direct Referral Forms," which can then be faxed in advance or sent with the client. Providing us with your medical record (including pertinent history, exam findings, and initial therapy), laboratory results, and radiographs for any transfer patient will greatly improve our ability to provide coordinated care.




Financial Arrangements


Our goal is to provide quality, affordable veterinary care for your clients after hours. Obviously, our fees may be more than yours due to the high costs of staffing, equipping, and operating our emergency practice. Most of our clients appreciate the value of the services we provide and report that our fees compare favorably with other similar centers. Our emergency exam/office call fee remains one of the best values in the region. Following a thorough intake examination, clients are provided with a detailed treatment plan recommended by the emergency doctor and estimate of fees. Our goal is to offer the best possible care for the pet by recommending optimal, but not excessive, diagnostics and therapeutics. We also recognize, however, that we must work within whatever budget a particular client establishes for the care of his or her pet. We understand that there is a wide variation in the motivation and financial resources of clients seeking emergency and specialty veterinary care. A deposit of the low range of the estimate is required to begin procedures. Payment in full of any remaining balance is required at the time of completion of care. We accept cash and all major credit cards. We also offer the use of CareCredit for those clients with limited financial resources. Unfortunately, like other emergency facilities, we are unable to offer our own billing program. Upon discharge, clients are provided with a detailed invoice of their pet’s charges. We welcome any questions that you or your clients may have about our financial policies and procedures. We offer discounted services for personal pets of doctors and full time staff members of our referring hospitals. Please let us know your affiliation upon arrival at our hospital. We will be pleased to provide you with a professional courtesy discount on all of our services. Additionally, feel free to share any suggestions you have regarding our ongoing management of the case. These forms are available under the “Forms/Links” heading on this website.




Communication Policy and Goals


Our goal is to keep you well informed regarding any of your clients and patients seen at our hospital. Medical records of patients seen by one of our emergency doctors are faxed immediately upon completion to the family veterinarian identified by each client. Patient updates are faxed each morning. Radiographs are sent with our clients with the instruction to deliver these to your office. When submitting laboratory tests to outside labs (Antech, Idexx, others), we typically request that duplicate results be sent to the family veterinarian identified by each client. The overnight emergency doctor will call you to discuss any case transferring directly to your hospital that morning. Due to the number of clients sometimes being discharged in the early morning, the emergency doctor may not always be able to reach your hospital prior to the arrival of an emergency transfer. We appreciate your understanding in these cases and hope that our doctor’s call will still be helpful to briefly summarize our care and impressions. Whenever possible, clients transferring pets directly to your hospital will arrive with a medical record in hand in addition to the complete record that is faxed to you at the time of discharge. In general, the medical record will reflect any items such as an IV catheter, central line, indwelling urinary catheter, fentanyl patch, etc. remaining in place at the time of transfer or discharge. Should a transfer patient arrive at your hospital with a bandage in place, please carefully inspect the bandage to identify if an IV catheter is in place. This step should prevent the accidental discharge of a patient from your hospital with an IV catheter, or the placement of an unnecessary second IV catheter. Although our emergency doctors will not typically call regarding routine cases or outpatient visits, please do not hesitate to call our hospital if you have any questions about a medical record or management of a case. Our goal is to achieve excellent continuity of care. If at any time you are dissatisfied with our services, please let us know immediately and we will make every effort to solve the problem, satisfy the client, or do whatever it takes to address the issue. We welcome your suggestions for our continued improvement and very much appreciate your support.





PETS Referral Center

1048 University Avenue,

Berkeley, CA 94710

Tel: 510-548-6684

Fax: 510-841-7387

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