Common Questions

What is VECCS Facility Certification?

The Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society has established minimum guidelines for the staffing and equipment for emergency and critical care facilities. To promote professional and public awareness, a tiered-level facility certification program has been developed using the minimum guidelines.  Differences in levels are based on hours of operation, facility equipment, reference material, and staffing (please see “Certification Levels” tab).

Why become a VECCS-Certified Facility?

By becoming certified, you will demonstrate that your facility has met or exceeded the minimum guidelines set forth by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society because you have the tools to practice quality emergency medicine and critical care.  Certification also shows your commitment to promotion of a positive environment and team approach and raising the level of emergent and critical patient care, setting you apart from other hospitals.

What are the benefits of VECCS Facility Certification?

  • Wall certificate and/or window sticker
  • Multiple press releases and/or marketing pieces
  • Poster listing of practices at IVECCS
  • Recognition and acknowledgement of certification in Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
  • Listing on the VECCS website in facility directory
  • In the VECCS newsletter
  • Ribbon for employees that attend IVECCS

Is my hospital eligible to become a VECCS Certified Facility?

Any hospital that is dedicated to the practice of quality emergency and critical care medicine that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements set forth by the VECCS is eligible.

What is the cost of becoming a VECCS Certified Facility?

The cost for an initial Facility Certification is $500.00 which covers the two-year term of certification. A non-refundable fee of $250.00 is due at the time of application submission and the remainder is due upon facility acceptance.
Facilities being re-certified, are charged $400. A non-refundable fee of $200.00 is due at the time of application submission and the remainder is due upon facility acceptance.

What is the term of Certification?

The term of VECCS Facility Certification is for a period of two years.  Following this there will be a renewal application based on changes in requirements (if any) from the previous time period.

How do I submit my application?

Applications are submitted online. Please read the guidelines here prior to submission.

How long does it take to receive a response from VECCS after submitting the application?

The VECCS office will send you a confirmatory email within 72 hours of receiving the application documents.  Please allow 45-60 days for review of the application documents.

What if we get certified and move locations or change our name?

VECCS Facility Certification is a certifying of the facility itself, this means that if you move locations you will need to submit a new application for the new location. You cannot be re-certified at a different location and when you move, your certification is considered void. 

If you change names, we can simply update that in our systems and send you a new certificate for $15. Please contact Torey Reese at the VECCS Corporate Office. You can reach her via email at [email protected] or by calling 210-698-5575.

VECCS Facility Certification vs VetCOT

What an exciting time to be involved in Emergency and Critical Care veterinary medicine! Our ability to provide exceptional care to ill and injured animals has advanced over time through the efforts of many groups and individuals with a passion to improve veterinary care. Two new efforts working to continue improving emergency and critical care include the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) Facility Certification and the Veterinary Committee on Trauma (VetCOT) Veterinary Trauma Center (VTC) network.

What is VECCS Facility Certification?

The VECCS Facility Certification program is open to veterinary facilities that provide emergency and critical patient care.  The purpose of this program is to recognize hospitals that meet the minimum requirements established by VECCS for veterinary emergency and critical care facilities.  The goal of this program is to not only raise the level of patient care but also increase public and professional awareness in the area of veterinary emergency and critical patient care.

The VECCS Facility Certification program identifies 3 levels (I through III) for certification based on facility equipment and supplies, operating hours, and staffing.   A detailed description of levels and requirements can be found at www.VECCS.org under the Facility Certification tab. In summary:

The Level III facility is an acute care facility with the medical staff, personnel and training necessary to provide emergent and critical patient care.  The facility is open nights, weekends, and holidays, 365 days a year and must meet the minimum requirements and guidelines published by the VECCS.

The Level II facility is a 24-hour acute care facility with the medical staff, personnel and training necessary to provide emergent and critical patient care.  The facility is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has additional requirements for equipment and supplies.

The Level I facility is a 24-hour acute care facility with the resources and specialty training necessary to provide sophisticated emergent and critical patient care. The facility is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, has further requirements for equipment and supplies and also must have a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (DACVECC) on staff full time and available for consultation.

What is the VetCOT VTC initiative?

The VetCOT’s vision is to create a network of lead hospitals that seed development of trauma systems. These hospitals will work collaboratively to define standards of care and disseminate information that improves trauma patient management efficiency and outcome. VTC’s will contribute to a trauma registry that allows for continued advancement of trauma patient care.  The goals of this program are to enhance trauma patient care, promote research collaborations, expand and formalize education of veterinary trauma, and enhance the visibility of veterinary specialty colleges. The development of the VTC network is a “work in progress”, with a very purposeful, gradual expansion planned to ensure processes at and between centers are solidified and validated as the network expands.

The VetCOT designates 3 levels (I through III) of Veterinary Trauma Centers for verification. Hospitals must hold VECCS Facility Certification, and meet the requirements for additional specialty staffing, internal performance improvement programs, education and collaboration with other VTC.  A detailed description of the different levels is provided at https://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/vetcot/ under Guidelines.  In summary:

A Level III VTC is a facility that is primarily involved in the stabilization of severely traumatized patients and management of less severely injured trauma patients. It is not required to be open 24 hours a day or to have veterinarians with specialist qualifications on staff.

A Level II VTC is an acute care facility that has specialists in emergency and critical care, surgery and internal medicine on staff, and a radiologist available for consultation. Level II VTC’s have the responsibility of contributing to research, and are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A Level I VTC has the ability to provide total care for every aspect of the management of the small animal trauma patient from emergency stabilization through definitive medical and surgical care and rehabilitation.  Specialists in the field of emergency and critical care, surgery and radiology are on staff and available for consultation 7 days a week, with specialists in anesthesiology, neurology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology on staff and available during standard business hours.  Level I VTC’s have the responsibility of providing leadership in education, training veterinarians and veterinary technicians, and contributing to research. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What are the similarities and differences between VECCS Facilities Certification and the VetCOT VTC initiative?

Both efforts are centered on ensuring exceptional veterinary care for ill and injured animals, improving patient care delivery, promoting increased professional and public awareness and ensuring that physical (facility) resources are available to veterinary patients.  Level I, II and III designation relates to depth of resources and operating hours (not staff capabilities).

The differences are as follows.  The application process for VECCS Facility Certification is through the VECCS. It identifies a hospital as having the required physical resources and staffing to treat emergent and critically ill veterinary patients.  The VetCOT VTC initiative is supported by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), and exemplifies the team-based approach to trauma care.  It recognizes veterinary hospitals that have a commitment to continual process improvement, education enhancement and internal (between specialty groups) and external (between trauma centers) collaborations. Level I or II VTC’s will have a diverse team of specialists and staff that play an integral role in the stabilization and recovery of veterinary trauma patients.

Are we now requiring ALL support staff regardless of status to have 10 hours of CE every 2 years?

All staff that have contact with animals , even those assistants who are not certified, must have some form of CE (10 hours) every 2 years. This can be in person or on line lectures, M and M rounds, Journal club, etc but 75% of the 10 hours must be RACE approved. 

Regarding the CE, does it need to be a full calendar year (ie submit for 2019 and 2020) or is it the two years immediately prior to submission?

It’s two years before the date of application. So if you apply April 1 it will cover April 1, 2019 to April 1, 2021.