It’s time to return to our series of more detailed follow up to our annual 2018 State of Humane Pennsylvania post! This week’s topic: Our continued expansion of community veterinary services via our Humane Veterinary Hospitals locations in Reading and Lancaster and through our shelter veterinary services.
For those who don’t know- which is hard to believe anyone couldn’t since I never shut up about it- our two hospitals are open to the public (yes, your pet!), are nationally accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, and support both the community at large and the animals we shelter!
Open to you and the public: HVH Reading and Lancaster are high quality, public veterinary hospitals. They provide over 10,000 client visits annually to pet caretakers and are here to serve you and your pet! For those who can afford regular veterinary services, we charge fair, market rates for all your animal health needs from wellness care, to sterilization services, surgery, dentals, and even acupuncture! If you are new to the area, are between vets, or just want to support a hospital where your bill helps pay to help needy animals, check us out!
But what really sets us apart from the rest of the for-profit veterinary community are our special assistance programs. We provide free or heavily discounted services to our adopted pets after they go home. The sniffles after an adoption of a cat or dog are almost to be expected. But a $500 vet bill to pay to treat a simple upper respiratory infection isn’t. By providing our unique 30 Day Adoption Health Supplement program, we keep pets in their new homes.
For those who need a little more help, our standard sliding scale services can take 20% or more off the cost of services for those on social security, with limited income, or other have special circumstances. We provide first responders, and others who give back to the community, standard discounts. We also work hard with clients to find payment options or flexibility that will allow animals to get the care they need and allow us to provide service without going broke.
About one third of our clients are from the general public, one third are adopters, and one third are sliding scale services. And, of course, there’s the whole other group of nearly 5,000 sheltered animals which receive treatment and services from our hospitals and vets. The value of those services is over a million dollars! By being a client, you help make that possible.
Nationally accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association: Only about 15% of the estimated 35,000 for profit veterinary hospitals in the US have this accreditation, which rates a practice on 900 points of operation. It is a recognized mark of quality. But our accreditation is even more impressive (IMHO) because of even that small number AAHA reports only 21 accredited non-profit hospitals in the US- and we have two of them! Our HVH Lancaster was the first accredited non-profit hospital in Pennsylvania to be accredited and our HVH Reading location was the third, and we helped a peer shelter in Bucks County get theirs to be the second. We are proud of this accomplishment because it means that no one can ever say, “They mean well, but their facility isn’t up to snuff.” We mean well, do well, and we have top tier facilities, staff, equipment, and services. That AAHA logo proves it!
On a side note: Are you a veterinarian who’d like to join our amazing team? We are hiring! Please check us out at our employment link. We are unlike anything else out there. The best of private practice facilities, equipment, benefits, and compensation, with the satisfaction of helping a wide range of people and animals. We’d love to talk to you and give you a tour!
Helping the community: Some folks need more financial assistance than we can usually offer. Even with our unique sliding scale and other assistance programs, there are times when we don’t have the resources to help some animals who come to our shelters or hospitals. We were fortunate this year to get a very generous $75,000 grant from the Giorgi Family Foundation and a $15,000 gift from Quaker Maid Meats allowed us to provide free and reduced cost services to 1,495 of animals in need, with a focus on pets of owners enrolled in our PetNet programs and residents in economically distressed Reading neighborhoods. These services saved lives and prevented animals from being surrendered and could be provided regardless of ability to pay. It also allowed us to test some new holistic approaches to service offerings which we didn’t have the luxury to testing in the past. These new models have led to some exciting new approaches which we will be rolling out over the coming months (and I’ll be writing about in coming weeks).
When we started making a major shift to seeing veterinary services as being core to our animal welfare mission, programs, and approaches, we knew it would be a good idea and help animals. We had no idea just how true this would be. It has been good for our animals and animals in the community. It has been a fiscally prudent approach, allowing us to do more for less, and to lose less as a charity operating in working class counties which don’t have mega-wealth of some of the Philly ring suburbs. And it’s served as a model for shelters in Pennsylvania and around the nation, who figure if some small town dummies like us can do, so can they.
More, better, cheaper. That makes for happy animals and people.