March 18th, 2020

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COVID-19 & Your Team: Boarding Patients

The COVID-19 Crisis has stirred up a lot of questions regarding appointment scheduling and what services practices should push out into the future.

By this point, you have probably come up with a strategy for how to handle wellness appointments, how to handle elective procedures, and whether you are going to accept drop-off patients or not. Then you probably got to the Boarding column in your Practice Management Software and wondered: what should I do with these boarding appointments?

As of March 17, 2020, most states and localities are considering veterinary practices an essential business, so they can stay open while other non-essential businesses are being asked to close to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Despite this, a lot of practices are starting to question if they will have to temporarily close their doors due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. This is a reasonable concern that brings us back to our original question: what are you going to do with your boarding patients if you must suddenly close for health and safety purposes?

We recommend that practices still offer boarding services to their clients, but with the contingency that emergency contacts for all boarders are required prior to dropping off. Your reception team should be reaching out to your scheduled boarding appointments and informing them that you are still open and are still looking forward to hosting their pet soon, but due to current circumstances with COVID-19 the following requirements have been put in place:

  • Any pet that will be boarding with the practice will need to have a local emergency contact on file. This emergency contact will only be used if the practice would need to suddenly close due to health and safety reasons or has been compelled to do so by local governing agencies.
  • The emergency contact must be able to come pick up the pet that same day they are contacted by the practice. It will be the pet owner’s responsibility to ensure that the emergency contact is aware that they may need to pick up the pet on short notice.
  • Payment for the shorter stay will be adjusted and will be communicated to the pet owner via their preferred form of contact (i.e. phone, text, email).

Upon arrival for their scheduled drop-off time, clients should complete an emergency contact form in addition to the routine boarding paperwork. Clients should not be allowed to drop off their pet for boarding if they cannot provide an emergency contact for their pet.

With this small addition to your boarding policy, we hope you can feel confident in continuing to provide boarding services to your clients, despite the current uncertainty with COVID-19 in your community.