To apply and qualify for Practice Certification, a minimum of 25% of the entire staff must be Fear Free Certified and have an active Fear Free membership. The 25%* must include 100% of onsite leadership/management (e.g. Owner, Practice Manager, Supervisor, “Head,” “Lead,” etc.) and 50% +1* of all FTE** veterinarians. Eligibility is determined via the APPLICATION for Practice Certification.
*round up non-whole numbers **FTE = 35 hrs/wk
REGISTRATION AND DEPOSIT
When a practice’s application is approved, a link for the practice to REGISTER will be emailed to the Group Leader. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due at the time of Fear Free Practice Certification registration. When the certification process has been successfully completed, said deposit will be applied to the total final cost of Practice Certification. Upon registration, the practice will have access to the online SELF-ASSESSMENT (via the Group Leader’s Practice Certification Dashboard) for one (1) year.
ACTIVE FEAR FREE MEMBERSHIP GRACE PERIOD
Practices will have a 90-day grace period between the time the application for Practice Certification is approved and the submission of the self-assessment for review. A practice will know the application has been approved when the link to register is emailed to the Group Leader. If during those 90 days any of the aforementioned 25% has left the practice or their memberships have expired, they will not need to be replaced or renewed for the practice to remain eligible for Practice Certification. Upon request, the Group Leader’s membership may be extended through this 90-day period. Members with expired accounts will not have access to the website.
If a practice submits the self-assessment more than 90 days after the application was approved and any of the aforementioned 25% has left the practice or their memberships have expired, they will need to be replaced and/or renewed for the practice to remain eligible for Practice Certification.
COST OF PRACTICE CERTIFICATION
For practices with 1-14 FTE veterinarians, the annual fee is five hundred $500 + $200 per FTE veterinarian. For practices with > 15 FTE veterinarians, the annual fee is $3,500.
SCHEDULING ONSITE VISIT
The onsite Practice Certification visit can be scheduled within sixty (60) days* from the time Fear Free determines the practice is eligible for said visit. Fear Free will provide the practice with a minimum of three (3) dates from which to choose for their onsite certification visit. Dates will be provided to the practice via email by 6 pm ET Friday. The practice must respond with their date of choice by 9 pm ET the following Tuesday. Failure to do so could result in release of offered dates and generation of a new set of dates. The new set of dates is not guaranteed to be within the previously specified sixty (60) day window.
*Does not apply to Canada. Fear Free will make every effort to schedule Canadian onsite visits as soon as possible, but at this time cannot guarantee it will be within a 60-day window.
ONSITE VISIT: PHOTOS
Your Practice Certification Veterinarian (PCV) will take pictures to support scoring of the standards and to share with Fear Free for review. “Best Practices” photos may be shared with the Fear Free community, unless you request otherwise.
ONSITE VISIT: PATIENT VISIT
Your PCV will be observing at least 2 complete patient visits. On the day of your onsite visit, please try to keep your appointment schedule as normal as possible.
ONSITE VISIT: MEDICAL RECORDS
Your PCV will be reviewing medical records at random to support scoring for the standards. S/he will only review medical records from the date you registered for Practice Certification forward. Any medical records that precede your Practice Certification registration will not be subject to review.
RESCHEDULING/CANCELLATION OF CONFIRMED ONSITE CERTIFICATION VISIT
If a practice needs to reschedule or cancel a confirmed onsite visit, the practice will be charged a $250 fee to cover all travel-related change fees for the Practice Certification Veterinarian scheduled to perform the onsite visit. The onsite visit is considered confirmed when the practice notifies Fear Free of the chosen date.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF CERTIFICATION
The Practice Certification membership starts the date the remaining annual Practice Certification fee ($200/FTE veterinarian) is paid.
CERTIFICATION PERIOD AND RENEWAL
Practice Certification is valid for one (1) year and is subject to an annual renewal fee. The annual renewal fee is based on the current FTE veterinarian count. A current employee roster will be due at the time of renewal to determine the renewal rate. Renewals will be paid on www.fearfreepets.com.
At the time of the first annual Practice Certification renewal, the practice must have at least 75% of its employees Fear Free Certified. The 75% must include:
- 100% of all onsite leadership/management
- 100% of veterinarians
An onsite visit is required every third year to maintain Practice Certification. The onsite visit must be completed prior to the end of the third year. For example, if the practice was certified on October 1, 2018, the onsite visit must be completed prior to October 1, 2021.
Practice Certification standards are expected to evolve and change as Fear Free develops additional educational opportunities and improves processes. Any changes will not affect a practice’s current certification status but could impact renewal requirements.
FAILURE TO PASS CERTIFICATION
In the unfortunate event that a practice completes all the required steps, including the onsite visit, and is determined not to have met the standards for Practice Certification, Fear Free will provide support to said practice to continue working toward Practice Certification. A second onsite visit may be required and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If a second onsite visit is required, an additional $500 fee will apply.