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Practice Certification Terms & Conditions

COST OF PRACTICE CERTIFICATION

The annual membership fees for Fear Free® Practice Certification are as follows:

  • For practices with 1-14 full-time equivalent (FTE) veterinarians, the annual fee is $500 USD + $200 USD per FTE veterinarian ($700-$3,300 USD).
  • For practices with > 15 FTE veterinarians, the annual fee is $3,500
  • Fear Free defines Full Time as > 35 hours/week.
    • Full-time equivalent (FTE) is calculated by adding the average weekly hours worked by all part-time veterinarians together and dividing the sum by 35.
  • The annual fees include memberships for ALL staff members.
  • If the practice provides training and/or grooming services, the Animal Trainer and Groomer Certification Programs will be provided at no additional cost.

ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION

Eligibility is determined via the application for Practice Certification.

To qualify for Practice Certification, a minimum of 25% of the total staff and 50% + 1 veterinarians must be Fear Free CertifiedÒ and have an active* Fear Free membership.  Veterinarians count towards the 25% total staff criteria. Fear Free Certified Professionals are required to recertify ever 3 years.

*To be considered active, members are required to:

  • Maintain an active membership via an annual renewal fee
  • Complete the required minimum annual 4 hours Fear Free CE

Specialty practices with multiple departments/services (e.g., Emergency, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology) are required to have a minimum of one  (1) veterinarian from each department/specialty who is Fear Free Certified and has an active Fear Free membership.

Veterinary residents and interns, “relief” veterinarians, and veterinarians who only perform managerial duties shall be counted toward the veterinary eligibility requirements.

Traveling specialist veterinarians (e.g., DACVS, DACVIM) who are not employees of the practice and only perform specific procedures for specific patients are not factored into the 50% +1 criteria, annual fees or annual renewal requirements. 

 REGISTRATION AND DEPOSIT

Upon approval of the application, the email used for the team administrator (Team Admin) account will be emailed an invoice link to register.  Registration is complete when the non-refundable deposit of $500 USD is paid.  The practice must register within 30 days of its application being approved. Once registered, the practice will have access to the online self-assessment (via the Team Admin Practice Certification Dashboard) for 12 months.

The practice will be required to re-submit its application if either of the following conditions are met:

(a) the practice does not register within the 30-day window

(b) the self-assessment has not been submitted within 12 months

Upon successful completion of the certification process, the $500 deposit will be applied toward the total first annual Fear Free Practice Certification dues.

SELF-ASSESSMENT

Once registered, the practice will have access to the online self-assessment (via the Team Admin Practice Certification Dashboard) for 12 months.

Fear Free reserves the right to update the standards that comprise the Self-Assessment annually.

If the practice has been registered for > 12 months, the most current self-assessment must be completed and submitted for review.

MEDICAL RECORDS

The self-assessment requires uploading medical records to demonstrate implementation of the Fear Free Pre-Visit Questionnaire (PVQ), Emotional Medical Record (EMR), Fear Anxiety Stress (FAS) Score, and Pain Score.  All personal client information should be redacted prior to uploading.  Alternatively, screen shots that contain only the sections relating specifically to the standards (e.g., PVQ, FAS, EMR, Pain Score) are acceptable uploads. 

SCHEDULING ONSITE VISIT

Once the submitted self-assessment is approved, the Practice Certification visit can be scheduled within 60 days*. Practices will be notified of approval either via phone or an email to the Team Admin account.

Fear Free will provide the practice with a minimum of three (3) dates from which to choose for their onsite certification visit.

Unless otherwise noted, prospective dates will be emailed to the Team Admin email by 12 p.m.  ET on the first Friday following approval of the self-assessment.

The practice must respond with their date of choice by 9 p.m. 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 60-day window.

As of 2020, Virtual Onsite Visits (VOSV) are available. There are additional Terms and Conditions specific to these visits that practices will be required to acknowledge and accept prior to scheduling.  Practices will have access to this form via the Practice Certification Dashboard once the self-assessment is approved.

*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 this 60-day window. 

ONSITE VISIT: PHOTOS

The Practice Certification Veterinarian (PCV) will take pictures to support scoring of the  standards and to share with Fear Free for review. Unless requested otherwise, “best practices” photos may be shared with the Fear Free community.

ONSITE VISIT: PATIENT VISITS

The PCV will be observing at least two (2) complete patient visits.  During the onsite visit, the appointment schedule should be kept as normal as possible.

ONSITE VISIT: MEDICAL RECORDS

The PCV will review medical records to support implementation of the standards. S/he will only review medical records from the date the self-assessment was submitted for review and forward.  Any medical records that precede submission of the self-assessment will not be subject to review. 

RESCHEDULING/CANCELLATION OF CONFIRMED ONSITE CERTIFICATION VISIT

If a practice requests to reschedule or cancel a confirmed onsite visit (virtual or in person), the practice will be subjected to a $250 USD rescheduling fee. The onsite visit is considered confirmed when the practice notifies Fear Free of their chosen date.

 EFFECTIVE DATE OF CERTIFICATION

The annual Fear Free Certified Practice membership starts the date the remaining annual practice certification fee is paid.

CERTIFICATION PERIOD AND RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS

Practice Certification is valid for one (1) year and is subject to annual renewal requirements and fees.

To renew, the team admin account shall submit a renewal application. The renewal application shall not be submitted more than 60 days before the annual renewal date. Once Fear Free confirms the Practice Certification renewal requirements have been met, the team admin will be emailed a renewal invoice link.  Upon receipt of payment, all members’ individual memberships are also renewed.

The annual renewal fee will remain the same until the subsequent required tri-annual completion of the self-assessment and onsite visit.  At that time, the FTE veterinarian count will be re-evaluated, and the annual fee will be adjusted accordingly.

By the first annual renewal and onward, all staff members must be Fear Free Certified. If the practice provides training and/or grooming services, the individuals who provided those services must complete the Animal Trainer and Groomer Certification Program respectively. Employees who have been Fear Free members for fewer than 90 days are exempt from this requirement.

All Fear Free Certified individuals are required to:

(a) complete a minimum of 4 hours of Fear Free Continuing Education (CE) annually

(b) keep their membership active via an annual renewal fee

The date the individual completed the certification program, not the membership expiration date, is the date by which these requirements are measured.

Fear Free reserves the right to assign additional Fear Free CE renewal requirements on a case-by-case basis.

 

TRIANNUAL RECERTIFICATION

Practices are required to recertify every three (3) years.

  • The practice may begin the online self-assessment one (1) year prior to the recertification renewal date.
  • The self-assessment must be submitted for review no later than three (3) months prior to the recertification renewal date.
  • The onsite visit date will be assigned to the practice and will be scheduled approximately two (2) months before the recertification renewal date.

FAILURE TO MEET ANNUAL RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS

If a practice fails to meet the renewal requirements, the renewal application will not be approved. The practice will not be permitted to renew until the requirements have been met.  Fear Free reserves the right to remove such practices from the Fear Free Certified Practice Directory until said requirements have been met and the annual membership fees have been paid. Fear Free will work with practices on a case-by-case basis to assist them in meeting the renewal requirements. Please note that any individual member of a Fear Free Certified Practice that has not renewed will also have an expired membership and will not have access to the Fear Free Pets website. The annual renewal date will remain unchanged. For example: If the practice was due to renew on May 1, 2019, but was not eligible to renew until June 1, 2019, the next annual renewal is still due May 1, 2020, not June 1, 2020.

Practice Certification standards are expected to evolve and change with emerging research and as Fear Free develops additional educational opportunities. Any changes will not affect a practice’s current certification status but may impact renewal requirements.

FAILURE TO RENEW

Failure to submit the annual renewal application by the renewal due date may result in the practice’s immediate removal from the Fear Free Certified Practice Directory. Team members will not have access to the Fear Free website (fearfreepets.com) until the renewal process (application, approval, payment) has been completed. If the Practice Certification renewal fee has still not been paid 30 days past the due date, Fear Free reserves the right to remove all team members from the Fear Free Certified Professional Directory and the closed Fear Free Facebook group(s).

If payment is received within six (6) months of the missed annual renewal due date, the directory listings and team members’ access to the closed Fear Free Facebook page(s) will be restored. The annual renewal date will remain unchanged. For example: If the practice was due to renew on May 1, 2021, but did not renew until October 1, 2021, the next annual renewal is still due May 1, 2022, not October 1, 2022.

If payment is not received within six (6) months of the missed annual renewal due date, the practice must re-establish their status as a Fear Free Certified Practice by successfully completing the process from start to finish: apply, register, self-assessment, and onsite visit. The practice may not market itself as a Fear Free Certified Practice during this process. The self-assessment must be completed and submitted for review within 30 days of the application being approved. At least one potential onsite visit date will be offered within 60 days of approval of the self-assessment. In addition to the annual Practice Certification fee of $500 + $200 per FTE veterinarian (capped at $3,500 USD), there will be a seven $750 USD fee for the lapsed certification onsite visit.

 

UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT

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 towards Practice Certification. A second onsite visit may be required and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If a second onsite visit (in-person or virtual) is required, an additional $500 USD fee will apply.

Fear Free reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions at any time without prior notice. If any changes are made, the revised Terms and Conditions shall be posted on the website (fearfreepets.com). Please check the latest information posted herein to inform yourself of any changes.

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