Practice Certification Terms & Conditions


    i.    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.
    • Non-whole numbers are rounded up or down as per traditional math rules: down if < 0.4 up if >0.5
  • Annual fees remain fixed until the subsequent required triannual recertification. At that time, the FTE veterinarian count will be re-evaluated, and the annual fee will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Annual fees include memberships for ALL practice employees.
  • If the practice provides training and/or grooming services, the Animal Trainer and Groomer Certification Programs will be provided at no additional cost.


   ii.    OVERVIEW OF PROCESS

This section provides a high-level overview of the steps to become a Fear Free Certified Practice.

Step 1: Register ($500 USD non-refundable deposit)

  • Once registered, access to the Practice Certification Dashboard (PCD) is provided to the Team Admin account.
  • The PCD houses the online self-assessment, which is comprised of the Fear Free Certified Practice Standards.

Step 2: Submit Completed Self-Assessment for Review

  • Update the Manage My Team and the Employee Roster information
  • Submit the self-assessment for review

Step 3: Practice Visit With a Practice Certification Veterinarian

  • When the self-assessment has been reviewed and approved, a visit with a Fear Free Practice Certification Veterinarian (PCV) is scheduled.
  • The PCV will compile his/her observations for Fear Free to review and make the final decision.

The process of achieving and maintaining practice certification status may also include mystery shopper calls, in-person drop-ins and the like.

  iii.    REGISTRATION DEPOSIT

The $500 USD registration deposit is non-refundable.
When the practice becomes certified, the deposit is applied to the first annual fee.

   iv.    ONLINE SELF-ASSESSMENT

Fear Free reserves the right to update the standards that comprise the online self-assessment. If the practice has been registered for > 12 months, the most current self-assessment must be completed and submitted for review. The self-assessment will not be reviewed unless the minimum Fear Free certification and active membership requirements have been met.

    v.    FEAR FREE CERTIFICATION AND ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS

When the completed self-assessment is submitted to Fear Free for review, the Fear Free certification and active membership requirements must be met.

  • A minimum of 25% of the total practice employees and 50% + 1 veterinarians must be Fear Free Certified and have an active Fear Free membership. To be considered active, the membership shall not be expired.
  • Veterinarians do count towards the 25% total employee criteria.
  • 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 to be Fear Free Certified and have an active Fear Free membership.
  • Veterinary residents and interns, “relief” veterinarians, and veterinarians who only perform managerial duties do count toward these 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 minimum certified/active requirements, annual fees or annual renewal requirements.


   vi.    MEDICAL RECORDS

Submission of medical records to evaluate compliance with the Fear Free Pre-Visit Questionnaire (PVQ), Emotional Medical Record (EMR), Fear Anxiety Stress (FAS) score, and pain score is required.  Client information should be redacted prior to submission.  Alternatively, images that contain only the sections relating specifically to the standards (e.g., PVQ, FAS, EMR, pain score) may be submitted.

  vii.    SCHEDULING THE 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 email to the Team Admin account.

Fear Free will provide the practice with a minimum of three (3) dates from which to schedule the visit.

Unless otherwise noted, prospective dates will be emailed to the Team Admin email by 3 p.m. ET on the first Friday following approval of the self-assessment.

The practice must notify Fear Free of their date-of-choice by 9 p.m. ET the following Tuesday. Failure to do so could result in release of these 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.

Additional Terms & Conditions and information specific to the use of the WiFi cameras can be found in the Virtual Visit Authorization Form & Information in the Practice Certification Dashboard (PCD).  These Terms & Conditions must also be acknowledged and accepted in the PCD. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of a scheduled visit.  Rescheduling fees will apply.

*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. 

 viii.    VISIT: PHOTOS AND VIDEO

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.

   ix.    VISIT: MEDICAL RECORDS

The PCV will request a pre-determined medical record to support implementation of the standards. Medical records that precede the self-assessment submission date will not be subject to review. Client information should be redacted prior to submission.

    x.    VISIT: WIFI-ENABLED LIVE STREAMING CAMERAS

Patient interactions shall commence in areas where the cameras have been set up.

Failure to comply may result in a failed visit.

During the visit, it shall be the practice’s responsibility to inform clients that video observation is in progress and that still photos and short video recordings may be procured during the visit. It shall be the practice’s responsibility to notify the PCV if a client declines to participate. If Fear Free would like to use an image or short video that contains either or both a client and patient/pet, written permission from the client will be obtained prior to its use. The practice agrees to assist Fear Free in obtaining said written permission.

   xi.    RESCHEDULING/CANCELLATION OF CONFIRMED VISIT

If a practice requests to reschedule or cancel a confirmed visit, the practice will be subject to a $250 USD rescheduling fee. The visit is considered confirmed when the practice notifies Fear Free of their date-of-choice.

   xii.    EFFECTIVE DATE OF CERTIFICATION

The annual Fear Free Certified Practice membership starts the date the remaining balance of $200 USD per FTE veterinarian invoice is paid. It is paid via an invoice link emailed to the Team Admin account on file.

 xiii.    CERTIFICATION PERIOD AND RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS

Practice certification is valid for one (1) year and is subject to annual renewal requirements and fees. Practices are required to recertify every third year.

On a non-recertification year, the application to renew shall be submitted via the Team Admin account. The renewal application shall not be submitted more than sixty (60) days before the annual renewal date. Once Fear Free confirms the renewal requirements have been met, the Team Admin will be emailed a renewal invoice link. Upon receipt of payment, all individual members’ 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 practice employees must be Fear Free Certified. If the practice provides training and/or grooming services, the individuals who provide those services must complete the Animal Trainer and Groomer Certification Program, respectively. Employees who have been a member of Fear Free for fewer than 90 days at the time the renewal application {in the case of a recertification year, the self-assessment} is submitted are exempt from this requirement.

Once a member is Fear Free Certified, the Fear Free continuing education (CE) requirements must be met.

  • Fear Free Certified veterinary professionals: a minimum of four (4) hours of Fear Free-specific CE every 12 months
  • Fear Free Certified animal trainers: a minimum two (2) hours of Fear Free-specific CEUs via the Fear Free website
  • Fear Free Certified groomers: a minimum of two (2) hours of Fear Free-specific CE every 12 months

Fear Free reserves the right to:

  • Assign additional Fear Free CE renewal requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Revoke the practice’s Fear Free Certified status if said requirements are not met.


  xiv.    TRIANNUAL RECERTIFICATION

Practices are required to recertify every three (3) years. In addition to the aforementioned annual Fear Free CE requirements, the practice must successfully complete the online self-assessment and visit with a Practice Certification Veterinarian.

  • 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 visit date will be assigned to the practice and will be scheduled one (1) to two (2) months prior to the recertification renewal date.


   xv.    FAILURE TO MEET ANNUAL RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS

If a practice fails to meet the renewal requirements, the renewal application may not be approved. The practice may 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. Fear Free will work with practices on a case-by-case basis to assist them in meeting the renewal requirements.
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 and was not eligible to renew or failed to renew until June 1, the next annual renewal is still due May 1, not June 1, the following year.

  xvi.    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 is complete. 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 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 following the initial certification process (register, complete the online self-assessment and a visit with a PCV). 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 registering. The visit date will be assigned to the practice. In addition to the annual practice certification fee of $500 USD + $200 USD per FTE veterinarian (capped at $3,500 USD), there will be a $750 USD fee for the lapsed certification visit.

 xvii.    VIOLATION OF FEAR FREE CERTIFIED PRACTICE STANDARDS

All employees, including but not limited to full-time, part-time, contract, relief, interns, and externs, of practices pursuing practice certification and of Fear Free Certified Practices shall be familiar with and comply with the Fear Free Certified Practice standards.

If a Fear Free Certified Practice is determined by the Fear Free Certification Compliance Committee (CCC) to have violated a Fear Free Certified Practice standard, Fear Free reserves the right to revoke the practice’s status and membership as a Fear Free Certified Practice. In this event, no monetary refund will be issued. The practice will be removed from the Fear Free Certified Practice directory and will not be able to be marketed as a Fear Free Certified Practice. Employees will no longer have memberships that grant them access to Fear Free Certified Practice benefits.

xviii.    UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT

In the unfortunate event that a practice completes all the required steps, including the visit with a PCV, and is determined not to have met the Fear Free Certified Practice standards, the practice may make additional attempts to achieve this designation. A repeat visit may be required, and this determination will be handled on a case-by-case basis. A $500 USD fee will be collected prior to rescheduling a visit following an unsuccessful attempt.

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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