Covid and all of the changes to our personal lives and to our society that have come with it have been overwhelming. One cannot open a newspaper, turn on the radio or walk into a store without a blunt reminder that life in America has changed.
Life at Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic has changed as well, and we doctors want to share with you some details about these changes and what they mean for you, our present and future clients. Also, we want to share two very important messages for all pet owners, whether in northeast Ohio or elsewhere, which we’ll include at the bottom of this post.
The obvious change is the logistics of curbside care, less face-to-face time with our doctors at your visit, and longer wait times. Our building cannot facilitate the degree of social distancing our governor and the health department requires. As a result, we must play the hand we’re dealt and continue with our current plan. This isn’t ideal, in our opinion, but it is necessary at this time from a public health standpoint. To accommodate some of these changes, we’ve added a phone line and added to our team in an effort to keep things moving as efficiently as we are able.
The less obvious change, and the aspect that we want to address with this post, is that since mid-April, we have been so busy, our schedule fills so full and so quickly, that we have at times been unable to provide the sort of on-demand care our clients have come to expect from us.
Historically, one could call us with a concern, and our schedule was structured such that we could make arrangements for a visit within 24 hours, if not within 6 hours. In seasons past, we’ve been able to accommodate new clients by making an appointment within a day or two. This wasn’t made possible because we had nothing to do, but because we intentionally built our schedule around being convenient for our clientele.
When Covid emerged in mid-March and our governor placed restrictions on veterinary clinics, availability at all clinics in the state was reduced. As March led to April and April to May, some clinics in the area maintained themselves at reduced availability. Further, because schools sent the kids home, Drs. Ryan and Jenn were forced to adjust their availability, reducing appointment times and surgery blocks to facilitate their children’s education.
Consequently, we have been inundated with new client and patient requests in addition to keeping up with our long-term, loyal clients who became backlogged. We are aware a large segment of our new client requests come from individuals with genuine need. While we loathe turning even one patient away, time is a limited resource. We are doing everything possible to meet the most needs for the most number of patients day in and day out. As an example of how we are prioritizing our regular clients, we now require prepayment from new clients to schedule in an effort to discourage the rate of new client no-shows all clinics have experienced for some time. We have seen this reduce the amount of wasted appointment spaces, freeing up the time for our regular clients in need.
Two important messages:
- First, to our regular clients, we appreciate your loyalty to us over the years. We are grateful for your trust and for your business. During this time of limited capacity, our priority is being as available to you as we can be.
- Second, to the reader who does not have a relationship with a full service veterinarian, there could be a variety of reasons for your choosing such a plan. There is no way to adjust the past. We recommend you schedule an appointment with a veterinarian today at their earliest availability, whenever that may be. This will establish a relationship between you and your veterinarian, as well as between your animal and your veterinarian. Establish this veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian in your community today so that one day in the future, in your time of need, you’ll have a clinic that knows you, knows your animal, and can respond to your need with a timely, loyal response.
In conclusion, we ask that you continue to be patient with the process here during your visits. Our team is working hard to facilitate the smoothest visit possible for you and your pet. Please understand that our schedule may not be as flexible for you as it has been in the past. We are navigating this Covid situation to the best of our ability while also refusing to compromise in our mission of providing kind, compassionate and comprehensive care for you and your pet.