We greatly value your support of the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center through the referral of your clients and patients. We hope to work with you to provide the best medical care possible for your patients through our combined efforts as part of your patients’ health care team.
Our board-certified specialists are available to work with you to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan for your most challenging cases. We will always refer your client back to your care for medical problems unrelated to the reason for the referral, unless you have instructed otherwise.
In many cases, after a single visit or course of hospitalization at the VHC we can work with you to provide ongoing patient care by having most or all follow-up visits at your clinic. Our specialists are happy to work with you via communication by telephone, email or fax to allow us to review your findings on these follow-up visits and make suggestions for continued care. In some cases, follow-up care may require special procedures or services that do entail multiple visits to the VHC, but you will always be kept in the loop regarding these re-checks.
How to Refer a Client
In many cases, the referral process works best when you speak with a clinician on duty for the service you send your patient to see. In all cases, we would ask that you complete a VHC Referral Form prior to the visit; this form can be sent with the client, faxed or emailed. Please indicate in the comments section any special concerns, such as financial limitations of the client, communication issues with the client or concerns regarding the patient (e.g., aggressive animal). We would also request that a copy of the medical records and any imaging studies be sent either before the visit or with the client at the time of the visit. All images will be copied, and the originals will be returned to you.
You are welcome to schedule an appointment yourself by calling 866-895-7267 (Small Animal Hospital), 866-234-3681 (Equine Hospital) or 866-844-3267 (Food Animal Hospital). You may also ask your clients to schedule their own appointments by calling 573-882-7821 (Small Animal Hospital), 573-882-3513 (Equine Hospital) or 573-882-6857 (Food Animal Hospital). We try our best to stay on schedule, so please ask your client to notify us as soon as possible if they are unable to keep an appointment.
The First Visit
We will start a permanent record for each animal patient on their first visit. During the first visit, we will perform a complete examination. Following that, we will discuss with the client all plans for further diagnostic testing or treatment. We also will provide them with our best estimate of the cost of the planned procedures and treatments. We are glad to work with your clients who have financial constraints to determine the best course not only for the medical care of the animal, but also for the client. There are often options that may not be quite as ideal medically, but are more financially realistic for some clients.
A 50 percent deposit is required prior to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The remaining balance is due at the time of discharge.
The VHC accepts all major credit cards as well as checks and cash. Additionally, we offer a financing option through Universal Account Services to approved owners of animals being treated at our Columbia and Wentzville facilities. Owners can conveniently pre-qualify by calling the VHC at 573-882-7821 before their appointment or may ask to apply when they arrive. This new, flexible payment option offers terms between six and 36 months and should reduce client anxiety about significant down payments at the time of service.
Tracking Your Patient’s Progress
Ongoing communication with you, the animal’s primary veterinarian, is absolutely essential for the best outcome. We realize that your client may wish to contact you while their animal is in our care to ask for your input regarding our findings. Our policy is to notify you that your patient has been seen on the day of the appointment and to send you a completed case summary as soon as possible following the animal’s visit. For hospitalized pet patients, we likely will contact you periodically while the pet is at the VHC to discuss its progress.
Additionally, you can access our RDVM Portal at any time to review results of diagnostic tests, case summaries and other information. These results are posted in real time, meaning that they are available to you at the same time they become available to us. You may download these results to keep as a part of the animal’s permanent medical record.
If there is ever an occasion when you have not heard from anyone at the VHC regarding your patient, we welcome you to contact us by telephone or email.
What Clients Can Expect
Because the VHC is a teaching hospital, a visit to our facilities can be very different from a typical veterinary visit. You may find it useful to let your clients know about some of these differences before their visit:
- Students in the final phase of their professional veterinary education have the opportunity to learn from our care of patients. They participate in patient care, but in no instance do they determine patient care. Clinical faculty supervise all student involvement with our patients. If an animal’s illness requires hospitalization, a student will call the owner daily with updates on the animal’s condition.
- Because students evaluate each patient first and then discuss their findings briefly with a veterinary clinician, an appointment is likely to take longer than in private practice. We will try to be considerate of their time, but your clients may appreciate knowing that it may be an hour or so from the start of the appointment time to the time they finish discussing their animal’s care with the faculty veterinarian.
- Animals may be evaluated by an intern or resident veterinarian. Although your clients might not meet the faculty veterinarians supervising these specialists-in-training, they should be assured that faculty members are overseeing the care of their animals. They should also know they are welcome to ask to speak with the supervising faculty member if they ever have concerns or questions that the intern or resident cannot answer to their satisfaction.
- We encourage your clients to complete our Client Satisfaction Survey.