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The Referral Process for Specialty Services
We recognize that you have chosen to refer your patients to one of VESC’s specialty services. Our highly qualified specialty DVMs will ensure that your client’s pets receive only the best in advanced specialty veterinary medicine. In order for our team of doctors to pursue the best course of action for treatments and work seamlessly with you as the primary care veterinarian, we ask that all clients that come to our hospital for specialty services do so on a referral basis. Below we have put together a quick guide that will assist you in the referral process and to provide some clarity regarding why we request specific information.

Our referral coordinators are dedicated to ensuring open communication between the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center and all primary care veterinarians. They are available to both veterinarians and clients as a resource to answer questions regarding all of our specialty services. It is also the referral coordinator’s responsibility to schedule appointments and gather all of the patient’s necessary medical history in preparation for their appointment. They, however, are not a replacement for the primary care and specialist communication.

All of our specialists and emergency clinicians are available to our primary care clinicians at any time. Please don’t hesitate to ask to speak to any of our specialists directly.

A patient’s involvement with any VESC specialty area typically begins when we receive a referral form. When VESC receives a referral form, the following process begins:

  • The information provided is used to direct the client and patient to the appropriate specialist.
  • A phone call is made to the client to set up an appointment time.
  • We confirm all of the client information and give the client an overview of what to expect on the day of the appointment.
  • A request is sent to you for any additional lab work as well as six months of the patient’s history.

When a client calls in requesting an appointment before the referral form has arrived the following process is started:

  • Information is gathered from the client to determine which service they are being referred to.
  • If there is any confusion as to which service the client is being referred to, the primary care veterinarian is contacted for further clarification.
  • An appointment is confirmed with the client and they are given an overview of what to expect on the day of the appointment.
  • A request is then sent to you for a referral form, lab work, and six months of the patient’s history.

When a primary care veterinarian calls in to request an appointment for one of their clients the following process is started:

  • Information is gathered from the veterinarian to determine which specialty service they are being referred to.
  • Appointment times are discussed to determine what will be most appropriate for the patient based on availability and the patient’s condition.
  • The client’s information it obtained from the primary care veterinarian and the client is called to confirm the appointment time.
  • A request is then sent to you for a referral form, lab work, and six months of the patient’s history.
  • The primary care veterinarian is given the opportunity to speak with the attending doctor.

A complete referral from a primary care veterinarian includes the following:

  • The referral form: The referral form is designed to give a brief synopsis of what is currently going on with the patient. Completing the referral form in its entirety allows us to know in a matter of moments the patient’s current clinical status and a brief synopsis of the patient’s history including laboratory results, medications, and any special instructions that you may have for our team.
  • Laboratory results/Patient History: A copy of all laboratory results and recent history from your hospital will provide our specialty services with an in depth look at the patient’s current clinical status, as well as establish a base line and allow us to monitor trends. The laboratory results and history provided from the primary veterinarian play a vital role in developing the diagnostic and treatment plans for our patients.
  • Copies of radiographs and/or other imaging studies: All diagnostic imaging sent to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center is reviewed by our board certified radiologist and used to establish a treatment plan for the patient.


What will happen if I need to refer a case to VESC and there are no appointments available?
Our goal is to ensure all patients are cared for in a timely manner. Our emergency department is open for incoming patients twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. When a patient is in need of immediate care and is unable to make an appointment due to scheduling, we encourage that patient to come in through the ER.

While the doctor you have referred to may not have availability to add another patient to their scheduled appointments, they are available to the emergency floor clinicians and your patient for consultation on your patient’s case.

Can one of the specialists examine a patient while it is under the care of the emergency department?
Yes, this is considered an in-house consultation. With an in-house consultation the specialist reviews all medical notes, performs a complete examination of the pet and creates a treatment plan. The patient is examined by the specialist and the specialist then contacts the client. The specialty service will remain a part of the case until the patient is discharged. If the patient needs follow up care, it will be included in the discharge instructions.

What happens to a specialty case that has to be hospitalized overnight or over the weekend?
All patients that have been admitted to the hospital through the specialty services are transferred to the ICU for overnight and weekend care. A treatment plan and ICU sheet is created by the specialty service DVMs for the ICU staff to follow. The ICU staff and doctors are rounded on all patients that are transferred to their care. Our specialists are available to all ER/ICU Doctors during the evenings and weekends for consultations on specialty patients. The specialty service will resume care the following morning by rounding with the ICU staff, re-examining the patient, and updating medical orders if necessary.

We thank you for referring your patients to our specialty services and look forward to partnering with you to provide outstanding, comprehensive, continuous care for our patients and clients.

Referral Coordinator
Phone: 804-353-9000  • Direct Dial: 804-433-4133 • Fax: 804-353-0678

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