Emergency cases are received 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week and on holidays, on a walk-in basis or with a phone call just prior to your arrival. Upon arrival, our team will make an initial assessment of your patient to determine the basic next steps.
- Please note: Cases are treated based on severity. This means that from time to time a patient that arrived after you may be treated first due to the serious nature of that patient's illness.
- Also note: Depending on the total number of patients in the hospital, we occasionally may ask clients to seek care at alternate veterinary facilities because we are beyond our limit of cases that we can safely treat. We try very hard to avoid this, but we must ensure the safe and appropriate care of the patients that we have admitted. Even (especially) problems that seem quick and easy cannot be admitted as they pull our skilled staff away from other patients that are more critical.
- WAIT TIME and TRIAGE: When you first arrive, someone on our team will attempt to make a rapid assessment of your patient (triage). This is typically one of our veterinary assistants working alongside a veterinarian. Often a patient is taken into the treatment area where a veterinarian can quickly assess the urgency of the patient's issue. This is NOT a full exam, it is a triage to determine if your patient needs instantaneous emergency care (requiring them to stop all other work to focus exclusively on your patient) or if your patient is stable enough to wait. We are constantly prioritizing and reprioritizing patients based on what is coming through the door and what is happening with patients already in the hospital. Often it can appear quiet in the lobby while we are tremendously busy behind the scene.
- CPR-ECA: If your patient requires immediate care, you will be asked to sign a CPR and Emergency Care Authorization form. This makes it clear to us if you want to proceed with CPR care and explains to you the potential costs. We require this form when we are asked to perform immediate life-saving procedures but do not have the ability to speak in detail with owners. This is typical of very severe trauma, like vehicle impacts, loss of consciousness, and cardiac or pulmonary arrest.
- If your patient does not require immediate life-saving care, your pet may be returned to you so you can wait together in our lobby. Sometimes our medical team would prefer to have your patient in the treatment area so they can keep a closer eye on them in case things change.
- Wait times vary. We maintain a status level (green, yellow, orange, red, black) to help families understand the potential wait times. Wait times are meant as an approximation and reflect how long we think it will be before you can meet directly with the DVM to discuss treatment.
- EXAM: Once the veterinarian has had a chance to examine your patient, the doctor will meet with you to discuss a treatment plan. Together you will decide on an initial course of action.
- TREATMENT PLAN: After you and the doctor have determined a plan, one of our patient coordinators will present you with a written plan that outlines all the cost estimations, which you will be asked to review and sign. This authorizes us to proceed with care. We cannot proceed with care until you give us explicit written consent.
- DEPOSIT: At this point, the reception team will collect the deposit and the treatment team will begin care. You will be required to pay the deposit before treatment begins. Due to the nature of emergency medicine, we do not offer payment plans and we do require payment upfront. If you anticipate difficulty paying the deposit, please ask our team for help and they can connect you to our payment support service called CareCredit.
- HOSPITALIZATION: Depending on the nature of the care plan for your patient, you may be able to wait or we may ask that you head home while treatments are performed. Most patients require initial diagnostics, such as xrays and blood work and many patients require multi-day hospitalization.
- COMMUNICATION: Depending on how long your patient is admitted with us, you may be talking to our team members multiple times a day. The veterinarian managing your case will call at least once a shift (times will vary) to provide medical updates and review the plan with you. Following those discussions, our financial coordinators will call to make sure you are up to date with the charges. Emergency veterinary care is costly and medical conditions change rapidly. We take your finances seriously and will require you to approve major changes and possibly update deposits. All of this is done to avoid surprises. At the conclusion of the visit, our medical staff will send a copy of the medical record to your primary veterinary hospital. We are allowed 72 hours in Oregon to complete those records, but we strive to have them sent as soon as possible, especially when we anticipate additional care to continue immediately following a visit to our facility.
If your primary care veterinarian (the person/team that you normally see for general veterinary care) has recommended you make an appointment with one of our specialists, here is what will happen:
- INITIAL CALL TO SOVSC: Typically you (the owner) will call our hospital to let us know your veterinarian has made this recommendation. At this point, we will collect your information and send a request to your primary veterinarian requesting they send us the related medical records (and any bloodwork or xrays). Once we have that information our specialty coordinators will call you back to set up an appointment day and time. You will be asked to make payment for the initial exam at that time. This amount is refundable only if you cancel with 48 hours or more notice.
- APPOINTMENT DAY: Upon arrival, please check in at the front desk. The specialty team you are meeting with will take care of you from that point. Depending on why we are seeing you, several different steps may follow and they will advise you specifically. After you meet with the veterinarian and determine a medical care plan, you will be presented with a written treatment plan that outlines all potential cost estimations. Depending on the care you are having done your pat may be admitted that day or you may be scheduling a procedure for the future.
- Payment is due in full at the time services are rendered.
- If your pet is being admitted to the hospital for any diagnostics or treatment, a deposit in the amount of the low-end of the estimate is required. Additional deposits may be required if medical conditions worsen and treatment plans are changed.
- We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Cash.
- For those looking for financial assistance we suggest: CareCredit and ScratchPay.
- We do not accept checks, traveler's cheques, or payments via trusts.
- We do not offer payment plans and we do not offer billing.
Emergency Visit FAQs
Can I visit my pet in the hospital?
Yes. Please let us know ahead of time when you want to visit your pet, so we can prepare an area away from the other animals, if possible, for your visit. Depending on the number of cases and various levels of severity, we may ask you to delay your visit to a time more appropriate for us. When owners come to visit (which we want to accommodate), it requires us to assign a staff member to prepare that patient for visitation, often relocating them into an exam room as we cannot typically allow the general public into our treatment area due to the number of hazardous substances and equipment that we work with. Please work with us by communicating your needs early on so we can coordinate with you.
Who are the different team members we may interact with?
You may interact with the front desk staff, veterinary assistants, certified veterinary technicians, emergency doctors, specialty doctors, and administrative staff. You can rest assured that no matter who you speak with, they can answer your question or address your issue, or they can find someone who can.
If I have an urgent question who can I ask?
The front desk staff is your best resource for answering your questions or finding someone who can. If you are here overnight, dial 180 on the lobby phone to speak with a staff member.
Why does SOVSC require payment upfront?
We request payments upfront in order to cover the operating costs of being a hospital that is open 24/7 to pets. Our costs can be higher than those found at your family veterinarian, but please keep in mind that we need to cover the operating costs of being open all day, everyday, in order to treat emergencies.
What is your fee structure?
We strive to be transparent about our fee structure and will update you on any costs that weren’t originally anticipated. No matter the situation, SOVSC provides the best possible options to ensure the best care for your pet.