To our MSVH Family,
You may have noticed in the last year that wait times are extended, appointments are less available or
unavailable on short notice, and there can be an increased time before phone calls can be returned. We understand this can be frustrating, and we would like to discuss these current problems, the causes behind them, and how we are doing our best to manage many of them.
To give more context, the veterinary industry has experienced a major increase in pet ownership during the pandemic. While the number of pet’s has dramatically increased, the number of qualified available veterinary staff has not. All veterinary hospitals are experiencing a surge in case loads, including our local referral hospitals.
1. Extended wait times for your pet’s scheduled appointment:
We appreciate the patience we have received from so many of you. Our schedule is booked daily, giving the doctors and staff only 30 minutes from the moment you arrive in the parking lot to gather a current history and discuss the presenting problem, review any previous pertinent medical history, examine your pet, discuss findings, perform diagnostics, create and execute treatment plans, provide treatment, prescribe and dispense medications, and check out clients until the next appointment begins. We refuse to do anything but provide the very best care for each patient, and as a result, we can run behind if a patient is very ill and needs extended care, or if we have squeezed in an urgent patient who needs prompt medical attention. Please know we would do the same for your pet if necessary. Please continue to be kind to our staff who are working so hard to provide quality care for your pet.
2. Appointment availability:
Many of you may have experienced our new approach to scheduling sick or “same day” appointments. This is a strategy that we came up with to still have availability for urgent appointments in the midst of an increase in demand for veterinary care. Each day there is an allotted number of appointments that are not allowed to be booked until 8 am on that same day. These appointments fill up incredibly quickly. We do our best to provide as many same day appointment slots as possible; however, demand for these appointments is frequently exceeding what we can accommodate in our schedule. We are still doing our best to squeeze patients in even if the schedule is booked; however, there are times where we cannot physically take any more patients that day. We ask that you please understand we will do everything we can to help you and your pet.
Our wellness or non-urgent appointments are booking out at least 7-10 days, which is far superior to many clinics who are unable to see urgent or wellness appointments for weeks. We ask that when you receive your pet’s medical reminders, you schedule an appointment as soon as possible to be sure there is a time that works for you.
Our surgeries and procedures, like all other clinics and major referral hospitals currently, are booking 1-1.5 months out. We are doing our best to accommodate more urgent procedures but ask for your understanding and patience.
Technician appointments: Because of staffing shortages in our industry, child care issues with Covid related quarantines, and the increase in the need for pet care, technician appointments are not as readily available. We again ask for your patience as we may not be able to accommodate these appointments on a same day basis currently.
3. Increased times before calls can be returned:
We appreciate your calls and questions regarding your pet’s care. We do our best to return calls promptly. If you are calling a doctor regarding a medical concern, please be aware the staff may ask you to schedule an appointment or telemedicine consultation. If the matter is non-urgent, please be aware that phone messages are triaged and non-urgent calls may not be returned immediately. We will address non-urgent or non-medical related calls and questions within the week. Please do not feel forgotten if we do not call you back immediately; it means your pet is stable, whereas many other owner’s are not as fortunate. We do not make phone calls regarding non-urgent matters on Saturday’s due to our abbreviated hours.
The labs where our diagnostics are being sent are experiencing the same increased volume as veterinary hospitals. Many of your pet’s test results, blood panels, and imaging reports are taking longer for our hospital to receive back. Please be patient with us as we may not be able to call with test results as promptly as we would like. Lab results are also being triaged. Patients requiring urgent follow up or medical treatment will be notified of lab results prior to non-urgent cases.
We often communicate with you through email and text; however, if you have a medical issue, please be aware that our staff is not routinely checking these devices for medical related concerns. Please call our main line 301-424-0373 to schedule an appointment.
4. Abbreviated hours on Wednesdays and Fridays:
Due to a general veterinary staffing shortage, Wednesday and Friday hours are abbreviated – 8 am to 4 pm. We hope to return to normal hours as soon as we are able to.
How can we work together?
- 1. Medication refills – please check your medications and place a refill request 7 days prior to when the medication runs out.
- 2. Please be on time for appointments. If over 10 minutes late, wait times may be prolonged or we may ask that the appointment is rescheduled. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
- 3. Please be aware of the 30 minute appointment time. We love how committed you are to your pet’s care. We want to be able to address all questions in our appointment time, but sometimes this isn’t possible. Please understand we will find a time to address all non-urgent questions if we are unable to address them during your appointment time.
- 4. Please do not leave the parking lot during an appointment unless a doctor or staff member has informed you the pet can be dropped off.
- 5. If looking for a same day medical appointment, please call at 8 am on the day you would like to see a doctor. These appointments are taken on a first call first serve basis.
We thank you for your continued support and kindness through the last year and a half! We love working with you and your pets and appreciate your patience during this difficult time!
14925 Dutlef Mill Rood, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 • Tel: 301-424-0373 • Fax: 301-279-9093 www.maplespringsvet.com