Since Dr Joi opened her clinic in 2013, it wasn't uncommon for her to meet clients on the weekend if a pet needed care. Now, with the 6 feet recommended social distancing, she can't do this. She can't ask clients to assist her by holding their pet during an examination as she did in her old house call days. Because of her employees, Joi has 9 families dependent upon her to stay healthy and keep the business side of the clinic afloat.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tequesta Veterinary Clinic will offer limited telemedicine exams and consults. The telemedicine exams will be the same price as our current exams: $55 for an exam and $45 for a recheck exam. We legally cannot provide telemedicine for new patients who have not been seen at TVC previously. We need a VCPR (veterinary client patient relationship) to allow telemedicine. If telemedicine doesn't suit the situation, the exam will be completed at the clinic during regular business hours which is our preferred option anyway. Your pet needs a hands on exam at least once a year for us to legally prescribe medications.
The types of cases where a video chat may be sufficient are the following:
Diarrhea cases when the pet is not vomiting or acting ill (you will likely need to bring us stool regardless)
Hospice care Basic triage (whether the pet should be seen by the veterinarian)
Environmental concerns/hazards/ingestions that may put a pet at risk
Long-term care monitoring
How does it work?
You will need to call for an appointment. One of our nurses will take the history just as if you were in the clinic. You'll need a smart phone or iPad so that you can show us your pet and in particular any lesions or symptoms. We'll have you weigh your pet at home prior to the examination (ie weigh yourself with and without your pet and do some math). We'd love for you to take the temperature at home before the exam.
We have found it helpful if you TAKE PICTURES OF SKIN OR THE CONCERN PRIOR TO THE VIRTUAL APPOINTMENT SO THE DOCTOR CAN SEE IT WITHOUT A WIGGLING PET. You may either email it to TequestaVetClinic@yahoo.com prior to the virtual appointment or text the pictures to the clinic cell phone once the virtual exam begins. (A still photo is easier as we can zoom in on the picture. Wiggly critters make it hard for clients to show us lesions!)
Again, Dr Joi is worried about the limitations of a virtual exam, but we are willing to accommodate you as best as we can so you can get the most accurate information possible in these circumstances. If you are senior or immunocompromised and sheltering at home, we might be able to help you with modern technology. Or, we might just see enough to know you need to bring your pet to the clinic. Clearly our preference is an examination of the pet right in the clinic, but sometimes pandemics get in the way. Telemedicine is not optimal but these are not optimal times.
If we opt to send medication or shampoo we have 2 options: Send it to you via our online pharmacy (through Vets First Choice / Covetrus) OR have you or a friend come pick up medication at the clinic (stay in the car, call us when you arrive, we bring it out to you, you pay via phone with debit or credit card).
Please do your best to stay home and safe from COVID-19. We are dependent upon each other to limit the number of cases in our area and finally be able to return to more normal routines. As mentioned elsewhere in the website, we have a dear friend who is willing to taxi your sick pet if you are supposed to be at home (ie 65 or older or immunocompromised).
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID19 OR IF YOU HAVE COVID19 WE APPRECIATE THE OPTION TO TRY TELEMEDICINE RATHER THAN HAVE OUR STAFF EXPOSED TO COVID19. We are doing our utmost to keep our families safe while treating your sick pets until this pandemic passes.
Facetime is the easiest! If you have an iPhone or iPad we can call you from the clinic cell phone. We've just gotten a Zoom meeting account and we can send you a link to your phone --- you will need to download the zoom app on your smart phone or tablet. We are new to Zoom so forgive us as we work out the kinks. Dr Joi also has a Skype account. If you wish to use your Skype account, please download the Skype app. WE WANT YOU TO USE YOUR SMART PHONE OR TABLET SO YOU CAN SHOW US YOUR PET. You can't easily point your laptop or desktop computer at your pet and we need to see your pet.
We belong to the FVMA and support the FVMA. We greatly appreciate all the FVMA has dome for veterinarians and pets during the pandemic, ensuring that we were added to the essential businesses category! Below is what the FVMA sent out to it's members on April 10, 2020
CLARIFICATION FROM THE FVMA ON TELEMEDICINE
There seems to be some confusion as to what the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Emergency Order 2020-04 relating to the practice of telemedicine allows. This email is intended to clarify any misunderstanding our membership may have.
Order 2020-04 suspends restrictions in the Florida Veterinary Practice Act Chapter 474, Florida Statutes and Rule 61G-18 Florida Administrative Code that prohibit veterinarians from practicing telemedicine on their patients, providing the veterinarian exercises good clinical judgment to assist the patient.
State of Florida DBPR Emergency Order 2020-04, No. 11 (Appended Below)
Any restriction in Chapter 474, Florida Statutes, or chapter 61G-18, Florida
Administrative Code, which would prohibit active Florida licensed veterinarians in
good standing from practicing telemedicine on their patients is suspended provided the attending veterinarian is comfortable assessing the patient remotely and feels able to exercise good clinical judgment to assist the patient.
Points of Clarification
- The order does not suspend the VCPR requirement for the practice of veterinary medicine in Florida. We wish to stress that the order suspends restrictions that “prohibit active Florida licensed veterinarians in good standing from practicing telemedicine on their patients.”
- The existing definition of a VCPR in Florida remains in effect (which requires a physical examination of the animal).
- Veterinary telemedicine can be used to provide a diagnosis or treatment recommendations (this includes dispensing medications and authorizing prescriptions) for “Existing Patients” where a documented VCPR exists.
- Veterinary telemedicine cannot be used to diagnose, or treat, a “New Patient,” when the veterinarian does not have a valid VCPR.
Thank you for all you and your teams are doing in these trying times to meet the needs of your clients and patients. We strongly encourage practices to exercise preventative measures to ensure the safety of their staff, families, clients and patients.
As always, the FVMA staff is here to support you through these difficult times.
Philip J. Hinkle
FVMA Executive Director