Hospital vet’s pet project gets international honors

  • By Chris Fyall Enterprise editor
  • Friday, January 25, 2008 2:58pm

Sadie, a yellow Labrador retriever, stood quietly atop quivering legs Monday as the Edmonds Veterinary Hospital’s metallic lift positioned her in front of veterinarian technician Deb Cofer.

Cofer was about to trim Sadie’s nails. Sadie was not loving it.

She apparently took little solace in the fact that the Edmonds Veterinary Hospital is now one of only two internationally accredited animal hospitals in Edmonds.

She could have. After 10 months of work, the hospital recently received its accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association. Nationally, only 15 percent of small animal practices are accredited by AAHA, the only organization that offers accreditations.

“We just reached a point, having been around since 1975, where we thought it was a good idea,” said Cindy Remick, who manages the practice, which is owned by her husband, Larry Remick. “We already had most of the standards in place. It became a question of why not.”

The hospital treats small animals — mostly dogs and cats, officials said. It relocated in 1992 from Fifth Avenue to its current site at 21111 84th St. W in Edmonds’ Five Corners neighborhood.

On Monday, it took receptionist Erin Kemphues’s tight and soothing embrace to calm Sadie. But, although many pet owners might never notice the changes at the Edmonds Veterinary Hospital, if they did, the accreditation might soothe them.

Hospitals have to pass an evaluation of more than 900 standards involving patient care, client service and medical protocols, AAHA spokesman Jason Merrihew said in an e-mail.

Officials from AAHA visited the hospital, checked equipment and examined the hospital’s medical records and protocols. The hospital’s record keeping, human resources practices and treatment protocols alos were studied. Tons and tons of paperwork was involved, said Larry Remick, the hospital’s owner and surgeon.

“I guess we love self-torture,” he said.

Not much about the hospital’s day-to-day operations have changed, Remick said. The hospital has always done X-rays and performed surgery. Its shiny surgical room didn’t even need new equipment, he said.

But, new paperwork was necessary and some vaguely understood ideals were hammered out — and written down — in staff meetings, Cindy Remick said.

Consultants regularly visit AAHA-accredited hospitals to ensure compliance, AAHA’s Merrihew said. Successful hospitals are re-evaluated every three years, he said.

The Edmonds-Westgate Veterinarian Hospital on Edmonds Way is Edmonds’ other animal hospital accredited by AAHA.

“By attaining accreditation, Edmonds Veterinary Hospital is demonstrating its dedication to offering the best care to its patients and clients,” AAHA president Thomas Carpenter said in a press release.

At the very least, it is continuing to bring quality care, Cindy Remick said.

Some of the biggest benefits of accreditation are for pet owners, she said. They get access to new resources, and the hospital’s doctors will get access to continuing education.

“That’s a big part of it: keeping up with the education,” she said. “Things in this industry are changing quickly.”

Reporter Chris Fyall: 425-673-6525 or

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