The Referral Process
The Referral Process
This is very straight forward. Your primary care vet will contact us to request the referral and will provide us with your personal details (name, address & contact telephone numbers) and any history of previous treatment that your pet has undergone whilst under their care, including xrays, scans, laboratory reports etc.
At this point we will contact you directly to discuss the referral process in full and to arrange an appointment that is convenient for you (should you wish to proceed).
During this discussion we will usually be able to give you an accurate estimate of costs that will be involved with the initial appointment and any investigations that may need to be carried out on the same day (should you wish). On a rare occasion if your pet has a very complex injury or condition it may not be possible to give an accurate estimate of any treatment costs until you have seen Patrick for the consultation at which point we will have a clearer picture of how we need to proceed and an accurate estimate can then be generated at that point.
If it is likely that your pet will need to undergo sedation or general anaesthesia on the day of the appointment (for example if xrays, ultrasound or a CT scan are likely to be performed) then we will discuss with you when your pet is able to have their last meal and medications prior to attending the appointment.
All this information including the appointment day, time and directions to find us will be emailed or posted to you prior to your appointment so that you can refer to the information again nearer to the date of your appointment.
The day of the appointment – First Referral
The first referral appointment is essentially used by Patrick to gather all the information that he needs about your pet and their injury/condition and it is an opportunity for any investigations or imaging to be carried out, so that Patrick can provide you with all the options available. It would be rare for a patient to have a surgical repair carried out the same day as the first referral consultation, unless the patient had an urgent need eg. Trauma cases.
The first referral appointment with Patrick can take up to one hour. He will discuss with you in detail your pet’s history of events and will carry out a thorough clinical examination which may (if appropriate) include taking your pet outside to see them walking or trotting (on the lead) across the yard or grassed area.
By the end of the consultation (if your pet needs any further treatment) Patrick will have discussed the options available to you, timescales and any associated costs.
There is NEVER any obligation to have any treatment plan started immediately after the consultation - should you wish to think over your options you can take your pet home after the consultation and then call the surgery to schedule an alternative day for the investigations to be carried out.
It may be that you choose for your pet to stay with us after the consultation, this is usually for further investigations/imaging (eg. Xrays, CT scan, ultrasound scan). Your pet will then be admitted to the hospital ward and will be cared for by our fully qualified, experienced and compassionate nursing team.
After your pet’s investigations have been completed you will be contacted to arrange a convenient time (usually later the same day) to return to the surgery to collect your pet and to discuss the findings of the investigations.
Should your pet need to have further treatment, for example if a surgical procedure is required, this will be discussed in full to include details of any post-operative care that would need to be provided at home and an estimate of costs. A suitable date will be arranged with you for this procedure to be carried out on a surgical day.
Cash, cheques and most major credit/debit cards are accepted.
(We do not accept American Express, Solo or Diners cards).
BACS direct bank payments are also accepted.
Payment in full will be expected at the time of your consultation or on collection of your pet unless otherwise previously arranged.
Under normal circumstances, our preference is that you pay us at the time of treatment and then claim back your treatment costs from your insurance company afterwards.
It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company about your level of cover and any exclusions or excesses that you may be due.
We will do our best to help with this process, but insurance companies often prefer to deal with the policyholder directly.
Although we do not routinely make direct claims from insurance companies, they can be arranged with some insurance companies under certain circumstances. Direct claims must be aproved by us prior to you attending your first referral appointment.
We will ask to complete a ‘policy check’ which will involve us calling your insurance company to discuss the terms and conditions of your policy. We will need you to call your insurance company and give permission for ‘Ridge Referrals’ to have access to your policy information. We do this in an attempt flag up any obvious concerns that we may have about your policy but we are absolutely NOT in any way giving you a guarantee that your insurance company will settle the claim.
The only way to guarantee that a claim will be covered by your insurance company is to submit a ‘pre-authorisation’ but not all companies offer this service. Please discuss this further with us if you have any concerns. Submission of a ‘pre-authorisation can be a lengthy process and may delay investigations or surgery. We are only able to complete a ‘pre-authorisation’ once your pet has seen Patrick for the consultation as only at that stage will we know for certain the treatment costs that will be involved.
We require that a signed claim form is provided by you on each occasion that a direct claim is made. You will need to fully complete the pet owner sections on the form and select the ‘pay my vet’ option when asked about payment.
At the time of making the first direct claim we will ask you to settle any amounts that will not be covered by your insurance company, this may be your standard policy excess (if not already paid this policy year) or any percentage co-payment that you have to make towards a claim, or items that are simply not covered under the terms of your policy.
It is important to understand that even after carrying out a policy check and going ahead with a Direct Claim for your pets treatment, this is not a guarantee that your insurers will settle your claim, and if they fail to do so, you are still fully responsible for settling the outstanding account. We will also contact you if your insurance company have not settled the claim within six weeks of the submission date to ask for payment in full (you may need to be pro-active and ensure that your insurance company are processing your claim in a timely manner, six weeks should be more than enough time except in exceptional circumstances).