I. Purpose:

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the access of service animals in Salus/HAS Clinics, complying with the provisions of the ADA law (Americans with Disabilities Act).

II. Scope:

This procedure applies to all clinic staff. Strict compliance is required.

III. Policy:

A service animal must be allowed to accompany its owner anywhere on clinic grounds where the public and clients are allowed to enter. A service animal i should be considered an extension of the owner with a disability that the service animal is trained to handle. Service animals help their owners move safely with independence, freedom and dignity.

Salus/HAS Clinics and all its employees have the necessary sensitivity and awareness to facilitate access to health services for patients with disabilities and therefore accept this policy.

IV. Definitions:

  1. Emotional support animal: These are comfort or companion animals are used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. They are not animals that are trained to meet the needs of a person with a disability.
  2. Service animal: Any animal, commonly dogs, that is trained to perform work or tasks for the benefit of a person who has a physical, mental, sensory, intellectual or other disability. Tasks performed may include, but are not limited to: being a guide such as for blind people, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound or taking medicine or pressing a button, stopping behavior such as self-mutilation, hand flapping, among others. Under the ADA, only  dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals.
  3. Therapy animal: It is an animal that has been trained to provide company and comfort to patients in various health scenarios. Their training is not as extensive and focused as that of service animals. These animals are also not recognized under the ADA.

V. Responsibilities:

  1. Salus staff:
    1. Allow the service animal to accompany its owner everywhere and at all times. If the patient needs to receive services in areas where the animal has prohibited access (for example, to have a radiological study), you must alert the patient that they must come accompanied.
    2. At no time will you try to separate the service animal from its owner.
    3. At no time will you pet, talk, play with, or feed the service animal. We reiterate that the service animal is not a pet and should not be distracted.
  1. Clinic Supervisors and Administrators: they are responsible for training the personnel concerned.
  2. Marketing and Service Supervisor: is responsible for keeping this policy updated.
  3. The owner of the animal is responsible and accountable of the following:
    1. Supervision of the service animal. If the service animal behaves unacceptably and the owner does not control the animal, Salus reserves the right not to allow the service animal into the clinic or to ask owner and service animal to leave the clinic.
    2. Keep the service animal under your control at all times through the use of a harness, leash or other restraint, voice, signs or other effective controls.
    3. Keep the animal clean and free of insects.
    4. Pick up and clean the area where the animal has relieved itself and dispose of the waste in the garbage cans.

Salus/HAS will not provide care, food or accommodation for the service animal to relieve itself.

VI. Procedure: 

  1. If a person with a service animal walks into one of our clinics or urgent care centers, the following questions may be asked as long as the service animal’s duties are not obvious:
    1. Is the presence of the dog required as a service animal due to a disability?
    2. In what work or task was the dog trained?

If the person answers “yes” to the first question and explains the work or tasks the animal was trained to perform, we will welcome the person and  service animal without asking t any further questions.

We also will not ask the person any questions about their disability. We will not ask the person to show a permit, certificate, or special identification as proof of the animal’s training. We must allow service animals to accompany the disabled into all areas of our building normally used by customers and the general public (with exceptions of some restricted areas, such a radiology study room), and we will treat disabled people and their service animals, as well as  all of our customers, with the utmost courtesy and respect.

  1. Service animals are animals that have been trained for a considerable period of time. They are tame, calm, very focused on the task and on the relationship they have with their owner, which is why they are animals that show exemplary behavior. Service animals displaying unacceptable behavior may be removed from the clinic or facility. However, the owner may return to the clinic without the service animal to receive health services. Any of the following is considered unacceptable conduct:
    1. Uncontrolled barking
    2. Jump on other people
    3. Run away from the owner
    4. Growling or biting other patients
    5. Behavior that represents a direct threat to the health and safety of other people.
  1. Allergies and/or fear of animals are not valid reasons to deny access or deny health services to the owner of the service animal. Therefore, Salus/HAS must provide a space that separates the owner and service animal from any patient or employee who experiences or may experience an allergic reaction.

VII. Attachments: None

VIII. Reference:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)