Policies & Fees
Thank you for viewing our Policies & Fees. The following list details some of our financial and medical policies. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with them so that we can serve you better. If you have any questions regarding these or any of our policies or practices, please be sure to address them prior to your appointment. We can attempt to take into account any special requirements ONLY IF your clinician knows them prior to the appointment. Once the clinician has provided you with his professional time, it is too late to express any special budget needs.
Appointment Specific Policies (in home & in office):
- No billing; fees are due upon completion of services preferred by Venmo, Google Pay or Zelle but we do accept CC (VISA, M/C, Discover + 4%.)
- * Representative family should be present for appointment if possible/safe, including other pet(s) affected by problem if appropriate/safe.
- * If pet has relevant medical history, recent labwork or on medication (have med bottles handy) have RDVM e-mail them to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) (If cannot e-mail can Fax: 858-259-0013) ahead of time.
- * If pet is aggressive, do NOT put people at risk during the appointment (e.g. if aggressive to family members have safely restrained/confined…)
- * Send us a picture of the “family” including the pet(s) as long as safe (if needed send two Picts e.g. if have two fighting dogs that should not be in same Pict)
- * Send us video(s) of the behavior problem if safe to video and if very unusual & important for doctor to see for himself (usually he does NOT need to see each problem)
- *Have handy any training aids (basically anything to restrain or train dog like collars, leashes, harnesses, training collars, head halter, etc.) if any.
- * Please plan to be ready 10 minutes before telemedicine appointment time to be sure we can start on time. Text office # (858-259-6115) for any appnt-day issues, etc. and visa versa. We have designated a specific time for you and your pet, and cannot refund you for time lost due to being late or for missing appointments.
- * If not yet done: be sure to download, sign, complete & return at least 1st 2 signature pages within 48 hrs (scan/e-mail, Fax & get back rest to us ASAP) since required to hold your appointment spot.
- * If not yet done: Pay scheduling non-refundable deposit ($300) via VENMO (@Patrick-Melese), Google Pay, Zelle or + 4% via credit card to hold your appointment!
- * We recommend that you Audio record at least the treatment part of session. Figure out your Smart phone Voice Memo/Voice Recorder, etc. PRIOR to appnt).
- Please have pet’s favorite treats available during the session. (Human food okay if they are super responsive to it.) If your pet is on a special diet, please have appropriate treats. Fast your pet 12-24 hours if needed to help be responsive to training treats if we need to have you use them.
Financial Specific Policies (professional fees have not yet increased during the pandemic but are usually adjusted yearly):
- Please be sure that you have reviewed all of our policies and fees and that you understand clearly. Payment is due at time of appointment, and we DO NOT BILL. We accept the following payment methods: VENMO ( @Patrick-Melese and has small Pict of the doctor with sailor’s cap and a pipe for a unique identifier and, if asks for last 4 of phone # use VBC office #); Google Pay or Zelle or by credit card Visa, Mastercard & Discover (however, using your credit or debit card will incur an additional 4% “convenience fee”).
- If necessary, we may be able to accept a check or cash at the “curbside exam” but we try to stay contact-free so prefer the other options at this time (checks not honored by your bank will incur additional fees, as well as costs associated with collecting the funds to pay for the services/products you have received).
- Since we schedule out a large portion of the doctor’s time for your behavior appointment, we request immediate notification of any desire to reschedule or cancel a behavior consultation so that another client can make arrangements to have the appointment time. Please give us as much notice as possible but AT LEAST 2-3 BUSINESS DAYS advanced notice of cancellation.
If you do not show up for your appointment or cancel with less than 2 business days (M-F) notice, you may be charged up to the full consult fee.
- Appointment professional fees are charged $209 per hour (a 1.5 hr “mini/lite” appointment for $400 may be available for those that only have budget for introductory or assessment-only visit but these are NOT sufficient for most serious behavior problems); Although not being scheduled during pandemic, House call fees have been $260 per hour ($780 minimum) plus $5 per minute one-way travel time charge (for example 20 minute travel time would be $100 travel charge).
- Consultations that must be scheduled with Dr. Melese after regular clinic office hours (M-Th 9:30-5) when available, are charged additional hourly fees.
- Initial office calls and house calls typically average between 2.5-3.5 hours depending on the pet, problem, complexity, behavioral history, etc.. This may vary depending on circumstances. If you have a “hard stop” need (e.g. another appointment you need to get to at a certain time; a strict budgetary limit that means we end due to budget rather than the time doctor thinks your case needs at first visit) PLEASE MENTION IT TO SCHEDULER AND ALSO TO THE DOCTOR AT START OF THE APPOINTMENT SO THAT WE CAN ALL BE SURE TO QUIT ON TIME FOR YOU!)
- Routine phone recheck appointments are currently $209 and are typically 45-50 minutes long. These are scheduled about 1-2 months after initial visit then as the case team (clinician and pet parent) think appropriate. However, rechecks done more than 3 months after previous visit may need more time than a “standard” recheck in which case hourly fees would again apply. Recheck appointments are usually critical to the long-term successful resolution of most cases, but how many and how often is very dependent on the problem, the patient(s), and the individual clients. How often the recheck must have an “in person” component (currently “curbside exam” but some day likely back at clinic) is regulated by veterinary practice in the state of California and is typically at least once every 12 months but the state Veterinary Board has made incremental waivers allowing us to continue telemedicine for existing patients without having the examine the patient as often during pandemic conditions.
- If you are unable to budget for even a “lite” consult visit with Dr. Melese we may still be able to help you. If you e-mail us a brief, concise (just few sentences as we do not have time to read through an extensive history outside of an appointment) description of your pet’s behavior problem, we may be able to send you some standard handout(s) or other self-help options that we may have. Although we are happy to help any way that we can as a courtesy, we do not have handouts on every subject possible and the material would be intended as general education since we cannot assure that the handout applies to your particular pet without a behavioral appointment, work-up and diagnosis.
Fees above are NOT meant to be an exact representation of cost since hourly charges apply, and each case is different. The fees above do not account for behavioral medication, behavior products or training aids that may be recommended; some of which we may have available for purchase during the “curbside exam.”