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% convenience fee.)
- * 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 (email@example.com) (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 area).
- * Send us links (upload to cloud & send us link) to video(s) of the behavior problem if safe to video and if very unusual & important for doctor to see for himself (after 34 years he usually he does NOT need to see each problem).
- *Have handy within reach 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 vice 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 (scan/e-mail, Fax) for us to consider you for a new-patient appointment & get back rest to us ASAP but no later than 48 hrs. prior to appnt.) since required to hold your appointment spot.
- * If not yet done: Pay scheduling non-refundable fee/deposit ($300) via Google Pay, Zelle VENMO (@Patrick-Melese) or, with 4% fee, 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, using Zoom, 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: Google Pay; Zelle; 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 # and avoid labeling as a service or Venmo will charge a fee, which we have to pass on to you); 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 for the balance due 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 (remember your new patient scheduling fee is NON-REFUNDABLE for any reason once we have reserved an appointment for you) so that another client can make arrangements to use 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.
- New patient appointment fees are $675 for up to a 3-hr. session but, since a number of complicated cases need a bit more time, especially with separate “curbside exam,” additional time over 3 hrs. will be prorated at $225/hr. rate. Consultations that must be scheduled outside regular clinic hours with Dr. Melese (M-Th 9:30-5:00), when available, are charged additional hourly rates ($30-75/hr. additional). For Guidelines only-not a quote: Initial patient appointments usually range between 2.5-3.5 hours. A routine telemedicine phone recheck appointment is currently $215 (30-50 min.) but, for stabilized cases, can sometimes be shorter (e.g., $195 if <30min) and 1st rechecks are usually booked 1-2 months after initial appointment. Depending on availability, 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 so far, House call fees will be $300 per hour ($900 minimum) plus $5 per minute one-way travel time charge (for example 20-minute travel time would be $100 travel charge).
- Please note that new patient appointment fees above do NOT include any optional behavior medications, supplements or training aids that you may wish to get from the doctor at the “curbside exam” portion of the appointment.
- 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 $215 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 with a longer interval than directed by your doctor may need more time than a “standard” recheck in which case hourly fees (@ $225/hr.) 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 also have an “in person” component (currently “curbside exam” but some day likely back at clinic) is regulated by the state veterinary medical board: typically, at least once every 12 months.
- 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, diagnosis and treatment plan.
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.”