Risk Management

2018 December Bulletin: Service Animals

December 2018 Risk Management Bulletin

Service Animals 

Do you have a Service Animal Policy?

Do you know the two questions you are allowed to ask about the service animal?**

Do you know what the ADA requirements are regarding posting a sign in your office stating, “Service Animals Welcome”?


A patient showed up for a scheduled medical appointment at an OMIC insured retina practice with a dog. The patient did not call ahead to let the practice know that he was bringing a service animal with him to the appointment. When the doctor told the patient that the animal was not allowed into the sterile treatment room, words were exchanged, and the patient left the office prior to the exam. The patient filed a claim with the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Medical Board alleging discrimination and a violation of the ADA requirements regarding service animals.

The medical office was required by the U.S. Department of Justice to draft and submit for approval their service animal policy. They were also required to post a sign informing patients that SERVICE ANIMALS ARE WELCOME. The sign had to be in a font of 26 or larger, on a contrasting white background.

The insured was required to pay the patient a $1000 fine.

**The two questions you are allowed to ask about the service animal are:

  1. Is this animal required because of a disability?

What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?



ADA Requirements Overview: Overview and Miniature Horse Addendum

FAQ about Service Animals and the ADA: ADA Regulations

Understanding How to Accommodate Service Animals in Healthcare Facilities: HHS Document

OMIC Sample Policy: Policy

OMIC Example of Sign for Office: Service Animal Flyer and Court Document Service Animals

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