Regulatory / Legislative Committee Nancy Ehrlich, RVT - Chair and Liaison
A CaRVTA Regulatory/Legislative Committee member is in attendance at all VMB, RVT Task Force, and MDC meetings to report on information that is important to our members, as well as to represent CaRVTA when appropriate. The Leg/Reg Committee is looking for more committee members. If you are interested, be sure to e-mail Nancy Ehrlich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most state meetings take place in Sacramento, although VMB meetings sometimes are scheduled for Southern California.
CaRVTA works hard to make sure our members' voices are heard in Sacramento, from representation at California's Veterinary Medical Board meetings, VMB committee meetings and the State legislature to member e-news and alerts. Your CaRVTA Board also works with the State government to promote legislation favorable to the RVT profession, such as adding an RVT to the VMB and granting title protection for RVTs. In addition to regulations and laws, the VMB is also the RVT licensing body. Below, we have listed important VMB tools and resources that student and professional RVTs will find useful throughout their careers.
(e) No person may practice veterinary medicine in this state except within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship or otherwise permitted by law. A veterinarian-client-patient relationship cannot be established solely by telephonic or electronic means.
(f) Telemedicine shall be conducted within an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship, with the exception for advice given in an "emergency," as defined under section 4840.5 of the code, until that patient(s) can be seen by or transported to a veterinarian. For purposes of this section, "telemedicine" shall mean the mode of delivering animal health care services via communication technologies to facilitate consultation, treatment, and care management of the patient.
The approved regulation was filed with the Secretary of State on November 27, 2019, and becomes effective January 1, 2020.
For more information on this regulatory amendment, please visit our website here.
Laws and Policies Regarding Marijuana, Hemp and AnimalsAB-485 - Mill Bred Dogs, Cats, RabbitsAB-1522 - Sick Leave ActVeterinary Assistant Controlled Substance Permit
Unlicensed Veterinary Activity
When the VMB receives a complaint about unlicensed activity, it first investigates the complaint. Second, it sends a Cease & Desist letter to the individual, giving them an opportunity to explain whether or not they are actually engaged in the unlicensed activity. If they are performing the activity and do not desist, they are issued a citation and fine. They may also be referred to the local District Attorney for criminal prosecution. The VMB has passed a motion to direct its legal counsel to investigate further enforcement options.
For information about how to file a complaint - CLICK HERE
Regulatory/Legislative Report October 15, 2019 Nancy Ehrlich, RVT, Regulatory/Legislative Advocate, CaRVTA
Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) – The MDC met on October 8 in Sacramento. All members were present. The first item on the agenda was discussion of regulatory and statutory proposals that would clarify the role of corporations in veterinary medicine. The Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) has been concerned that some large corporations are practicing veterinary medicine by telling employed veterinarians how to practice.
Several veterinarians called in to the meeting to express their opinions that the corporations they worked for did indeed interfere with their ability to practice as they saw fit. Two students at UC Davis stated that they had concerns about their ability to practice freely once they graduate. Bonnie Lutz, an attorney who specializes in veterinary medicine, pointed out that any new statutes or regulations need to be easily understood. She also stated that she felt that the new statutes and regulations were unnecessary and could have unintended consequences. She pointed out that it is already illegal for anyone other than a licensed veterinarian to practice veterinary medicine.
The subcommittee that presented the proposals will continue to work on them, including changing the Premise Permit application to clearly state if there is corporate ownership and who is responsible.
Next on the agenda was a discussion about Guidelines for Discussion of the Use of Medical Cannabis in animals. Under current law, the VMB is required to post the Guidelines on their website by January, 2020. The Guidelines were approved and will be sent on to the VMB. SB627, which would allow veterinarians to recommend cannabis for their patients, was turned into a 2 year bill, so veterinarians are now limited to discussing, but not recommending cannabis use.
The VMB asked the MDC to discuss finding ways to help shelters recruit veterinarians who would be willing to be the Managing Licensee on the Premise Permit. Several ideas were suggested:
1. Reduce the liability for veterinarians who hold Premise Permits for shelters.
2. Clarify that shelter managers cannot practice medicine.
3. Use the “herd health” model for shelters.
Dr. Grant Miller from CVMA stated that he will be speaking with shelter directors on October 29 and agreed to report back to the VMB in January.
Starting in January 2020, the MDC meeting will be moved to Wednesdays. The next meeting will be held on January 29, 2020, location to be determined.
Veterinary Medical Board – The VMB met on October 9-11 in Sacramento. All members were present except for Public Member Alana Yanez.
Under Public Comment Not on the Agenda, a member of the public complained that the VMB has not been responsive to complaints about injuries to animals at rodeos. He sighted several instances of injured animals that had not been handled according to the rules. The VMB agreed to look into the matter.
The VMB announced that due to their seriously deficient fund condition, they were proposing an Emergency Regulation to increase all fees to the statutory maximum. This regulation would raise the application fee for RVTs from $150 to $350. It would also raise the RVT license fee from $160 to $350. Fees for veterinarians would be raised accordingly. Virtually everyone in the audience objected to the steep increase in RVT fees, pointing out that many RVT candidates will likely end up not applying and many RVTs will end up not renewing their licenses. VMB RVT member Jennifer Loredo, made an impassioned statement about the VMB solving their fiscal problem by raising fees without considering lowering costs. In spite of all the objections, the VMB voted to approve the fee increases as proposed. They suggested that they will move forward with a proposal to increase the Premise Permit fee – perhaps on a sliding scale based on the size of the practice. However, this change will require legislation and could not go into effect until January 2021. They also suggested that if they are able to raise sufficient funds from increasing the Premise Permit fees, they would also reduce the fees for RVTs.
Once the fee increase emergency regulation is published, stakeholders will have 45 days to comment. If sufficient negative comments were received, the VMB would hold a public hearing. They would have an opportunity at that point to amend their proposal if they wished.
The Board of Pharmacy is proposing guidelines for compounding drugs that would not allow all practitioners, including veterinarians to dispense compounded medications. The VMB will work with the Board of Pharmacy to see if they will exempt veterinarians, as compounded drugs play an important role. In veterinary medicine
The VMB approved proposed language for updated regulations related to Uniform Standards for Substance Abusing Licensees. The proposal will be published for a 45-day comment period.
Jennifer Loredo, RVT presented the RVT Report. She stated that the VMB needs to press the AAVSB to release the VTNE scores by school. California regulations require the schools to maintain a pass rate of no lower than 10% below the average, but without the scores by school, the VMB is unable to hold the schools to that standard. She also condemned the proposed RVT fee increases as unreasonable. She suggested that the VMB send out a survey to determine what RVTs are being paid and if employers are paying licensing fees for RVTs.
As part of the Executive Management Reports, VMB staff reported that they have several vacancies that are causing a backlog in application processing. They will be borrowing 2 employees from the Department of Consumer Affairs, at least through December, to help with the backlog. They are also working to update the BreEze computer system to make it clear if fingerprints are needed for renewal. The VMB noted that licensees can renew up to 90 days prior to their renewal date, and encouraged licensees to renew early. They also stated that for those needing to be fingerprinted, there is a fingerprinting form under the Applicants tab on their web site. Applicants are encouraged to put in both the DOJ and the FBI on the form as agencies to send the report to. The VMB is planning to identify all licensees who do not have fingerprints on file and will notify them.
They also reminded the audience that statute says that if the licensee has complied with all the rules for renewal, they can continue to practice even if their license has yet to be renewed by the VMB.
The VMB reelected Dr. Jaymie Noland as Board President and Dr. Cheryl Waterhouse as Vice-President then moved on to Strategic Planning. CaRVTA did not attend that meeting.
The next meeting of the VMB will be on January 3-31, location to be determined.
FINGERPRINTING OF VETERINARY LICENSEES
Some veterinarians and RVTs are receiving notifications from the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) that they need to be fingerprinted in order to renew their license. We received the following information from VMB regarding this requirement.
“The fingerprint requirement is not a new requirement. California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 2010.05 states, in part, the following:
As a condition of renewal of a license, a veterinarian who was initially licensed prior to January 1, 1960, a registered veterinary technician who was initially licensed prior to January 1, 2004, or any licensee for whom an electronic record of the submission of fingerprints no longer exists or was never created, shall furnish to the Department of Justice a full set of fingerprints for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check and to undergo a state and federal level criminal offender record information search conducted through the Department of Justice.
This regulation took effect in 2012 after a legislative change to BPC section 144 requiring fingerprint results from DOJ and FBI (only DOJ was required prior to that). At that time, all boards listed under BPC section 144 underwent rulemaking to bring current licensees into compliance during their renewal period. Unfortunately, the licensing system at the time was not designed to check for or hold renewals in the absence of fingerprint results. BreEZe, however, was recently designed to check for DOJ and FBI results. If results are missing, licensees are notified accordingly.
If a licensee/registrant was fingerprinted before, but the system is indicating the need for fingerprint results, it’s possible it was before the fingerprints were required to go to the FBI. It’s also possible that when a licensee/registrant submitted fingerprints, the box was not checked to send to the FBI. Regardless, if a licensee/registrant received notification from the Board indicating the need for fingerprint results, it’s because an electronic record of the submission of fingerprints no longer exists or was never created.”
VMB FEE INCREASE (3.8.18)