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.
The Emergency Fee Increase was approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on January 27, 2020 and went into effect on that date. Anyone whose application was sent in prior to January 27 and included the fee payment, will not be charged the new fees.
Nancy Ehrlich, RVT
Regulatory/Legislative Advocate, CaRVTA
February 1, 2020
The Emergency Fee Increase was approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on January 27, 2020 and went into effect on that date. Anyone whose application was sent in prior to January 27 and included the fee payment, will not be charged the new fees. Please see the full Reg/Leg Report for more details.
Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) – The MDC met on January 29, 2020 in Sacramento. The committee spent a considerable amount of time amending the language for proposed legislation covering corporate practice. The MDC approved the amended language and will send it to the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) for their consideration in April.
The MDC also discussed the complaint process and came to the conclusion that they need better standards for expert witnesses. They will be considering creating a check-list for qualifications for the expert witnesses.
The next meeting of the MDC will be on April 29. The location has not been set.
Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) - The VMB met on January 30-31 in Sacramento. The first item on the agenda was Public Comment. Dr. Pascoe from UC Davis complained that the long delay in license processing is causing serious problems for the veterinary school, as veterinarians working at the VMTH are now required to have a University License. As this was public comment, the VMB did not respond at that time, although the issue did come up again later.
The new Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Kelly Kirchmeyer, spoke to the VMB about the DCA’s commitment to client services and satisfaction. She stated that they are working to improve the time frame to process regulations; to decrease the time frame for investigations; ADA compliance for their web site; insuring that passed legislation is being implemented. She hoped that new efficiencies within the DCA would help shorten processing times.
Dr. Jeff Pollard gave the MDC report, which included the above information.
Next on the agenda was a discussion of the new Cannabis Guidelines for veterinarians to use when discussing the use of cannabis in animals. The VMB approved the Guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.vmb.ca.gov/forms_pubs/cannabis_discussion.pdf
The VMB reported that the regulation that would allow either a DVM or RVT with a DVM on-call to be present at rodeos is still pending. Currently, the regulations require either a DVM be present or be on-call within 1 hour. Rodeo veterinarians are required to file injury reports with the VMB, but the number of injury reports displayed at the meeting appeared to be very low. The VMB stated that they will review the reports received and see if they have understated the reports. Two veterinarians who volunteer at rodeos stated that the injury rates at their rodeos are low and that they do everything according to the law. Eric Mills from Action for Animals reported that he is sponsoring a bill that will require either a DVM or RVT with a DVM on-call at rodeos.
The VMB then moved on to discuss Pending Regulations. They reported that the Emergency Fee Increase had been approved on January 27 and went into effect on that date. Anyone who applied and sent in the fee prior to that date will not be charged the increased fees. The Emergency Fee Increase can be in place for only 180 days. They have until July 24, 2020 to implement the permanent fee increases and will be opening a 45 day comment period on making the increases permanent at some future date. Jessica Sieferman, the EO of the VMB, pointed out that there were over 550 comments received on the Emergency Fee Increase, but that the OAL was only interested in whether there was a true emergency. She said that comments on the effects of the fee increase would be more effective when submitted for the permanent increase. She also said that the VMB will be looking at lowering the RVT fees back to the previous fees through the Sunset process. They plan to determine how much money the RVT increase was generating and look at DVM and Premise Permit fees to make up the difference. If that happens, the RVT fees would revert back on January 1, 2021.
The current proposed regulation on Drug Compounding would allow an RVT to compound drugs under Indirect or Direct Supervision. Because the FDA requires Direct Supervision, the VMB voted to change the Drug Compounding regulation to bring it into compliance with the FDA. They also approved some amendments to regulations concerning the Client-Patient-Doctor Relationship, Rehabilitation Criteria and Civil Penalties.
Next was a discussion of Pending Legislation. Governor Newsom wants to eliminate the use of closed colonies of dogs for blood banking in favor of “community” blood banking, where the dogs are kept as pets and brought in to donate as needed. There was much discussion about whether there would be sufficient supply of safe blood if closed colonies are eliminated. The Governor is asking the stakeholders to get together to work something out and asked the VMB to participate. In order to insure that RVT interests were represented, Nancy Ehrlich, RVT from CaRVTA and Cindy Savely, RVT from the Sacramento VTA, will be participating in the Task Force.
The VMB nominated Dr. Mark Nunez for a position on the Board of the American Association of State Board (AAVSB). They also created a sub-committee to simplify their Strategic Plan.
The first item on the agenda on January 31 was the RVT Report by Jennifer Loredo, RVT, the RVT Member on the VMB. She reported that the VMB has finally been able to get the VTNE scores for the California Alternate Route programs from the AAVSB, but they still are waiting for the statistics for the AVMA approved schools and the overall nationwide pass rates. She also brought up the issue of requiring badges for all staff that have contact with the public that include their name & title, so that clients would know who they are dealing with, just as in human medicine. She mentioned that the Tennessee VMB is considering sending a letter to all veterinary premises reminding them that is a violation of the law to refer to veterinary assistants as technicians and that they could be cited for doing so. The VMB agreed to look into these matters.
Next came the Board President’s Report from Dr. Jaymie Noland. She said that some Alternate Route programs are objecting to the requirement in the proposed regulation that would require Alternate Route students to have completed a certain number of hours prior to enrolling. They felt that this would discourage highly qualified applicants. The VMB will review the proposed regulation.
Next up were the Executive Management Reports. The VMB reported that they published their Sunset Report on their web site in December and expect a hearing date in late February or early March. During Sunset Review, the legislature will be looking at whether the VMB is fulfilling its mission and whether any changes need to be made. CaRVTA and any other interested party will be able to testify at the hearing.
There was considerable discussion on the problems created by the extremely long processing times for applications, particularly for Alternate Route Candidates who rely on the VMB to tell the AAVSB that they are qualified to take the VTNE. Because of the delays in processing the applications, some candidates are waiting 6 months or more after qualifying before they can take the exam. Jessica Sieferman suggested that it would be beneficial if the candidates could take the VTNE prior to completing their education like veterinary students can. She will contact the AAVSB to see if this would be possible.
Ms. Sieferman reported that she is working hard to fix the problems of answering their phone, returning emails and improving processing times. She said that they are actively trying to hire more staff and that the DCA is helping where they can. Currently, there are only 2 people working with application with as many as 1800 outstanding. They are currently taking 18-20 weeks to process applications, which is not acceptable.
As part of the Enforcement Report, the VMB said that they will start separating out the type of licensee in the complaint statistics. Currently, all license types, DVM, RVT, VACSP, are lumped together, so it is impossible to tell how many are in each category. They also said that they are considering allowing Hospital Inspectors to issue citations in order to streamline the process.
The next meeting will be on April 23-24, location to be determined.
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
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)