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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
How Veterinary Medicine is Regulated Nancy Ehrlich, RVT Regulatory/Legislative Advocate, CaRVTA
The rules governing the practice of veterinary medicine in California are compiled in the California Veterinary Medicine Practice Act, commonly known as The Practice Act (https://vmb.ca.gov/forms_pubs/gen_pubs.shtml). The book also contains laws and regulations related to veterinary medicine written by other agencies as well as the Radiation Safety Guide. The statutes, or laws written by the legislature, define the scope of practice and authorize the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) to write regulations. The Veterinary Medical Board ’s regulations clarify and make specific the laws written by the legislature. The Veterinary Medical Board, as part of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), has consumer protection as its primary function. Virtually all of its activity must be carried out in public. The VMB also has a Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC). The regulatory process affords the public multiple opportunities for input. Most regulations written by the VMB start at the MDC. The VMB assigns topics to the MDC for discussion, which must be open to the public. After the MDC has approved a proposed regulation, it is sent to the VMB for its review. This review is also open to the public. After publishing the proposal and taking public input, if the VMB adopts the proposal, it is then sent to a variety of agencies. If approved by all of the other agencies, the regulation goes into effect. RVTs must be mindful that as licensed professionals, we are subject to discipline by the VMB if we violate any of the sections of the Practice Act. We can be cited and fined, or in extreme cases, have our licenses revoked. It is critical that RVTs understand the Practice Act and their responsibilities as licensees. As residents of California, we are fortunate to live in a state that promotes citizen participation in the regulatory process. The various open meetings acts in this state require that all government business, with very few exceptions, must be conducted in the open, with the ability of the public to comment. RVTs are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the process by subscribing to the VMB ’s email list (https://www.vmb.ca.gov/webapps/subscribe.php). People on the list receive updates to laws and regulations affecting veterinary medicine as well as announcements about VMB/MDC meetings. Attendees at VMB meetings may speak up on issues before the Board and, therefore, have the opportunity to affect the outcome. Thanks to the pandemic, the VMB will now be meeting both in-person and on-line, which greatly facilitates participation. Democracy works only to the extent that citizens participate.