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.
Nancy Ehrlich, RVT
Regulatory/Legislative Advocate, CaRVTA
July 25, 2022
The Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) met on July 19 in Sacramento and on-line via Webex. The committee voted to move forward with recommending approval of Sec. 2036.1, which would allow RVT students in their final year to perform restricted RVT tasks under the Immediate Supervision of a veterinarian or an RVT, who is under the Direct Supervision of a veterinarian. They also voted to remove all of the Article 6 proposed amendments regarding RVT education except for the amendments to the Alternate Route that strike the language that expired the educational experience after 5 years and required that clinical experience be completed in less than 24 months.
The MDC then moved on to discuss drug compounding. The committee started with the proposition that since drug compounding was limited to RVTs by law and regulation, there has been an “access to care” issue, meaning there is an insufficient number of RVTs to perform this task. The MDC’s solution to this was to vote to allow VACSP (Veterinary Assistant Controlled Substance Permit) holders to compound drugs under the Direct Supervision of a DVM or RVT.
The MDC will work on further recommendations for RVT Education regulations for the next meeting.
The Complaint Audit Process Subcommittee reported that the new training they instituted for expert witnesses has appeared to have a positive effect on quality of their reports. They are continuing to review expert witness criteria and will have a report at the next meeting. They did report that 97% of cases do not result in disciplinary action.
The Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) met on July 20-21 in Sacramento and on-line via Webex. The first order of business was swearing in of new Public Member, Maria Solecito, who has previously served on the MDC.
A representative of the Department of Consumer Affairs encouraged the Board to continue holding hybrid meetings using Webex so that the public can easily access the meetings.
Dr. Richard Sullivan presented the MDC Report. He reported that the MDC recommended removing the 5 year and 24 months limits on education for the Alternate Route and allowing VACSP holders to perform simple compounding. He also reported that the MDC had decided to hold off on proposing guidelines for cannabis use as the law does not take effect until 2024. The MDC will also be reviewing Sec. 2030.3 on Vaccination Clinics, with the goal of exempting rabies vaccination from the need for a VCPR due to its public health purpose.
The VMB voted to approve Guidelines for Compounding. They also voted to allow VACSP holders to perform compounding, in spite of CaRVTA’s objections. They also included a requirement for documenting drugs administered in the patient record as well as any other compounding documentation that is required.
The VMB agreed to send the issue of Equine Practice to the MDC. At previous meetings, many equine practitioners have come forward to state that their practice style is different from small animal and needs to be differentiated in regulations. The MDC will form a 2 person sub-committee to review issues specific to equine practice.
The VMB hosted a free 2 hour on-line CE seminar on Veterinary Law on June 9 that was very well received. They plan to hold a second seminar in the first week of December.
The next item on the agenda was a report from the Access to Care Task Force (ACTF). CVMA has created their own Task Force on the subject. The students at the 2 veterinary schools in California are also working on solutions to the problem. Most agree that access is limited primarily by the inability to afford care (It was reported that 25% of pet owners cannot afford veterinary care.) The veterinary students reported that the veterinary schools are working to legitimize “incremental care” for those who can’t afford the “gold standard”. The ACTF will send the 2 top issues preventing access to care to the MDC prior to the next meeting.
The VMB voted to add the Dr. Linda Pitie to the Wellness Committee.
The VMB went on to review pending legislation. AB1885, the bill that would allow veterinarians to recommend the use of cannabis, will have a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 1. AB 2606, the bill that would outlaw cat declawing, passed the Assembly, but was pulled by the author in the Senate. The VMB has taken an oppose position on the bill and has authorized the Executive Committee to oppose any further bills that would outlaw declawing.
Jennifer Loredo, RVT, gave the RVT Report. She reminded everyone that she is serving her Grace Period and that her position on the VMB is available. RVTs who are interested should apply to the Governor’s office (https://www.gov.ca.gov/appointments/). She also noted that both the AAVSB and NAVTA have scholarships for RVT students. She also suggested that the VMB consider reinstitution of the BS in an Animal Related Science category for eligibility to take the RVT exam.
Kathy Bowler gave the National Associations Report. She informed the VMB that the AAVSB is considering amendments, including one which would allow them to review foreign RVT graduates as well as foreign DVM graduates: “Credentialing and overseeing the qualifying process by which foreign-trained veterinarians and veterinary technicians become eligible for licensure, including consultation with parties of interest.” The VMB voted to approve the proposed amendments.
The student reps from UC Davis and Western University Veterinary Schools gave their reports. The rep from Western U reported that they have established a camp for low-income students who want to become DVMs with the DVM students as counselors. She reported that the camp program was extremely popular.
During the Executive Management Report it was stated that both BreEZe and VACSP processing have been improved. Concern was raised about the relatively low pass rates for the VTNE (about 50%). A representative of the AAVSB will discuss the pass rates with the VMB at the next meeting.
The next meeting if the VMB will be on October 19-20 in Sacramento and via Webex.
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.