The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA) is intended to serve as a model set of guiding principles for those who are now or will be in the future preparing or revising a practice act under the codes and laws of an individual state. Commentary following each section of the MVPA also serves a similar purpose.
The first AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act was developed by the Judicial Council of the AVMA, in cooperation with Professor N. William Hines of the University of Iowa College of Law, in the early 1960s. The AVMA House of Delegates approved this first MVPA in 1964, and since then, the MVPA has been revised several times to reflect professional, technological, and societal changes. A major revision occurred in 2003. In 2010, recognizing the need for another complete review of the MVPA, the AVMA Executive Board established the Task Force on AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act, which consisted of representatives from the AVMA Executive Board, AVMA House of Delegates, AVMA Council on Veterinary Service (the oversight entity for the MVPA), AVMA Judicial Council (the entity responsible for drafting the original MVPA), AVMA State Advocacy Committee, AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, American Veterinary Medical Law Association, and American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives. The task force also included a member of a state veterinary licensing board, a small animal practitioner, a large animal practitioner, and a non-veterinarian public member.
The latest revision process began in January 2011 with a 30-day public comment period. Approximately 1,000 comments were submitted by AVMA members and non-members concerning various provisions of the MVPA. The task force reviewed these comments and issued a first draft of revisions in June 2011, which was followed by additional input from AVMA councils, committees and other entities. After further consideration, the task force submitted a final draft to the AVMA Executive Board in November 2011. The AVMA House of Delegates approved the revisions to the MVPA in January 2012.
Because the MVPA is intended to evolve as technology, the veterinary profession, and societal needs change, comments are welcome and should be directed to the Council on Veterinary Service at the AVMA, 1931 N Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4360.
In subsection 10, "extralabel use" is defined as written in federal regulation 21CFR530.3(a), which implements the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA).Subsection 11 was revised in 2012 to address impaired veterinary technicians in addition to impaired veterinarians. In subsection 12, "owner consent" is defined to better protect the public by ensuring that veterinarians provide sufficient information in a manner so that clients may reach informed decisions regarding the care of their animals. Consent should be documented in the medical record, and the signature of the client should be obtained whenever possible. A more specific description of owner consent is found in the AVMA policy titled "Owner Consent in Veterinary Medicine."In subsection 16, the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine is provided. In 2012, subsection 16(a)(i) was added to emphasize that both medical treatment and surgical procedures constitute the practice of veterinary medicine. Subsection 16(a)(iv) also was expanded to clarify that procedures for reproductive management of all types of conditions constitutes the practice of veterinary medicine. Subsection 16(a)(v) also was added to indicate that examination to verify the health of an animal, such as for prepurchase examinations or issuing of health certificates, constitutes the practice of veterinary medicine. Rather than addressing the ever-changing telephonic/electronic industry by adding a specific definition of telemedicine or telepractice, the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine in subsection 16 reflects the continued increase in the use of telemedicine in veterinary practice. The definition indicates that the practice of veterinary medicine means "to diagnose, prognose, treat, correct, change, alleviate, or prevent animal disease...by any method or mode." In addition, this definition stresses that the practice of veterinary medicine includes the use of telephonic and other electronic communications for the rendering of advice or recommendation for the diagnosis, treatment, correction, alteration, relief, or prevention of animal disease. The intention of this section is not to prevent non-veterinarians from discussing animal care; it is intended to regulate the practice of telemedicine. Several exemptions are included within Section 6 to clarify this intent.Subsection 18 includes definitions of direct and indirect supervision. Revisions approved in 2012 clarify that in both cases, the licensed veterinarian assumes responsibility for the veterinary care provided to the patient by another person working under his or her direction.The definition of “veterinarian-client-patient relationship” (VCPR) in subsection 20 was changed in 2012, and is now different from that embodied in federal regulation 21 CFR 530.3(i) relating to extralabel drug use. In 2012, subsection 14 was revised to define “patient” as “an animal or group of animals.” Therefore, the definition of VCPR can be applied to individual animals as well as a group or groups of animals within an operation (production system). The AVMA recognizes that individual states may wish to more clearly define specific terms within the definition of VCPR. For example, a state regulatory board may wish to include a specific time period (eg, no less frequent than 6 or 12 months) to better delineate the term “timely” relating to examinations and visits. The term “timely” should be considered in light of the nature and circumstances of the patient (eg, species, condition or disease, or operation). In 2012, subsections 20-b and 20-c were revised for purposes of clarification. Subsection 20-e was added to state that patient records must be maintained to establish a VCPR. States may also wish to further specify that when establishing a VCPR in the case of large operations, “sufficient knowledge” can be supplemented by means of:1. examination of health, laboratory, or production records; or 2. consultation with owners, caretakers or supervisory staff regarding a health management program for the patient; or3. information regarding the local epidemiology of diseases for the appropriate species.
The definition of "veterinary specialist" (subsection 24) was added to the MVPA in 2003 to clearly define for the public and the profession what is meant by "veterinary specialist." The Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA also states that "It is unethical for veterinarians to identify themselves as members of an AVMA-recognized specialty organization if such certification has not been awarded." In Policies and Procedures of the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties, it is also stated that: "Veterinarians should not in any way imply they are specialists unless they are certified by an AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organization," and "The use of the terms 'board eligible' or 'board qualified' as an indication of special qualification is potentially misleading to the public and should not be used in any public communication or other solicitation." This definition was revised in 2012 to clarify that the veterinarian was actually awarded certification, not that he or she has merely completed the requirements to become a diplomate. The AVMA believes that it is important to include language in the practice act that clearly defines the term "specialist". The AVMA also recommends that rules and regulations promulgated under the practice act include language that will ensure the ethical and legal use of these terms by licensees, in order to protect the public's interests and to avoid confusion regarding the qualifications of board-certified veterinary specialists. The definitions of "veterinary technician" and "veterinary technologist" (subsections 25 and 26) are included to emphasize the belief that the educational pathway of choice for a veterinary technician or technologist throughout the United States should be graduation from an AVMA-accredited or CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association)-accredited program, as defined in this MVPA. With the increasing number of accredited veterinary technology programs in the United States, both in traditional settings and as distance-learning modalities, it can no longer be stated that an individual wishing to become a veterinary technician or technologist does not have access to an accredited educational program. In the future, states may wish to consider defining veterinary technician specialists. For a definition, we suggest that the term "veterinary technician specialist" refers to a veterinary technician or technologist who has been awarded certification from a NAVTA-recognized veterinary specialty organization.
A temporary permit may be summarily revoked or limited by the Board without a hearing.