AVMA makes changes to the VCPR model language

August 17, 2012

At its annual meeting, the AVMA House of Delegates approved the final piece of the 2012 revisions to the association’s Model Veterinary Practice Act, a document used by state legislators and regulatory bodies for guidance on appropriate oversight of veterinary medicine. A special task force reviewed extensive comments from veterinarians, the public, and AVMA entities before recommending the changes to the House of Delegates and Executive Board. In January, the House approved a number of changes, leaving work on the definition of “veterinarian-client-patient relationship” (VCPR) to the task force and a special working group assigned to carefully consider this matter. On Aug. 3, the House approved recommendations from the task force, with the definition of VCPR in the model act now slightly different from that embodied in federal regulation (21 CFR 530.3(i)) relating to extralabel drug use.

With the new definition of “patient” as “an animal or group of animals,” the requirement of VCPR in the model act now clearly applies to individual animals as well as a group or groups of animals within an operation or production system. A new subsection was added to state that patient records must be maintained to establish a VCPR. The commentary to the model act explains that states may wish to further specify that when establishing a VCPR in the case of large operations, “sufficient knowledge” of the patient can be supplemented by means of: 1) examination of health, laboratory, or production records; 2) consultation with owners, caretakers or supervisory staff regarding a health management program for the patient; or 3) information regarding the local epidemiology of diseases for the appropriate species.

AVMA would like to publicly thank the task force, which worked on this difficult project for two years. The group included New Jersey VMA executive director Rick Alampi as the ASVMAE representative, and former Wisconsin VMA executive director Leslie Grendahl as a non-veterinarian public member.