Posted on July 3, 2012
The AVMA model for state veterinary practice acts could soon encourage states to define a veterinarian-client-patient relationship as one involving one animal or a group of them.
In August, the AVMA House of Delegates will consider a resolution that would change the relationship’s definition within the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act. The proposed changes to the veterinarian-client-patient relationship definition would replace all instances of the word “animal” with the word “patient,” a term that, at its regular winter session in January 2012, the House of Delegates approved defining in the model act to include multiple animals.
The AVMA Task Force on Model Veterinary Practice Act Review developed and revised the proposed new definition for the VCPR on the basis of discussion within the group and input from AVMA entities and members, who were able to provide comments from Jan. 12-March 1, according to information the task force provided to the AVMA Executive Board. The board members recommended in April that the House of Delegates approve the proposed definition.
The new VCPR definition also would state that, if a veterinarian weren’t available for follow-up evaluation, the veterinarian-client-patient relationship requires arranging for continuing care and treatment. The existing VCPR definition already requires arranging for emergency coverage.
Another part of the proposal would suggest some options for states that want to add conditions for establishing a VCPR with large numbers of animals. Such conditions include examining records, consulting those who own or work with the animals, and studying information about local disease epidemiology.
The task force also developed other model act changes that were approved by the delegates and enacted in January. Some of those changes provided that state boards of veterinary medicine should be able to discipline veterinary technicians, suggested provisions for veterinarians and technicians to provide disaster care outside the states where they are credentialed, added prognosis of animal disease under the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine, and defined complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies as those differing from conventional medicine, rather than as those that may differ from current scientific knowledge, veterinary medical college instruction, or both.
During the January session, delegates had debated whether to approve some changes to the model act before the task force finished developing a proposal for a new definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. About 80 percent of delegates voted to enact the then-available changes.