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  News from the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association                                                    Summer 2010

2010 Legislation and Regulatory Proposals Affecting Maryland Veterinarians

by Laura C. Downes, Executive Director, Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Senate Bill 81

In April 2010, Governor O’Malley signed into law Senate Bill 81. This bill provides the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SBVME) the authority to increase the civil penalty for a licensee from $5,000 to $10,000 for any violation of the SBVME’s laws or regulations. While $10,000 is the maximum that can be sanctioned in any one case—regardless of the number of violations committed—the maximum penalty can only be issued for a second or subsequent offense. For first-time violators, the SBVME retains the authority to issue a maximum civil penalty of $5,000.

Prior to the signing of SB 81, the SBVME’s penalty had remained the same for over 25 years. The maximum civil penalty of $10,000 may be utilized by the SBVME in those instances where the licensee has a long history of disciplinary actions that, when considered individually, are not particularly egregious, but given the number of violations over time, the civil penalties have increased with each case. The maximum penalty may be imposed as a final warning prior to revocation. It may also be used in serious cases, including, but not limited to, those involving animal abuse or neglect.

This law will go into effect on October 1, 2010.

Amendments and Adoptions to the Code of Maryland Regulations

In late May 2010, the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review approved a request by the SBVME for emergency approval of amendments to Chapters .01 and .11, and adoption of new Chapter .17 (Requirements for Practical Training of Veterinary Students). In mid-June 2010, the SBVME’s proposed changes were published in The Maryland Register, marking the beginning of a 30-day public comment period. Provided the SBVME makes no substantive changes to its proposal following the public comment period, the amendments and adoptions are expected to become officially promulgated by mid-to-late August. Following is the proposed amended language, which appears italicized and in bold typeface:

Chapter .01 Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for the
Practice of Veterinary Medicine in the State

Regulation .10 – Record Keeping.

D. A veterinarian shall label each radiograph and any other diagnostic image or picture with the hospital, clinic, or veterinarian’s name, patient's name, the owner's name, and the date the image or picture was taken. Diagnostics include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Ultrasound;
(2) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
(3) Computed tomography (CT) scans; and
(4) Any other device that is used to generate an image of a patient.


Chapter .11 Civil Penalty Standards for Veterinarians

Regulation .03 Violations.

The Board may impose a penalty on a veterinarian who does any of the following:

J. Employs or permits a veterinarian who does not possess a current veterinary registration to practice veterinary medicine;

Following is proposed new language for adoption, which appears italicized and in bold typeface:

Chapter .17 Requirements for Practical Training of Veterinary Students

.01 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the terms and conditions under which a veterinarian may supervise the practical training of a veterinary medical student.

.02 Application.

This chapter applies to all veterinary practitioners in the State who supervise veterinary medical students who practice veterinary medicine.

.03 Definitions.

A. In this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

B. Terms Defined.

(1) “AVMA” means the American Veterinary Medical Association.
(2) “Board” means the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
(3) “Responsible direct supervision” means competent, immediate, and active supervision by a veterinary practitioner. The veterinary practitioner shall be:
(a) In the immediate vicinity of where the work is being performed; and
(b) Actively engaged in supervising this work throughout the entire period it is being performed, including:
(i) Providing clear and specific directions on what work is to be done,
(ii) Being cognizant of how the assigned work is being performed, and
(iii) Being immediately available to provide advice when the assigned work is being performed.

(4) “Shelter owner” means a person who rents, leases, or otherwise has control of the premises where the facility is located.

(5) “Veterinary practitioner” means a licensed and registered veterinarian engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine.

(6) “Veterinary preceptee” means a student of veterinary medicine practicing veterinary medicine who has successfully completed 3 years of veterinary education at an institution approved by the Board and who works under the responsible direct supervision of a veterinary practitioner.

.04 Requirements of Veterinary Practitioners.

A veterinary practitioner who offers practical training to a veterinary medical school student shall:

A. Ensure that the veterinary medical school student meets the definition of a veterinary preceptee, or extern, before permitting the student to practice veterinary medicine under the responsible direct supervision of the veterinary practitioner.

B. Provide responsible direct supervision to the veterinary preceptee at all times the veterinary preceptee is working with a patient.

C. Upon request by the Board, or the Board’s representative, provide written documentation evidencing the validity of the practical training instruction being given by the veterinary practitioner to the veterinary preceptee. This documentation shall indicate, at a minimum, that the veterinary medical school student has been approved, by the veterinary medical college at which the student is enrolled, to participate in practical training. This documentation shall be maintained at the hospital where the veterinary practitioner is employed.

.05 Written Approval from Client.

Before allowing a veterinary preceptee to perform surgery on a patient unassisted by the veterinary practitioner, the veterinary practitioner shall obtain written approval from the client. This written approval shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

A. Client’s name;

B. Pet’s name;

C. A statement which indicates the following:

(1) The number of years successfully completed by the veterinary preceptee at an AVMA-accredited school of veterinary medicine;
(2) The veterinary practitioner providing responsible direct supervision to the veterinary preceptee is educationally, medically, and legally responsible for any medical, surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic decisions made by the veterinary preceptee;
(3) Any unassisted surgical procedures will be carried out only when the veterinary practitioner is providing direct supervision;

D. A statement that any and all questions about the work to be performed by the veterinary preceptee on the client’s pet have been answered to the client’s satisfaction;

E. A statement or list of procedures to be performed that the client can either accept
or reject;

F. The client’s, or authorized agent’s, printed name and signature;

G. The veterinary practitioner’s printed name and signature; and

H. The date the written form is completed.

.06 Written Approval from Humane Society or Animal Shelter.

Provided an animal upon which surgery is to be performed is owned by a humane society or animal shelter, and the surgery is to be performed in the humane society or animal shelter, the veterinary practitioner shall obtain written approval from the shelter owner of the humane society or animal shelter before allowing the veterinary preceptee to perform any surgeries upon animals unassisted by the veterinary practitioner. This written approval may cover the entire period during which the veterinary preceptee is working under the responsible direct supervision of a veterinary practitioner. This written approval shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

A. Name of humane society or animal shelter;

B. A statement which indicates the following:

(1) The number of years successfully completed by the veterinary preceptee at an AVMA-accredited school of veterinary medicine;
(2) The veterinary practitioner providing responsible direct supervision to the veterinary preceptee is educationally, medically, and legally responsible for any medical, surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic decisions made by the veterinary preceptee;
(3) Any unassisted surgical procedures will be carried out only when the veterinary practitioner is providing direct supervision;

C. A statement that any and all questions about the work to be performed by the veterinary preceptee on the animals have been answered to the satisfaction of the shelter owner;

D. A statement or list of anticipated procedures to be performed that the shelter owner can either accept or reject;

E. The owner’s, or authorized agent’s, printed name and signature;

F. The veterinary practitioner’s printed name and signature; and

G. The date the written form is completed.

.07 Penalties.

After giving a veterinary practitioner notice and an opportunity to be heard, the Board may impose a civil penalty instead of, or in addition to, suspending or revoking the veterinarian’s license if the veterinarian fails to comply with the Board’s requirements set forth in this chapter.

To assist veterinarians comply with the SBVME’s Reg. .05 (Written Approval from Client), veterinarians working in a veterinary hospital may use this consent form for senior veterinary students performing unassisted surgery on client-owned animals.

To assist veterinarians comply with the SBVME’s Reg. .06 (Written Approval from Humane Society or Animal Shelter), veterinarians working in a humane society or shelter may use this consent form for senior veterinary students performing unassisted surgery on client-owned animals.

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Important Links from this article

Sample Consent form for Regulation.05

Sample Consent form for Regulation.06

 

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Annapolis, MD 21403 • (410) 931-3332 • fax (410) 931-2060 • MVMA@KeyAssnMgt.comwww.mdvma.org