BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 1584
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 17, 2008

                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS
                                   Mike Eng, Chair
                    SB 1584 (Padilla) - As Amended:  June 11, 2008

           SENATE VOTE  :    21-15
           
          SUBJECT  :   Veterinary medicine.

           SUMMARY  :   Increases various fees for veterinarians and  
          registered veterinary technicians (RVTs), establishes a  
          committee to assist the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) with  
          rules and regulations, specifies the membership of the RVT  
          committee, sets investigatory and enforcement priorities, and  
          makes other changes to the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act  
          (Act), as specified.  Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Requires the VMB to appoint a voluntary, advisory,  
            multidisciplinary committee to assist, advise, and make  
            recommendations for the implementation of rules and  
            regulations necessary to ensure proper administration of the  
            Act.  The committee shall consist of no more than nine  
            members, appointed by the VMB.  

          2)Specifies the membership terms and the composition of the RVT  
            committee as follows:

             a)   Three members shall be RVTs;

             b)   One member shall be either a licensed veterinarian or a  
               RVT; and,

             c)   One member shall be a member of the public.

          3)Amends the RVT exam eligibility requirements to permit that  
            education or a combination of education and clinical  
            experience may constitute the equivalent of the current  
            graduation requirement, as specified.

          4)Increases the regulatory ceiling on the following fees: 

             a)   RVT examination application, from $200 to $350; 

             b)   Initial RVT registration, from $100 to $350; 








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             c)   Initial RVT registration for a license issued within a  
               year of expiration, from $50 to $175;

             d)   Biennial RVT renewal, from $100 to $350; 

             e)   RVT and veterinary delinquency license, from $25 to $50;

             f)   Filing an application for approval of a school or  
               institution offering a curriculum for training RVTs, from  
               the actual cost of the approval to $300;

             g)   The diversion program registration fee for veterinarians  
               and RVTs from $1600 to $4000; 

             h)   Filing an application for the veterinary examination  
               from $100 to $350;

             i)   State board veterinary examination, from $100 to $350; 

             j)   Act examination, from $50 to $100;

             aa)  Initial veterinary license fee, from $250 to $500;

             bb)  Initial veterinary license issued within a year of  
               expiration, from $125 to $250;

             cc)  Biennial veterinary license renewal, from $250 to $500; 

             dd)  Temporary license, from $125 to $250; 

             ee)  Duplicate veterinary license, from $10 to $25; 

             ff)  Failure of a veterinarian to report a change of address  
               from $15 to $25; and,

             gg)  Initial and annual renewal for registration of a  
               veterinary premises, from $100 to $400. 

          5)Requires a school or institution to pay for the actual costs  
            of an onsite inspection conducted by the VMB, as specified.  

          6)Sets the fee for failure of an RVT to report a change of  
            mailing address at $25. 









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          7)Requires every person registered by the VMB who changes his or  
            her mailing address to notify the VMB of the new mailing  
            address within 30 days of the change.  States that the VMB  
            shall not renew the registration of any person who fails to  
            comply with this section unless the person pays a penalty fee.

          8)Requires the VMB to prioritize its investigative and  
            prosecutorial resources to ensure that the most problematic  
            veterinarians and RVTs are identified and disciplined  
            expeditiously.  The following shall be handled in descending  
            priority:

             a)   Negligence or incompetence that involves death or  
               serious bodily injury to an animal patient, such that the  
               veterinarian or RVT represents a danger to the public;

             b)   Cruelty to animals;

             c)   Conviction for a criminal charge or being subject to a  
               felony criminal proceeding, regardless of the outcome;

             d)   Drug or alcohol abuse involving death or serious bodily  
               injury to an animal patient;

             e)   Repeated acts of excessive prescribing, furnishing, or  
               administering of controlled substances, or repeated acts of  
               prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing of controlled  
               substances; and,

             f)   Practicing veterinary medicine while under the influence  
               of drugs or alcohol.

          9)Requires the VMB to report annually and make publicly  
            available the number of disciplinary actions it takes, as  
            specified.

          10)Specifies that veterinarians designated by the VMB to review  
            and investigate allegations must be employed by the state  
            either full time or part time and have not been out of  
            practice for more than four years.  

          11)Requires the VMB to provide a notice of deficiencies and a  
            reasonable time for compliance prior to further action for any  
            violations found as a result of an inspection. 









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          12)Requires the VMB to consider, in making regulations covering  
            the assessment of civil penalties, whether a violation is  
            minor. 

          13)States that any charges for copying or other services shall  
            be set at the cost of rendering the service, as specified. 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides for the licensing and regulation of veterinarians,   
            RVTs, and veterinarian hospitals by the VMB in the Department  
            of Consumer Affairs;  the VMB consists of seven members, three  
            of whom are public members, and that members of the VMB shall  
            hold office for a term of four years.

          2)Provides that the VMB shall become inoperative on July 1,  
            2011, and as of January 1, 2012, is repealed.

          3)Provides that the VMB has authority to adopt, amend or repeal  
            such rules and regulations as are reasonably necessary to  
            carry into effect the provisions of the Act.

          4)Provides that the VMB may at any time inspect the premises in  
            which veterinary medicine, veterinary dentistry, or veterinary  
            surgery is being practiced and that the VMB shall establish a  
            regular inspection program which shall provide for random,  
            unannounced inspections.

          5)Requires the VMB to establish an advisory committee on issues  
            pertaining to the practice of RVTs and vests the RVT committee  
            with various powers and duties and requires the VMB to give  
            specified consideration to the recommendations of the RVT  
            committee.

          6)Requires that an applicant for registration as an RVT furnish  
            satisfactory evidence of graduation from a 2-year curriculum  
            in veterinary technology from a college or postsecondary  
            institution approved by the VMB, or the equivalent thereof as  
            determined by the VMB.

          7)Authorizes the VMB to deny, revoke, or suspend a license for  
            various acts, including, but not limited to unprofessional  
            conduct, as specified.

          8)Requires the VMB to establish diversion program (Program)  








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            criteria and provides that the Program cannot accept more than  
            100 participants.  Additionally, authorizes the VMB to  
            establish diversion evaluation committees (DEC) and provides  
            for the DEC composition and duties.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of this bill .  According to the author, "This measure is  
          intended to ensure that the VMB is able to fund board operations  
          and continue performing critical licensing and enforcement  
          functions that protect consumers and animals throughout the  
          state."

           Background  .  The VMB licenses and regulates approximately 17,000  
          licensees including approximately 9,800 veterinarians, 4,200  
          RVTs and 2,600 veterinary hospitals.  The VMB has remained  
          within its statutory limits and has not sought legislation to  
          increase the fee ceilings since 1992.  According to the VMB, it  
          increased its fees through the regulatory process on October 1,  
          2007 to the current statutory maximums to cover increasing costs  
          of existing business operations.  The current statutory fee  
          ceilings are not sufficient to offset a dwindling Contingent  
          Fund.

          This bill is the result of efforts between the California  
          Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the VMB to resolve the  
          differences between an earlier version of this bill and SB 1205  
          of 2007 (Aanestad), which was held in the Senate Business,  
          Professions, and Economic Development Committee.    

           Support  :  According to the CVMA, "When SB 1584 was introduced  
          earlier this year, the measures contained the authority for the  
          VMB to increase the statutory cap on more than 15 fees affecting  
          the veterinary profession.  However, over the last several  
          years, the veterinary profession has been concerned that the VMB  
          has not been maximizing their resources as effectively and  
          efficiently as possible, particularly in the area of  
          enforcement.  In addition, as the VMB's inspection and  
          enforcement program has been inconsistent, CVMA felt it was  
          necessary to advocate for implementation of some modest reforms,  
          including the establishment of a multidisciplinary advisory  
          committee to assist the VMB, similar to that used by the  
          Certified Public Accountants.  Senator Padilla, Senator  








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          Ridley-Thomas and their staffs have been instrumental in  
          conducting a series of negotiations on the bill, resulting in  
          the profession supporting an increase in statutory fee cap  
          authority, if reforms to the VMB enforcement policies were  
          implemented.  The resulting amendments, incorporated into the  
          most current version of the bill, are an effective solution  
          intended to ensure that the VMB is able to stay fiscally sound,  
          while revising the enforcement priorities and structure of the  
          VMB." 

          Committee amendments  :  The committee may wish to consider the  
          following amendment which would delete language in the bill that  
          inadvertently subjects every veterinarian and RVT to potential  
          discipline for prescribing and dispensing drugs on an ongoing  
          basis:

          On page 9, line 36, delete ", or repeated acts of "  

          On page 9, delete line 37. 

          The committee may also wish to consider the following amendment,  
          which would clarify the terms for RVT committee members:

          On page 5, line 4, delete "consecutive"
          
           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          California Veterinary Medical Association
          Veterinary Medical Board 
           
            Opposition 
           
          None on file.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Sarah Huchel / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301