BILL ANALYSIS ----------------------------------------------------------------------- |Hearing Date:June 21, 2010 |Bill No:AB | | |1980 | ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, Chair Bill No: AB 1980Author:Hayashi As Amended:June 7, 2010 Fiscal: Yes SUBJECT: Healing arts: Veterinary medicine. SUMMARY: Changes the composition of the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB); makes permanent the "multidisciplinary committee" of the VMB and provides for additional duties of the committee; eliminates the Registered Veterinary Technician Committee; specifies that the practice of veterinary medicine also includes physical rehabilitation or musculoskeletal manipulation upon an animal, unless otherwise authorized by regulation of the VMB; prohibits the use of the title "registered veterinary technician" unless registered with the VMB; requires training for an "unregistered assistant" in the use of radiation safety and techniques before they may operate radiographic equipment; clarifies the reporting requirement for veterinarians who must report any animal injuries which occurred at a rodeo event; allows students in their final year of study in a veterinary technology program to perform tasks of a registered veterinary technician; exempts from liability veterinarians or registered veterinarians who provide services during any state of war emergency, a state of emergency, or local emergency. NOTE : This measure is a new bill and was amended in this Committee. The former language of this measure also dealt with the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act. Existing law, the Business and Professions Code: 1) Provides for the examination, licensing, and regulation of approximately 9,800 veterinarians and 4,300 registered veterinary technicians by the VMB in the Department of Consumer Affairs. AB 1980 Page 2 2) Establishes the VMB which consists of seven members, three of whom are public members and four of whom are licensed veterinarians, and requires the Governor to appoint the four licensed veterinarians and the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the Assembly to each appoint a public member, and specifies the requirements for the veterinarian and public members of the VMB. 3) Provides that the VMB shall become inoperative on July 1, 2011, and, as of January 1, 2012, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, which becomes effective on or before January 1, 2012, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes operative and is repealed. Subjects the VMB to the process of sunset review prior to its repeal. 4) Requires the VMB to appoint a voluntary, advisory multidisciplinary committee of no more than nine members to assist, advise, and make recommendations for the implementation of rules and regulations necessary to ensure proper administration and enforcement of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act (VMP Act), and provides that that the multidisciplinary committee shall become inoperative on July 1, 2011, and repealed as of January 1, 2012. 5) Requires the VMB to establish an advisory committee on issues pertaining to the practice of veterinary technicians, to be known as the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) Committee, and provides that the duties of the RVT Committee include, among other things, advising and assisting the VMB in the examination of applicants for veterinary technician registration, the inspection and approval of schools, and developing regulations to establish animal health care tasks and the appropriate degree of supervision. 6) Requires that the VMB shall, by means of examination, ascertain the professional qualifications of all applicants for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in this state and shall issue a license to every person whom it finds to be qualified. 7) Prohibits the practice of veterinary medicine without a license and specifies that a person practices veterinary medicine when he or she, among other things, represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine or administers a treatment of whatever nature for the cure or relief of a bodily injury or disease of an animal. AB 1980 Page 3 8) Requires the examination for veterinarians to consist of a licensing examination that is administered on a national basis, a state board examination, and an examination concerning the statutes and regulations of the VMP Act administered by the VMB. 9) Provides that any person performing any of the tasks as designated by the VMB and any person representing himself or herself as a RVT in this state, shall hold a valid unexpired certificate of registration as provided by the VMB. 10)Specifies that a registered veterinary technician means a person who is registered by the VMB if they have passed a written and practical examination, as specified, and have met the following requirements: a) Be at least 18 years of age. b) Furnish satisfactory evidence of graduation from a postsecondary institution approved by the VMB, and if a private postsecondary institution, also approved by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. c) Completed the equivalent of education and clinical experience as determined by the VMB. 11)Authorizes an RVT who has been examined by the VMB in the area of radiation safety and techniques to operate radiographic equipment under the indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian, and allows an "unregistered assistant" to operate radiographic equipment under the direct supervision of a RVT or licensed veterinarian. Existing law, the Penal Code: Requires the attending or on-call veterinarian at a rodeo event to submit a brief written listing of any animal injury requiring veterinary treatment to the VMB within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event. Existing law, the Government Code: Exempts certain healing arts practitioners from liability for specified medical services rendered during a state of war, state of emergency, or local emergency. This bill: 1) Adds one RVT to the board, to be appointed by the Governor, and specifies that the RVT shall be a bona fide resident of this state AB 1980 Page 4 for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his or her appointment and shall have been registered with the VMB and actually engaged in the practice of RVT during that period. 2) Extends the inoperative date and repeal date of the VMB to January 1, 2014. 3) Provides that the current multidisciplinary committee of the VMB shall be re-named the "Veterinary Medicine Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee" (VMMA Committee) and that in addition to its current responsibilities it shall also assist the board in its examination, licensure, and registration programs. 4) Prescribes the VMMA Committee composition and provides that it shall consist of 7 members, 4 licensed veterinarians, 2 registered veterinary technicians, and 1 public member, and requires members to serve for 3-year terms, as specified. Also authorizes the VMB to remove a member of the VMMA Committee for continued neglect of duty, incompetence, or unprofessional conduct. 5) Provides that the VMMA Committee shall represent a sufficient cross section of the interests in veterinary medicine in order to address the issues before it, as determined by the VMB, including veterinarians, RVTs, and members of the public. 6) Removes the inoperative date and repeal date of the VMMA Committee, thereby making the committee operative indefinitely. 7) Makes the RVT Committee inoperative as of July 1 following the initial appointment of a RVT to the VMB. 8) Provides that a person also practices veterinary medicine when he or she performs physical rehabilitation or musculoskeletal manipulation upon an animal, unless otherwise authorized by regulation or the VMB. 9) Adds the reporting requirement under the Penal Code to the VMP Act and would specify that this requirement applies regardless of whether the attending or on-call veterinarian renders the treatment to the animal, also requires that a veterinarian who subsequently renders treatment to an animal known to be injured at a rodeo event to report to the VMB within 7 days, and requires the report to consist of specified information and for the VMB to post a form on its website for purposes of this requirement. 10)Prohibits a person from using the title "registered veterinary AB 1980 Page 5 technician" or "veterinary technician," or any other words, letters, or symbols, including, but not limited to, the abbreviation "R.V.T.," with the intent to represent that the person is authorized to act as a registered veterinary technician, unless he or she has met the specified requirements. 11)Requires an "unregistered assistant" to be trained in the area of radiation safety and techniques in order to operate radiographic equipment under the direct supervision of a RVT or licensed veterinarian and would require the responsible managing licensee of the veterinary premises to maintain records of that training. If records do not exist of this training then the "unregistered assistant" shall not operate radiographic equipment. The training records shall be made available to the VMB upon request and at the time of any inspection of the veterinary premises. 12)Provides that the requirements for examination and registration as a RVT shall not apply to students in the clinical portion of their final year of study in a board-approved California veterinary technology program who perform the job tasks for RVTs as part of their educational experience, including students both on and off campus acting under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian "in good standing," as defined. The VMB shall adopt regulations defining the parameters of supervision for these students. 13)Makes other conforming technical and clarifying changes to the VMP Act. 14)(Government Code) Similar to other health care practitioners, exempts veterinarians and RVTs for services rendered to animals during a state of war, state of emergency, or local emergency if provided at the express or implied request of any responsible state or local official or agency. FISCAL EFFECT: Unknown. This measure has been keyed "fiscal" by Legislative Counsel. COMMENTS: 1. Purpose. The California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) and the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) are Co-Sponsors of this measure. According to the Sponsors, this measure is the result of more than six months of collaboration between the VMB, the CVMA and the California Registered Veterinary Technician Association (CaRVTA). All three organizations identified segments AB 1980 Page 6 within the VMP Act that needed clarification or revision. The Sponsors indicate that the measure, among other things, provides a temporary, limited sunset date for the VMB, and increases the membership on the board by one position to allow a RVT to have a voice on the board. The bill also makes several important changes to a very effective Multidiscipline Advisory Committee that was established in 2008, including adding an additional RVT to that committee, reducing the membership of the committee by two members, making the committee permanent, and collapsing another advisory committee for cost savings and efficiency. The Sponsors further state that the bill makes revisions to the current requirements for veterinarians to report injuries at rodeos. Specifically, injuries occurring at a rodeo, but subsequently treated by a veterinarian off of the premises of a rodeo, must also be reported to the VMB. The bill, as noted by the Sponsors, requires an employer to document the training of employees on radiographic equipment and to make the paperwork available to the VMB on request. The bill also strengthens the Practice Act in the area of unlicensed activity surrounding animal physical therapy and musculoskeletal manipulation. Finally, the language is paralleled after the immunity provisions currently provided in the Government Code for physicians, dentists, etc., who assist under these same types of emergency scenarios. The Sponsors believe that this measure is a well conceived consensus product that will improve collaboration and enhance efficiency within the VMB structure, as well as some much needed clarifications to the existing Practice Act. 2. Related Legislation. AB 107 (Galgiani, Chapter 80, Statutes of 2009) clarified the appointment of members to the VMB by the Governor; required the VMB to offer both a written and practical examination at least twice a year until January 1, 2011, and after that date, to offer a national examination and a state specific examination on animal health care tasks; made other changes related to reciprocity and temporary licensing requirements for out-of-state veterinarians; clarified the enforcement actions that may be taken against a registered veterinarian technician; and, made other technical and conforming changes to the VMP Act. SB 1584 (Padilla, Chapter 529, Statutes of 2008) increased the fees charged for licensing of veterinarians and registration of RVTs; required the VMB to appoint a voluntary, advisory, multidisciplinary committee to assist, advise, and make AB 1980 Page 7 recommendations for the implementation of rules and regulations necessary to ensure proper administration of the VMP Act; specified changes in the membership terms and the composition of the RVT Committee; amended the RVT exam eligibility requirements; required the VMB to prioritize its investigative and prosecutorial resources and establish a priority list for investigative and prosecutorial resources; required the VMB to report annually and make publicly available the number of disciplinary actions it takes, as specified; made changes to the inspection and enforcement programs of the VMB. 3. Arguments in Support. The CaRVTA is pleased to support this measure and believes it accomplishes many of the long-standing goals, the most important being adding a RVT to the VMB. The CaRVTA is also pleased that veterinary technician students will be able to perform duties reserved for RVTs as part of their course of study once appropriate regulations are written. Another important provision, as indicated by CaRVTA is the requirement for documentation of radiation safety training for unregistered assistants. The CaRVTA considers this particular provision particularly important, since many veterinarians have been unaware of the requirement of such training, which involves the safety of both the assistants and the patients. Action for Animals (AfA) is in strong support of this measure to amend and improve the VMP Act, and in particular provisions which deal with the rodeo reporting requirement for veterinarians. AfA points out that California boasts one of the best and most progressive rodeo animal welfare laws in the country but astoundingly in the ten years of the law's existence, a total of only eight such reports have been submitted to the VMB. In light of the 60 professional rodeos held annually in California, plus probably double that number of amateur events, and untold number of "charreadas" (the Mexican-style rodeos), there should be a minimum of 50-60 such reports submitted annually, as argued by AfA. In some instances AfA questioned veterinarians about reporting animal injuries they observed and they were unaware the law existed, or their obligations to report the animal injuries. The AfA believes that these proposed changes to the Veterinary Practice Act to include these reporting requirements should improve things considerably. "It is a real good step in the right direction and will undoubtedly help ameliorate the plight of rodeo animals, and help educate rodeo veterinarians." 4. Suggested Technical Amendment. On page 9, lines 27 and 28, strike the following: AB 1980 Page 8 "
regardless of whether the veterinarian provides treatment to the animal." This is redundant and confusing language. The attending veterinarian would already be treating the animal and the on-call veterinarian would also be treating the animal, and if not, then would not be aware of the animal injury and therefore should not be required to report. Under either circumstance, however, the attending veterinarian or on-call veterinarian at a rodeo event would still have to report any animal injury if they have knowledge that the injury occurred at the rodeo. SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION: Support: California Veterinary Medical Association (Co-Sponsor) California Veterinary Medical Board (Co-Sponsor) Action for Animals California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association Opposition: None on file as of June 16, 2010. Consultant: Bill Gage