19 Nov How might the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act change in 2022?
Many veterinarians in Colorado may be aware that the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act underwent a sunset review by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and will be up for renewal by the state legislature in 2022.
On October 15, 2021, DORA released a report with key findings and recommendations from its sunset review process. DORA’s recommendations will be presented to the state legislature in mid-January and will become the basis for a bill that revises the veterinary practice to be introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives.
In the report, DORA made the following recommendations:
Recommendation 1: The practice act should be continued for 11 more years, until 2033.
CVMA supports this recommendation. The last sunset review of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act was conducted in 2010; the act was renewed by the state legislature in 2011 for a period of 11 years. Since 1976, every regulated profession in Colorado undergoes a sunset review according to a set schedule. The Colorado legislature sets specific dates that a particular board (such as the State Board of Veterinary Medicine) will expire unless the legislature passes new legislation to continue that board or entity.
Recommendation 2: The practice act should be amended to authorize veterinarians to delegate the task of administering rabies vaccinations while under their supervision.
CVMA supports this recommendation. The CVMA Sunset Review Task Force suggested this change to DORA during stakeholder meetings held in 2021. CVMA recommends adhering to the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control guidelines (published by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians), which expands the administration of rabies vaccinations. Expanding vaccination administration to include shelter staff under supervision of a veterinarian will help prevent public health threats like rabies while also serving to better utilize veterinary staff.
Recommendation 3: The practice act should require veterinarians to create a written plan for the storage, security, and disposal of patient records.
CVMA supports this recommendation. CVMA often fields inquiries from veterinarians wondering what should be done with patient records when retiring or closing a practice. Having guidelines in place will help ensure continuity of care for patients and their owners.
Recommendation 4: The practice act should expand the veterinary board’s authority to require a physical examination of a licensed veterinarian if there is reasonable cause to believe the veterinarian is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety.
CVMA supports this recommendation. Research shows that the Dentist and Dental Hygienists Practice Act, Medical Practice Act, Nurses and Nurse Aides Practice Act, and Pharmacists Practice Act all grant the respective boards the authority to require a physical examination if there is reasonable cause to believe that the licensed professional is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety. CVMA’s Sunset Review Task Force concluded that this recommendation is reasonable and that opposing this recommendation would be unlikely to succeed.
Recommendation 5: The practice act should clarify the requirements concerning confidential agreements.
CVMA supports this recommendation. This recommendation clears up a statutory conflict in Title 12, Professions and Occupations. DORA will propose revisions to the Practice Act to address the conflict.
The following conflicts are:
- 12-30-108, C.R.S. Authorizes regulators to enter into confidential agreements to limit practice with licensees who suffer from a physical illness, physical condition, behavioral or mental health disorder that renders them unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety.
- 12-30-108(1)(a) Requires such licensees to notify their respective regulators of such conditions. 12-30-108(4)(b)(II), C.R.S. Exempts veterinarians from the notification requirement, not the parts of the provision pertaining to confidential agreements. Note: This is the contradictory provision.
- 12-315-112(1)(gg), C.R.S. Requires veterinarians to agree to the terms under a confidential agreement entered into under sections 12-30-108 and 12-315-125, C.R.S.
- 12-315-125, C.R.S. States that confidential agreements to limit a veterinarian’s practice applies to the Act.
DORA reported that the referenced statutes appear to be contradictory since it is difficult to see how the veterinary board could enter into a confidential agreement without having been notified of the triggering condition. It is unclear whether the board has the authority to discipline a veterinarian if he or she fails to notify the board of a physical illness, physical condition, behavioral or mental health disorder that renders a practitioner unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety. Since the statutes contradict one another, DORA recommends the statutes should be harmonized to clarify that veterinarians who have a physical illness, physical condition, behavioral or mental health disorder that renders them unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety are required to notify the board.
Recommendation 6: The practice act should repeal the requirement that the board send a letter of admonition by certified mail.
CVMA supports this recommendation. Sending certified letters does not guarantee that the letter was reviewed by the recipient, and is inconsistent with other practice acts. CVMA’s Sunset Review Task Force determined this recommendation is reasonable.
CVMA continues to engage with other stakeholders regarding the upcoming bill that will be introduced in the state legislature. For the next several months until the legislature recesses in early May 2022, CVMA will report to members on the progress of a new veterinary practice act through the legislative process. We invite your comments and questions on this important effort.
CVMA’s most important role on behalf of veterinarians is to closely monitor regulatory and legislative provisions that govern the practice of veterinary medicine in Colorado; and to advocate for policies that protects veterinarians, the practice of veterinary medicine, and animal welfare in Colorado. CVMA’s advocacy does what no single veterinarian can do alone…but we need your help. Join or renew today.