The AVMA House of Delegates recently approved several revisions to the association’s Model Veterinary Practice Act, a document routinely used by state legislators and regulatory bodies for guidance on appropriate oversight of veterinary medicine. A special task force reviewed extensive comments from veterinarians, the public and AVMA entities before recommending the changes to the House of Delegates and Executive Board. Some of the substantive changes include:
- A more descriptive definition of “animal” as meaning, “any living organism, except humans, having sensation and the power of voluntary movement and requiring for its existence oxygen and organic nutrients.”
- A new definition of “complementary, alternative and integrative therapies” as meaning “a heterogeneous group of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic philosophies and practices that are not considered part of conventional (Western) medicine as practiced by most veterinarians and veterinary technicians,” replacing a definition referring to the therapies as differing from current scientific knowledge or instruction at veterinary colleges.
- Revisions to recognize more fully credentialing of veterinary technicians and technologists.
- Clarification of the definitions of “direct supervision” and “indirect supervision” to specify that a veterinarian is responsible for the care of a patient provided by a person working under the veterinarian’s direction.
- New exemption to allow a veterinarian from one state to practice temporarily in another state following a declaration of emergency.
- New exemption to allow a person working under the supervision of a veterinarian to provide certain medical care in an animal shelter.
Reserved for further development are Sections 2-22 and 5, dealing with the definition and scope of the “veterinarian-client-patient relationship.” A working group has drafted proposed changes to these sections, which are open for comment by AVMA members and entities until March 1, 2012.