Veterinary mobility act becomes law

By: Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA president


The AVMA is elated to announce that President Barack Obama has signed into law the long-awaited Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528), making it legal for veterinarians to provide complete medical care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines.

By passing and signing this legislation, the president and our legislators recognize the critical role veterinarians play in treating sick animals and relieving their pain and suffering. The health and welfare of our nation’s wildlife, food animals, and even our companion animals depend on veterinarians being allowed to do their jobs wherever the need arises. On behalf of our members, I would like to thank the president and Congress for allowing us complete access to the medications we need to fulfill our oath to society.

I would also like to thank the staff in AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division for their tireless work in getting this bill passed. They have led a remarkable advocacy campaign in coordination with our allied organizations and I am very grateful for their service and dedication to our membership.

I would also like to thank all of our members for your continued support on this important issue. This work proves that when AVMA’s members bring forward concerns, we listen; and we work extremely hard to ensure that our leaders in Washington craft public policies that promote the health and welfare of animals and advance the veterinary profession.

What does this new law mean for you? This law amends a restrictive provision within the Controlled Substances Act, which previously barred veterinarians from transporting, administering and/or dispensing controlled substances—necessary for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia—beyond their registered locations, often their clinics. Specifically, it states:

“a registrant who is a veterinarian shall not be required to have a separate registration in order to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than the registrant’s registered principal place of business or professional practice, so long as the site of transporting and dispensing is located in a State where the veterinarian is licensed to practice veterinary medicine and is not a principal place of business or professional practice.”

We advise any veterinarians who are unclear on how to comply with the updated regulations to consult the Diversion Control Program Manager at their respective Drug Enforcement Administration field offices for more information.

Thank you all for your continued support. We hope you will continue to stay connected with us on other federal advocacy efforts by joining the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network (AVMA-CAN) and signing up for our monthly e-newsletter on what is happening in Washington.


26 thoughts on “Veterinary mobility act becomes law

  1. This is a great accomplishment,but now please get to work on reciprosity!

  2. This is no great victory. It is a disgrace that we have to go begging a bunch of scum politicians for the rights that should be ours in the first place. These idiots can’t effectively run government or even their own personal lives and yet they want to tell us how to run veterinary medicine. Seriously?

    • Welcome to reality Dr. Leonard. Perhaps this is the first step in the right direction you are hoping for. Why not reward that step? Embrace positive change. Let’s all remember that what comes out of our mouths (or fingertips) can’t be put back in and If you have nothing positive to say … well better not say it and negatively represent the rest of us. Have a GREAT day doc.

    • Anytime politicians are involved in something 99% of them know nothing about, it spells a headache for those affected. Luckily this was corrected before some overzealous enforcement agent rookie tried to make a reputation out of it. Now if we can get some more things cleared up like Schumer’ s Bill and try to get universal licensure, we might get ahead

      • Why was this ever let to be a problem in the first place? This should have been changed years ago. After nearly 30 years in the field, I have never met a veterinarian who did not carry scheduled drugs in the vehicle. It seems that this is a huge pat on the back for a problem created years ago. Why was this not done sooner?

  3. Great news. Thank you to all who worked tirelessly to get this legislation passed.


  4. Pingback: Your Pet’s Last Breath in the Luxury of Your Home | Care2 Healthy Living

  5. I am a house call veterinarian in Los Angeles and I must admit that I have been following this law very closely for the past several months. I am pleased to see that it passed through both houses and the oval office without scrutiny or changes. This tells me that the bill was simple, straightforward, sensible and it corrected something that was overlooked in the Controlled Substances Act of 1974.

    I am puzzled about 2 things:

    1) Why non-veterinarians are visiting this very vertical web site
    2) Why comments from non-veterinarians are about veterinarians in general, rather than about this specific new law.

    Dr Steve

  6. I’m glad to read about this. I was surprised that such a law existed. I suspect it came out of someone pumping the anti-drug hysteria in order to gain political points with chronic worriers who can’t raise their own children to say no to drugs.

    Veterinarians need to be able to travel with their kit to their patients. I live in Silicon Valley and people keep horses up hill from me. I sincerely doubt that the people who have horses (not all fabulously wealthy – these properties were not worth much when the families purchased them in the pre-HP days) bundle them up in the car and go to the Palo Alto Dog N’ Cat Clinic. I’m hoping that this protection for vets will allow more of them to practice in rural areas where the stock are too large to conveniently haul in for their care. I also hope that more vets in urban areas become amenable to house call practices.

    As for the weird commentary about vets milking women… pics or it didn’t happen.

  7. Pamela and JoAnn must have had some bad experiences with bad vets. I am sorry about that. I hate to put an animal to sleep, but would rather do that then let them suffer as human docs have to do. Thank goodness for hospice. I am 64, started my business over at 61 due to divorce, and have never made a lot of money. Most of my clients have nicer houses and cars than I do. If I wanted to make a lot of money, I would have gone into a different field. I am a house call veterinarian, and this bill helps me to legally let pets die in the comfort of their own home, in their own bed, without pain and without fear. I am not subsidized by the government nor do most of my clients have insurance. I cannot live and pay my bills if I do not charge for my services. I do not have a huge retirement account, only social security. I have had people ask me to do procedures or tests for free. I can’t afford to do that. I have to pay for the tests and procedures myself. I don’t go to the grocery store or gas station and get a discount on food or gas. Why should people expect vets to give discounts? Makes no sense to me.

    • I agree with your above voice 100%. My Equine Vet and I became friends and have on occasion ridden together. I keep my professional relationship with MY Vet separate from our friendship and would never embarrass myself or put her in a position and ask her to give me a discount. I don’t respect people when they do that. But humans will say oh if she is your friend she should give u a discount. NO not true. If she decided to do so that is fine and a blessing, but I would never expect or ask nor assume. That is why we are still friends because I don’t make that assumption.

  8. WOW, Pamela and JoAnn
    Im so sorry that you have had a bad or maybe a couple bad experiences with your vets. I recommend you look for someone else to help treat your pets. As someone that helps run an animal rescue organization I can say that I have the pleasure of dealing with numerous vets on a regular basis and in various states. I have had the please of having the majority of them truly care for these animals no matter what breed they are or how cute, cuddly, aggressive etc they have been. I deal with every type of dog/cat out there and have ever had the experiences you speak of. Have any of our animals died, of course. Has it been do to neglect on the part of our vets? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!.
    As far as milking people for all their worth, once again, never had this issue. Sometimes there are different courses of treatment and you have to try before you arrive at the one that is best suited for that animal. This does not mean the vet is trying to take you for all your worth. If you think the cost at your vet is too expensive, look around, there are plenty of vets that offer reduced rates. I personally take my own dogs and cat to a vet that costs more that others I have dealt with but their prices are not higher just because they want to charge huge fees. They are higher because this particular vet is one of the few in our area that has some of the most state of the art equipment etc. How do you think that equipment gets purchased or maintained? No one is just donating it to them. I highly recommend you reevaluate the reasons behind why you make such a blanket statement about vets in general. I can only guess that you had 1 bad experience, or maybe even a couple, that has created this overall impression for you. Most vets do not go through all the extensive schooling (equivalent to MDs), take out HUGE student loans in many cases to get paid a small fraction of what human doctors do because they want to “milk” you and murder your animals. There is absolutely no logic in this way of thinking.

  9. As a vet who runs a in home euthanasia practice I couldn’t be happier. I stopped regular practice because I couldn’t take the clients like JoAnn or Pamela. As veterinarians our job is to advocate for the pet and sometimes they die in spite of what we do and some vets do milk and pressure owners but there are also wonderful, caring vets out there who are just trying to the best for their patient. But there are also owner who expect free service and guarantees and don’t follow instruction. Happy helping pets when they’re suffering to cross the rainbow bridge!

  10. JoAnn, are you serious? Animals can not get health care coverage for themselves. Unlike human doctors, veterinarians can’t run procedures through insurance companies for owners to cover a co-pay.

    As a vet tech, we do everything within budget for the owner, many times procedures are at minimal to no costs, if it helps the animal live a little longer for their owner to prepare for the inevitable.

  11. I am thankful that my wonderful veterinarian can now legally care for my animals at my house when they are ill. Some animals find car rides to be very stressful. And when the time comes, my faithful friends can spend their last moments in a loving atmosphere, not a sterile clinic.

  12. This is a blessing for everyone! My ‘kids’ would be so much more relaxed if visited in their home. So much less trauma with a car ride and the smell of a vets office etc. The cost is irrelevant when it comes to a more convenient, comfortable, relaxing atmosphere!

  13. I wonder if people like Pamela & Jo Ann have ever rescued animals from abuse only to have to have them put down because there is no longer any hope for their survival from their injuries. Or have to have an aging horse that can no longer stand be compassionately put down with tears streaming from both the vets eyes and your eyes because it is the best way. Or had to put down a cow with a prolapsed uterus that is infected. All of these I have experienced but always by taking them to the vets office instead of allowing them to go in their own environment. The vets I have had over the years have always been helpful in these most stressful of times. I have been involved in helping animals for over 55 years & think this is a wonderful law. I’m sorry the two are so unhappy with veterinarians & hope that they someday will understand that they have to do unpleasant jobs under trying circumstances. This law will help them offer more help to both the unfortunate animals & the people who love them.

  14. This is really going to help some of our clients who live in rural areas. Doctors shouldn’t be limited to specific areas. They should be able to help and treat where ever the need arises!

    • Hope this helps the elderly & disabled people that can’t always get about for there pets are there theropy & companions.

  15. Would not matter what law this or any other president signs veterinarians are classists and treat favorites and kill the rest.

      • And you think all of our medical doctors are any better? There are some good ones out there, but…….

    • Not wanting to get into too much detail in a comment thread online. I would like to point out, typically, all patients of a veterinarian are their favorite. We don’t pick and choose the cutest ones we think they’re are adorable, yes, even when they are mad at us and attempt to to attack. We treat them as equal in what should be offered. The clinic I work in offers everything we can do them we work down from their keeping the health of the patient in mind while working to fit the budget of the owner. Procedures are explained based on what the pet family wants to know I you approve a treatment I would be surprised to hear a veterinary staff member forced it on to you, and if that would be te case get a second opinion or just tell them you feel pressured and ask more questions about the procedure instead of caving then getibg upset because you didn’t understand. We sneak in free nail trims, free ear cleanings, and little things like that but in order to keep the doors open we have to pay our bills too. You pay your bills to keep your electricity on as do we. We get upset when we have euthanize any animal, it can be even more upsetting that we can’t always cry with the family of a beloved pet when the pet passes because we have to go into the room up the hall and introduce ourselves to the people who just adopted a puppy from the shelter, and we need to look professional about that to let them know when there’s an emergency for their pet we can keep it together. Unlike human doctors we have the ability to take an animals suffering away via humane euthanasia. A veterinarian shouldn’t ever push that on an animals family. It’s a decision made by the person and people who are with that animal everyday and know what kind of quality of life the animal has. We aren’t murders, we don’t euthanize animals out of malice or greed or pleasure we have it available to help a 16 year old husky who is no longer able to walk because his hips have given out and the owner wants to end the dogs suffering, we have the option available so if a wild animal gets injured beyond being able to function we can prevent it from suffering through it’s last breaths. Not to murder animals we love even if we’ve never lived with them or medically cared for them. Humans have doctors who treat humans to get better when they are sick and injured but human will eventually pass. Veterinarians treat animals to get them better when thy are sick and injured but they too will eventually pass. We don’t treat them to turn around and euthanize them, we want to see them walk out that door in better health so they can come visit just to say hi when they aren’t sick too.

    • How’s that tinfoil hat fitting on ya? BTW – Obama did provide a long form birth certificate.