Comments sought on proposed changes to AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act

Commenting Period Open Make Your Voice Heard

The AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA) is under review, and AVMA members and the general public will have an opportunity to comment until March 25, 2018.

This cornerstone AVMA policy is used as a primary resource during the writing and review of veterinary practice acts across the United States, and also includes the AVMA’s definition of the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship. This means your comments will help inform a policy that directly impacts the daily practice of veterinary medicine. During the commenting period, AVMA strongly encourages veterinarians and other interested parties to provide their input.

Once the commenting period has closed, an AVMA working group will carefully consider all comments, finalize its recommendations, and send its recommendations to the Council on Veterinary Service (CoVS) for review. The CoVS will then send a final recommendation regarding the revised MVPA to the AVMA Board of Directors for consideration.

AVMA members may review and comment on all AVMA professional policies at any time. Because the Model Veterinary Practice Act affects thousands of veterinarians as well as their clients and patients, both members and nonmembers are invited to comment during this period. Our profession is made stronger by hearing many diverse perspectives.

Comment on the proposed changes to the Model Veterinary Practice Act.

5 thoughts on “Comments sought on proposed changes to AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act

  1. Reading these comments I cannot help but notice that the technology and its inevitability are driving the discussion rather than the best interests of the patient. Having practiced emergency medicine I can say with certainty I want my own hand on the animal I am treating. Too many times I saw clients who had been advised improperly over the phone sometimes with serious consequences for the pet involved.
    I deal with human medicine constantly as I have a sick child. I have been proud not to emulate human medicine because it puts the convenience of the doctor and profit far above the patient. It is really discouraging to see so many veterinarians ready and willing to jump into the same cesspool that human medicine has become. The future is never inevitable. It is better shaped by good sense and compassion than technology. Veterinary medicine it seems has already ceased to be a profession and is content to be a trade.

  2. Do pediatricians offer telemedicine for infants, toddlers, children, pre-teens, teens, and young adults?
    Do they communicate well? Can they make their own decisions? who is responsible when things go bad?

    I agree with the advances of technology it will be difficult to avoid, and I agree with you all. I find that owners get more excited and overreact on the telephone. How do you bill for teleservices if you are also triaging patients in an ER facility? I am just thinking of possible complications in certain circumstances.

    I recently experienced on ER service a pet insurance company having a hired (claimed) RVT screening calls and giving advice (also the policy given to me by the owner stated a Veterinarian was on staff 24/7. I was REALLY REALLY upset with this as the dog needed attention much sooner than the owner was advised, and could have suffered bowel necrosis due to foreign body obstruction.

    If I could suggest one MAJOR change, it would be that insurance companies CANNOT advise or dictate care remotely. They are qualified to offer insurance, not care. They are literally breaking the law by practicing veterinary medicine without a license AND without an established VCPR.

    I am very concerned about this, as well as other changes regarding telemedicine.
    Even the radiologists disclaim to use the information in conjunction with patient’s current and progressive clinical status.

    We should MOST DEFINITELY tread with caution.

  3. The practice act should be updated to allow for the use of telemedicine where face-to-face contact is not a possibility. This includes contact with a specialist following initial examination by a local DVM, and utilizing the eyes/ears/hands/expertise of the local DVM to fill information gaps caused by remote examination. A highly trained technician may also serve this purpose. The practice act should not allow for remote diagnosis of and prescriptions for routine medical care when adequate in-person veterinary examinations are available. This would be a disservice to both the pets (who may easily be misdiagnosed based on a client’s description or photographs) and the clients (who may not understand that the service provided via computer is not comparable to a traditional examination). There are countless times that I am presented with a patient for an ear infection, while the client is completely unaware that the pet has fleas, or pododermatitis, or changes in fur quality/thickness, or weight loss, etc. Treating these patients for a routine ear infection without identifying and addressing associated symptoms is a short-term fix guaranteed to lead to further problems down the road. The practice act should be modified for telemedicine, but with care.

  4. I agree with Dr Epstein. I also believe that in areas where the availability of specialists is limited telemedicine would benefit all in the VPCR.

  5. The Veterinary Practice Act of the (immediate, not distant) future must account for telemedicine, with the redefinition of the VPCR accordingly. The arguments heretofore put forward about the necessity of patient exam in order to diagnose or prescribe have merit, but as technology advances that necessity will cease to be absolute. The barrier has already been broken on the human side, although I understand that our patients are non-verbal and that does represent a difference albeit in my strong view it is not enough to try and stop the inevitability of telemedicine without an in-person VPCR. Indeed, that barrier has also already been broken on the veterinary side in Ontario (see below), and quite properly so. I am aware that this will be highly disruptive to the profession, and the livelihood of many veterinarians will be threatened with telemedicine Dx and Rx. But its advent is a hard, unavoidable, Inevitable trend, the technology and platforms already exist, and to not adjust Practice Acts accordingly is quixotic, archaic, and will impede advancement of veterinary medicine. Although it will be enormously disruptive, it will also unleash terrific creativity and even more advanced technology that can only improve the medical and health care needs of animals.

    April, 2017, the Council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario announced it had approved a new standard regarding the use of telemedicine in the delivery of veterinary medicine in Ontario.
    “With advancements in technology, the public can have improved access to veterinary medicine. This standard supports innovation in the delivery of safe, quality veterinary medicine in Ontario,” said Dr. Marc Marin, president of the college, in a news release.
    The professional practice standard, approved by council, defines telemedicine as the delivery of veterinary medicine using information and communication technologies where the veterinarian and the patient are not in the same physical location.
    “The College’s expectations of veterinarians remain the same whether they are delivering service in-person or through telemedicine. The College is actually one of the first regulators in North America to support the establishment of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship via telemedicine,”