- Slides: 21
Laws Governing Veterinary Medicine
Laws represent the required standards for the practice of veterinary medicine. There are two major organizations that provide additional recommendations for additional standards – these standards are voluntary. 1. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) • A national organization that represents the individual veterinarian • Provides representation of professional interests to various legislative bodies • Provides policies and guidelines to the profession • Provides continuing education • Accredits colleges of veterinary medicine and schools for veterinary technicians
2. American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) * Sets standards for veterinary hospitals * Any veterinary hospital displaying the AAHA logo must meet and adhere to the organization’s membership requirements * Member hospitals are subject to periodic inspections * Standards are wide-ranging: examination facilities, pharmacy, anesthesia, surgery, housekeeping * Not all hospitals meet the standards set forth by the AAHA
Common Law Common law is based on legal precedents. • Animals are considered property – just as your car or a house. • Owners have rights associated with their property (pets/animals) – especially while in the custody of the veterinarian.
Liability: A legal responsibility * Concerns injuries or losses to an owner while on the veterinary premises - either to themselves or their pets Malpractice: (mal = bad) substandard practice – willful, negligent or ignorant Negligence: failure to do what should be done An owner has a right to damages as a result of actions that cause a decrease in value, injury or death to a pet
Contract Law • Governs the relationship between the veterinarian and the client • Expressed – written or oral • Implied – based on assumption • Breach – occurs when any party fails to fulfill his or her responsibilities • Led to consent forms • Estimated cost for services
Procedures for the veterinary assistant: NEVER: * make any guarantee * minimize the risks * permit owners to restrain their own pets * allow an unsafe facility condition to persist * provide information to anyone on any subject that on which you are not well informed
ALWAYS: * Document all conversations with the owner in the patient record (includes telephone conversations) * Be certain all consent forms are reviewed and signed by owner before rendering service – keep them in the patient record. * Use estimate forms before rendering services * Keep all doors closed and windows securely screened * Provide leashes and carriers in the reception area for owners who do not use them * Provide adequate restraint of all animals within the hospital * Keep animals separate * Use identification collars on all patients/kennels * Know the law and conform to it
Federal Law Federal law always override state laws – federal laws state policy and penalty while the individual state implements and enforces the law. Federal legislation for animals began in the late 1880 s with the anticruelty movement. Anti-cruelty laws now exist in all states – although they are not standardized. Examples: * Interstate and international movement of animals * Permissible drug residues in food animals * Animal Welfare Act * Marine mammals – protection in handling, transport and care * Public and animal health is protected through meat and milk inspection
* Reporting of foreign animal diseases * Implementation of animal disease eradication programs There also laws that affect the practice of veterinary medicine such as: * The Fair Labor Standards Act covers child labor * OSHA governs workplace safety * Americans with Disability Act mandates reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities * The Food and Drug Administration specifies the manufacturing standards and the distribution of food additives and drugs for animals.
State Laws State laws are not standardized – they reflect the needs of the region they govern. They also change over time as needs change. STATE PRACTICE ACT: specific to each state – governs the practice of veterinary medicine Goal: Consumer protection Governed by The State Board of Veterinary Medicine in each state
The ACT usually defines: * What veterinary medicine is * Who can practice veterinary medicine * When a person who is practicing veterinary medicine * The minimum standards for the practice of veterinary medicine * Standards for veterinary facilities The Board determines the: * Penalties for violations * Administration of veterinary licenses and examinations * Licensing of veterinary premises * Rules for conduct of the business of the veterinary board
Generally a veterinarian can only practice in the state in which he/she is licensed. The exception to this rule is when the veterinarian is serving in a consultative capacity across state boarders. The AVMA has publishes “Model Veterinary Practice Act” and “ Model Practice Act for Veterinary Technicians” – these serve as guidelines for the development for the individual State Practice Acts. A veterinarian is given the rights to: * * diagnose prognose prescribe perform surgery - violation of this represents the practice of veterinary medicine without a license – it is prosecutable!!
The veterinary staff is permitted with the supervision and in compliance with other laws, to provide supplementary care. It is up to the veterinarian to determine the competence of the staff member. It is also up to the veterinarian to provide for the level supervision of necessary to complete the task (correctly). Not all states require licensure for veterinary technicians, however where a license is required, the technician is usually permitted to perform the following tasks under immediate supervision of the veterinarian:
* induce anesthesia * perform dental extractions that do not entail a surgical procedure such as sectioning a tooth or incising tissue. * Provide surgical assistance to the veterinarian as permitted by state law Direct Supervision is required for the following tasks: * perform euthanasia * Collect or administer blood * Apply splints or slings
* Clean, polish and float teeth Indirect supervision is required for the following tasks: * Place intravenous catheters and begin intravenous administration of fluids * Administer medications, including the giving of injections except where prohibited by law * Collect urine, fecal and blood samples * Perform skin scrapings
* conduct routine laboratory procedures * provide first aid to an animal in an emergency Remember!! The veterinary assistant is there to assist the veterinarian and/or the technician. The level of supervision is higher for the assistant.
LOCAL LAWS Local laws affect the community and the county. Local laws may cover the following areas: * business license * zoning (location of facility) * leash laws - may require that all dogs outside a fenced area be on a leash. Any animal roaming freely is subject to capture and detention
* nuisance laws - noise levels (barking) - soling (failure to clean feces) - destruction of private property * licenses - some cities/counties require a license for dogs and cats - current rabies vaccination * type and number of animals that may be owned * permits to breed pets
The client often turns the veterinarian and his/her staff to answer questions. Frequently asked questions: 1. How many pets can I have? 2. How and where do I license my pet? 3. How much does it cost to license my pet? 4. What special permits do I need for breeding or ownership of certain species of animals?
Source: Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant by Paula Pattengale DVM, MA Blackwell Publishing