States consider Emergency Response and Veterinary Opioid Training

  |   Legislative

As state legislatures approach the start of the legislative year, lawmakers in several states have begun to pre-file bills and regulations for consideration. Along-with these pre-filed bills, other legislatures have continued to work through the holiday season and have proposed bills and regulations that impact various areas of veterinary medicine.

In light of recent environmental disasters, three states- Florida, New York, and Washington – have proposed legislation geared towards emergency preparedness and veterinary care of animals impacted by extreme weather. In Florida, two such bills have been introduced. One would make it unlawful for the owner of a domestic companion or service animal to knowingly and intentionally leave the animal outdoors and unattended when an evacuation of the area has been ordered by state or local authorities due to weather or other emergency conditions. The other bill would require the state to provide emergency preparedness information on different types of shelters available, such as special needs’ shelters and shelters that accept individuals with service animals, comfort animals, or pets.

In New York, legislation would allow the owner of a domestic animal to board any public transportation service with the animal if a state of emergency has been declared and an evacuation of the owner’s geographic region is in progress. A bill in the state of Washington would stipulate that while an emergency declaration is in effect, the Department of Health may limit, restrict, or otherwise regulate any other matters necessary to coordinate effectively the provision of health or veterinary services during the emergency.

In response to the nationwide opioid crisis, New Jersey and Louisiana will consider measures that would require veterinarians to receive continuing education credit for prescribing controlled substance training. In New Jersey, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners would be able to require that the number of CE credits include at least one credit of educational programs or topics concerning prescription opioid drugs, including the risks and signs of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. And a proposed regulation in Louisiana would require a veterinarian with prescriptive authority who holds a controlled dangerous substance license seeking license renewal to obtain three CE hours that would include drug diversion training, best practice of prescribing controlled dangerous substances, appropriate treatment for addiction, and any other matters that are deemed appropriate by the veterinary board.

The Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine is also proposing to make it unlawful for a person to practice veterinary medicine if they do not possess a current license issued by the board, unless they fall within an exception defined in the Veterinary Practice Act and/or the Board’s rules. The Board declares that a license is personal to the veterinarian holder and only gives that person the ability to lawfully practice veterinary medicine. The Board also states that some owners, members, officers, or directors of a business entity dedicated to the practice of veterinary medicine do not have to possess a veterinary license; however, any person that is involved in patient care must be licensed by the board.

Finally, legislation in Missouri would exclude any chiropractic practitioner engaging in the practice of animal chiropractic from the Missouri Veterinary Practice Act.

Here is a chart containing pieces of state legislation introduced within the past month and tracked by the AVMA State Advocacy Division. For more information on bills and regulations, please see our full listing or contact the AVMA’s State Advocacy Division.

This State Legislative Update includes summaries of select bills tracked by the AVMA from November 15 through December 15, 2017. Report provided by AVMA.


Posted January 5, 2018