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California Veterinary Premises Licensees –Are you ready to be “wholly responsible”?

The California Veterinary Medical Board (“Board”) is in the process of adopting a new regulation to establish “minimum standards” for a managing licensee of a veterinary hospital premise. Under the current regulations, it is the responsibility of the managing veterinarian to ensure that the premises comply with minimum standards of veterinary practice.  However, the Board does not articulate what that obligation entails.  If the Board’s new regulation makes it through the adoption process, the managing licensee will have more clearly defined and additional obligations.

Proposed Board Regulation 2030.5 provides:

(a)          A Licensee Manager is the California licensed veterinarian named as the Managing Licensee on a facility’s premise permit.

(b)          The Licensee Manager is responsible for ensuring that the premise for which he/she is manager complies with specified requirements of the Veterinary Practice Act and is responsible for ensuring that the physical and operational components of a premise meet the minimum standards of practice as set forth in the Board’s regulations.

(c)          The Licensee Manager is responsible for ensuring that no unlicensed activity is occurring within the premise or in any location where any function of veterinary medicine, veterinary surgery or veterinary dentistry is being conducted off the premises under the auspices of this premise license.

(d)          The Licensee Manager shall maintain whatever physical presence is reasonable within the facility to ensure that the requirements in (a) – (c) are met.

(e)          Each licensed veterinarian shall be responsible for their individual violations of the practice act or any regulation adopted thereunder.

In case there is any doubt regarding the Board’s mission in adopting this new regulation, the regulation adoption process requires a licensing Board to state its “reasons” for the regulation, which the Board has articulated as follows:

The proposed regulation establishes the minimum standards for a California licensed veterinarian who is the managing licensee of a veterinary hospital premise. It establishes that the managing licensee is wholly responsible for insuring the minimum standards are followed regardless of the number of hospital premises managed by the managing licensee and it requires the manager to maintain whatever physical presence is necessary to ensure such requirements are met. (Emphasis added).

Many veterinary premises licensees will have to examine and change the way they run their hospitals and clinics. Are you ready to be “wholly responsible”?  If you need advice regarding the current Board regulation or the proposed Board regulations, attorneys at Carmel & Naccasha, LLP are ready to provide assistance. They can be reached at (805) 546-8785.

Steven L. Simas

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