Office of Administrative Law Approves Veterinary Medical Board’s Emergency Fee Increase

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By Christine Lambert

On January 17, 2020, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved California’s Veterinary Medical Board’s (VMB) proposed emergency rulemaking to amend sections 2070 and 2071, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) to increase licensing fees for Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVMs) and Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs). The Board published notice of its intent to file the emergency regulations on January 10, 2020.

According to VMB’s Finding of Emergency, this emergency rulemaking procedure is necessary to “avoid the imminent shutdown” of the Board’s “licensing and enforcement activity,” which may result in “serious harm to the public and their animals.” The Board further asserts that it is currently facing extreme financial difficulties due to a decrease in monthly revenue because it is no longer gaining income from California RVT examination fees. This decrease, combined with an increase in consumer complaints, Attorney General fee increases, and increased Office of Administrative Hearings costs have contributed to the existing financial hardship. VMB states that the denial of this emergency fee increase regulation would “restrict its core operations, including slowing its ability to process applications, reducing the inspection of veterinary premises, curtailing investigations, and limiting the Board’s ability to adjudicate violations of the Act in an expedient manner.” Notably, OAL approved the Board’s last fee increase less than a year ago, on April 17, 2019. [24:2 CRLR 86]

The text of the emergency regulations increase fees for DVMs to their statutory maximums as set forth in section 4905 of the Business and Professions Code, and all but one of the fees for RVTs to their statutory maximums outlined in section 4842.5 of the Business and Professions Code. Of note, the emergency regulations increase DVM’s application fees from $150 to $350, initial licensing fees from $350 to $500, and biennial renewal fees from $350 to $500.  For RVTs, application fees also increased from $150 to $350, initial registration increased from $160 to $350, and biennial renewal fees increased from $150 to $350.  Only the examination fees for RVTs remained the same at $200.

The emergency regulations will be in effect for 180 days and will expire on July 15, 2020, unless otherwise extended by OAL. The Board will need to go through the formal rulemaking process to make these regulations permanent, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the new rates at that time.

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