Veterinary Medical Board Votes to Eliminate the California State Board Examination and Temporary Licensee Requirements

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By Jordan Bourque

At its January 28, 2021 meeting [Agenda item 8], the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) voted on various legislative and regulatory needed to eliminate the California State Board Examination (CSBE) and temporary licensee requirements. This decision comes after the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) presented their findings at the October 2020 Board meeting [Agenda item 6A] on an occupational analysis and linkage study of the CSBE and the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE).

According to OPES, the purpose of the review was to evaluate the suitability of the NAVLE for continued use in California licensure of veterinarians and to assess the contents of the CSBE and the Veterinary Law Examination (VLE) in relation to the NAVLE review results to evaluate their continued use for veterinary licensure in California. The study showed that the NAVLE adequately assesses entry-level practice in California, but it does not assess all California laws and regulations related to veterinary practice. OPES ultimately concluded that the CSBE is duplicative of the NAVLE and a potential barrier to licensure. OPES recommended that the Board replace the current California practice-based state board examination with a law and regulations examination that OPES would develop. Further, it was suggested the Board discontinue the current mail-out Veterinary Licensing Examination.

In light of the Board’s October 2020 vote to accept the recommendation by OPES to eliminate the California Exam requirement, the Board requested a subcommittee be formed to make recommendations regarding additional legislative and regulatory changes that needed to be made with the intent to include them in the 2021 legislative session. [Agenda item 6B] The workgroup reviewed twenty-nine statutes and regulations impacted by eliminating the California Exam. Of these, it was recommended that four statutes be amended, five be repealed, and one be added to condense licensure requirements into one statute. Further, if the proposed statutory amendments are implemented, the workgroup recommended that five regulations be amended, and fifteen be repealed.

At its January 28, 2021 meeting [Agenda item 8], the Board considered seeking an urgency clause to have the bill take immediate effect. The workgroup recommended that the urgency clause could remove costly barriers to licensure for out-of-state licensees; preserve access to veterinary care in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased need for veterinary care; prevent applicants from the economic and mental burden that comes with taking the examination and three-day course, and reduce the Board’s spending associated with the creation and administration of the California Exam. The Board voted to approve and author the legislative proposal, which includes obtaining an urgency clause. If the urgency clause is not possible, the legislative proposal would be included in the Board’s Sunset bill and would take effect in January 2022.

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