By Stella Gerson
The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) recently approved three rulemaking packages proposed by the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB). On November 15, 2021, OAL approved the Board’s regulatory proposal to add section 2038.5, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) regarding Animal Physical Rehabilitation (APR). The Board initially noticed its intent to amend and add the regulation on March 13, 2020. [See 26:1 CRLR 71–72] According to the final statement of reasons, the added section will establish a clear definition of APR as an animal health care task in the Board’s regulations and clarify what professionals can perform APR and under what circumstances. The Board narrowed the definition of APR to apply to the treatment of an injury or illness and to address pain and improve function. Further, the regulation clarifies that registered veterinary technicians (RVT) or veterinarian assistants can perform APR under the appropriate supervision of a veterinarian. At its October 21, 2021 teleconference meeting [Agenda Item 11D], the Board approved the final proposed regulatory language. This included OAL’s recommendations to clarify the two types of supervision, direct or indirect, to be used for an RVT to perform APR. The regulatory action became effective on January 1, 2022.
On December 27, 2021, OAL approved the Board’s proposed amendments to section 2006, Title 16 of the CCR to amend its Disciplinary Guidelines, which are used to establish appropriate disciplinary actions for similar offenses on a statewide basis. The Board originally noticed its intent on July 17, 2020, to update the Disciplinary Guidelines, as the last time these guidelines were modified was in July 2012. [26:1 CRLR 77–78] The regulatory proposal underwent three modifications before its final submission to OAL on December 22, 2021. The final statement of reasons explained that besides non-substantive and technical changes to the guidelines such as amending terminology and adding clarifying language, the last modification aimed to address the concern over the maximum time probation can be tolled before a license is canceled. For that purpose, the final modified text revised the language to make a two-year non-practice condition a violation of probation and remove language about a license being automatically canceled without a hearing. The amended disciplinary guidelines will become effective on April 1, 2022.
Finally, on January 4, 2022, OAL approved the Board’s regulatory proposal to adopt sections 2090, 2091, 2092, 2093, 2094, and 2095, Title 16 of the CCR, regarding minimum standards for drug compounding services for animal patients. The Board initially noticed its intent to add sections 2090–2095 on July 17, 2020, to define drug compounding in veterinary premises and the parameters of a veterinarian or RVT providing drug compounding services. [26:1 CRLR 78, 26:2 CRLR 98–99] On January 4, 2022, the Board submitted the final rulemaking package, which will be used to establish the statutory authority and clarify the criteria for veterinarians and RVTs to provide drug compounding services. Notably, while the regulations mandate that veterinary premises adhere to minimum policies regarding drug compounding services, veterinarians are not required to perform drug compounding as they may instead issue a prescription to a pharmacy. The final rulemaking package contains six sections regarding the definitions of drug compounding, application of these services in veterinary premises, and explanation of proper policies and procedures regarding topics such as formula records, expiration dates, and preparation and storage. The new guidelines for drug compounding will become effective on April 1, 2022.