Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Discusses Trends in Veterinary Licensing—Telemedicine

Like all professions, veterinary medicine is now online. Just ten years ago, there was insufficient broadband and infrastructure to support a genuinely on-line veterinary practice. Now both of those problems have been solved, and veterinarians have almost boundless ability to interact with patients. But while the technological boundaries have fallen, the legal and licensure boundaries remain.

Where is the line between illegally practicing veterinary medicine in a state without a license and helping a long-time patient who is on vacation in another state? The line between legal and illegal practice is not as bright as it was before the internet, as patients can now reach out to you for advice from around the world. With this significant advantage comes extra regulatory scrutiny. Crossing an already blurry regulatory line can lead to the revocation of your hard-earned veterinary license, especially when the allegation involves the illegal or improper prescription of medications. I routinely see clients accused of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, and they usually come to me devastated.

If you are licensed veterinarian in Kansas or Missouri facing an investigation, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Your career is at risk, and you cannot work your way through this alone.

What is the Challenge with Tele-Veterinary Medicine?

The critical thing to remember is that as a Kansas or Missouri veterinarian, your veterinary medicine license is tied to a specific state. While your clients may travel and rely on you wherever they go, your license is constricted by the boundaries of its issuing state.

Second, as a veterinarian, you should look to the guidelines set by American Veterinary Medicine Association, or AVMA, for whether your behavior is reasonable. In this area, the AVMA focusses on the veterinary-client-patient-relationship or VCPR. The VCPR is significant, as it provides a reasonable picture of what will be viewed as legitimate telemedicine.

Under the AVMA’s model, the VCPR establishes when the veterinarian has an ongoing relationship with the patient animal that is sufficient to allow for diagnosis and treatment planning. Given this guideline, it is reasonable to provide long-distance advice to a client about their pet while they are out of state, as the veterinarian in question has an ongoing treatment relationship with the patient animal.

That said, the opposite facts may lead to an allegation of malpractice. If a prospective client calls a veterinarian from out of state about a patient animal that the veterinarian has never treated, it is unlikely that any VCPR exists. Accordingly, that sort of treatment should be avoided.

Even if the there is a VCPR, distance creates another challenge. While a veterinarian may be able to make a general diagnosis based on some “tell-tale” symptoms and the patient animal’s health history, that diagnosis still suffers from not having the patient animal present for an examination. Claims of malpractice can arise when a veterinarian does not meet the standard of care for a given situation, and the standard of care does not differentiate between a long-distance diagnosis and one done in-person in a clinic. While not a silver bullet, having tele-veterinary medicine patients sign a disclosure acknowledging the limits of a distance diagnosis may prove useful.

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

Any veterinarian in Kansas or Missouri contacted by a state licensing board should contact experienced counsel immediately. Contacting an experienced licensing attorney to help you through this process and can mean the difference between getting back to helping your patients and a license suspension or revocation.

If you are a veterinarian in Kansas or Missouri and are worried about your license, call attorney Sanger now.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend you. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with licensing issues.