The act implements recommendations of the department of regulatory agencies (department), as specified in the department's sunset review of and report on the "Colorado Veterinary Practice Act" (practice act), as follows:
- Continues the practice act for 11 years, until September 1, 2033;
- Requires a veterinarian to notify the board of veterinary medicine (board) if the veterinarian suffers from a physical illness or condition or a behavioral or mental health disorder that renders the veterinarian unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety;
- Repeals the requirement that the board send a letter of admonition by certified mail;
- Requires veterinarians to create a written plan for the storage, security, and disposal of patient records; and
- If the board has reasonable cause to believe a veterinarian is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety due to a physical condition, authorizes the board to order the veterinarian to submit to an examination and to suspend the veterinarian's license for failing to comply with the board's order.
The act makes other amendments to the practice act as follows:
- Authorizes a person who is not a licensed veterinarian in this state to administer rabies vaccinations in a clinic setting under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, or through the indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian if the person is working on behalf of an animal shelter for shelter-owned animals, if the person has been trained in rabies vaccine storage, handling, and administration and in the management of adverse events;
- Adds two members to the board who are veterinary technicians;
- Requires credit hours of practice act jurisprudence as part of veterinarians' continuing education program and permits veterinarians to take nonbiomedical courses as part of the program; and
- Repeals and reenacts the veterinary peer health assistance program to allow veterinary technicians access to the program and to require veterinary professionals, including veterinary technicians, to self-refer to the program upon arrest for a drug- or alcohol-related crime.
The act also creates the regulation of veterinary technicians. Effective January 1, 2024, a person who practices as a veterinary technician in this state must be registered by the board. To be registered, a person must have and maintain a credential in good standing from a national veterinary technician credentialing organization. For an individual who is not yet nationally credentialed but who has been practicing as a veterinary technician, the board may issue a provisional registration of limited duration under specified circumstances. Veterinary technicians are subject to discipline by the board for engaging in conduct that is grounds for discipline.
The act gives title protection to veterinary technicians and grants standard registration, rule-making, and disciplinary powers to the board. The act also repeals the regulation of veterinary technicians on September 1, 2033, subject to and consistent with the sunset review of the practice act.
The act replaces the term "humane society" with "animal shelter" to update and make terminology in the practice act and other statutes consistent.
For the 2022-23 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $80,708 to from the division of professions and occupations cash fund to the department for use by the division of professions and occupations to implement the act.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)