CHAPTER 207

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 157

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 33, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO VETERINARIANS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. Amend §3300, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding the words “, both licensed and formerly licensed” immediately following the word “practitioners” and before the “.” (period).

Section 2. Amend §3302, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

Ҥ3302. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) ‘Animal’ shall mean any animal other than man or woman, and includes fowl, birds, fish and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.

(2) ‘Board’ shall mean the State Board of Veterinary Medicine established in this Chapter.

(3) ‘Licensed veterinary medicine school’ shall mean any veterinary college or division of a university or college that offers the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or its equivalent and that conforms to the standards required for accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

(4) 'Division' shall mean the state Division of Professional Regulation.

(5) ‘Person’ shall mean any individual, firm, partnership, association, joint venture, cooperative and corporation, or any other group or combination acting in concert, whether or not acting as a principal, trustee, fiduciary, receiver, or as any other kind of legal or personal representative, or as the successor in interest, assignee, agent, factor, servant, employee, director, officer, or any other representative of such person.

(6) ‘Practice of veterinary medicine’ shall mean:

a. To diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve or prevent animal disease, deformity, defect, injury or other physical or mental conditions, including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, for testing for pregnancy or for correcting sterility or infertility, or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the above;

b. To represent directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to do any act described in paragraph a. of this subsection;

c. To use any title, words, abbreviation or letters in a manner or under circumstances, which induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act, described in paragraph a. of this subsection, except where such person is a veterinarian.

(7) ‘State’ shall mean the state of Delaware.

(8) ‘Veterinarian’ shall mean a person who has received a doctor’s degree in veterinary medicine from a school of veterinary medicine.

(9) ‘Veterinary medicine’ shall include veterinary surgery, obstetrics, dentistry and all other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine.”

Section 3. Amend subsection (9), §3303, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the period at the end of said subsection and substituting a semi-colon (;) in lieu thereof.

Section 4. Amend §3303, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (10) which new subsection shall read as follows:

“(10) Any person from performing support activities under the direct supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities shall not include diagnosing, prescribing, inducing anesthesia, performing surgery, or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.”

Section 5. Amend subsection (b), §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the words “, and the member shall no longer be eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless lawfully appointed.” and by substituting the words “; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.”

Section 6. Amend subsection (f), §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety, and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(f) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any state or national professional association of veterinarians. Board members are prohibited from serving as an officer of their professional association’s Political Action Committee (PAC).”

Section 7. Amend subsection (g), §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety, and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(g) The provisions set forth in Chapter 58, Title 29, Delaware Code, shall apply to all members of the Board.”

Section 8. Amend subsection (h), §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code, by adding the words “according to Division of Professional Regulation policy” immediately following the word “travel” and before the “;” (semi-colon).

Section 9. Amend subsection (a), §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the subsection designation “(a)” and by substituting the designation “(b)” in lieu thereof; and by further redesignating each succeeding subsection designation accordingly.

Section 10. Amend §3304, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (a), which new subsection shall read as follows:

“(a) There is created a State Board of Veterinary Medicine which shall administer and enforce this Chapter.”

Section 11. Amend subsection (d), §3305, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the words “such hearing shall be recorded and transcribed by the Division.” and by substituting the following in lieu thereof: “a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.”

Section 12. Amend paragraph (1), subsection (a), §3306, Title 24, Delaware Code, by adding the following words after the word “given” and before the “.” (period): “; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act of this State”.

Section 13. Amend paragraph (2), subsection (a), §3306, Title 24, Delaware Code, by adding the following words after the word “applicants” and before the “;” (semi-colon): “, and process all applications”.

Section 14. Amend paragraph (3), subsection (a), §3306, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the words “, except applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity;” and by substituting the following words in lieu thereof: “; applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity shall have achieved the passing score on the national examination, including the Clinical Competency Test (CCT), unless the CCT was not required by this State at the time of the applicant’s initial licensure;”

Section 15. Amend paragraph (4), subsection (a), §3306, Title 24, Delaware Code, by adding the following sentence immediately following the “;” (semi-colon): “the Board shall adopt the administration, grading procedures, and passing score of the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine, or its successor, and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).”

Section 16. Amend §3306, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking present paragraphs (5) through (11) in their entirety, and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

"(5) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice veterinary medicine in Delaware in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this Chapter;

(6) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses;

(7) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal;

(8) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice veterinary medicine, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this Chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;

(9) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed veterinarians, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division for investigation pursuant to §8807, Title 29, Delaware Code; and, assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;

(10) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to Chapter 101, Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

(11) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed.”

Section 17. Amend §3307, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety, and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

Ҥ3307. Qualifications of applicant; report to Attorney General; judicial review.

(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure as a veterinarian under this Chapter shall submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person:

(1) has received a degree of ‘Doctor of Veterinary Medicine,’ or its equivalent, from a school or college approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or possesses a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG), or its successor, or a Certificate of Qualification issued by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, or its successor.

(2) has achieved the passing score on the written standardized examination for veterinarians, including the latest clinical competency test, developed by the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine, or its successor, and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards;

(3) shall not have been the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding his or her practice of veterinary medicine, including but not limited to fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocation, (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has not entered into any ‘consent agreements’ which contain conditions placed by a Board on his/her professional conduct and practice, including any voluntary surrender of a license. The Board may, after a hearing, determine whether such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure; or

4) has not had his or her United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) privileges restricted or revoked; or

5) shall not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol that would limit the applicant’s ability to undertake the practice of veterinary medicine in a manner consistent with the safety of a patient or the public;

6) shall not have been convicted of a felony;

7) shall not have a criminal conviction record, or pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of veterinary medicine. Applicants who have criminal conviction records or pending criminal charges shall require appropriate authorities to provide information about the record or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination whether the record or charge is substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine.

(8) shall not have engaged in any of the acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this Chapter; and, has no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against him or her in any jurisdiction where the applicant has previously been or currently is licensed as a veterinarian.

(b) In the event the applicant has not taken the national examination, including the clinical competency test, administered by the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine (NBECVM), or its successor, the Board shall administer the latest examination at such times as are determined by the testing service. Such written examination shall be obtained from, and corrected by, the NBECVM.

(c) Where the Board has found to its satisfaction that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent, or that false information has been intentionally supplied, it shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.

(d) Where the application of a person has been refused or rejected and such applicant feels that the Board has acted without justification; has imposed higher or different standards for the applicant than for other applicants or licensees; or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.”

Section 18. Amend §3308, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

Ҥ3308. Records.

The Division of Professional Regulation shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as a veterinarian, and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board’s rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.”

Section 19. Amend §3309, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c), in their entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(a) Upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant, who shall present proof of current licensure in ‘good standing’ in another state, the District of Columbia, or territory of the United States. A license in ‘good standing’ is defined in §3307(a)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7) and (8), Title 24 of the Delaware Code; and

(b) The applicant has passed the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT) as prepared under the authority of the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine (NBECVM), or its predecessor organization, the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, or any subsequent national licensing examination prepared under the authority of the NBEC or the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AACSB), or an equivalent examination(s) as established by this State’s veterinary licensing body, unless at the time the applicant became licensed in the state, District of Columbia, or territory of the United States, from which he or she is applying, the NBE and/or CCT or subsequent examinations prepared under the authority of the NBECVM was/were not required by this State (in which case the applicant need only have passed whatever national licensing examinations were required of entry level licensees in this State at that time).

(c) Applicants who are not graduates of schools of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) must possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) or a Certificate of Qualification issued by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, unless at the time such applicants became licensed in the State, District of Columbia, or territory of the United States, an ECFVG certificate was not required by this State.

(d) The Board shall grant a license to an applicant, who was previously licensed as a veterinarian in this State, and who has let his or her license lapse, subject to the applicant’s meeting the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, and continuing education requirements as provided for in the Board’s rules and regulations.

(e) In the event that a disciplinary proceeding or unresolved complaint is pending, the applicant shall not be licensed in this State until the proceeding or complaint has been resolved. Applicants for licensure as veterinarians in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of such information and to waive all objections to the admissibility of such information as evidence at any hearing or other proceeding to which the applicant may be subject. Each application for licensure shall be accompanied by payment of the application fee.”

Section 20. Amend subsection (a), §3310, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the words “calendar year” as the same appear in said subsection and by substituting in lieu thereof the words “licensure biennium”.

Section 21. Amend subsection (a), §3310, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the words “coming year” as the same appear in said subsection and by substituting in lieu thereof the words “licensure biennium”.

Section 22. Amend subsection (b), §3310, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 23. Amend subsection (a), §3310, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the subsection designation "(a)".

Section 24. Amend subsection (a), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant, who meets the requirements of this Chapter for licensure as a veterinarian, and who pays the fee established under §3310 of this Chapter. Prior to practicing in this State, each applicant shall file for and obtain an occupational license from the Division of Revenue in accordance with Chapter 23, Title 30, Delaware Code.”

Section 25. Amend subsection (b), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the following sentence in its entirety: "The Board shall charge a late fee, which shall be 50% of the renewal fee.".

Section 26. Amend subsection (c), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(c) A licensee, upon written request, may be placed in an inactive status. The renewal fee of such person shall be prorated in accordance with the amount of time such person was inactive. Such person may reenter practice upon written notification to the Board of the intent to do so and completion of continuing education as required in the Board’s rules and regulations.”

Section 27. Amend subsection (d), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking the following sentence in its entirety: “A temporary license may be renewed once.”

Section 28. Amend subsection (e), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking the “.” (period) at the end of said subsection and by adding the following words:

“; provided also, that applicants meet the provisions of §3309 of this Chapter for reciprocity applicants.”.

Section 29. Amend subsection (f), §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 30. Amend §3312, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking subsections (a) and (b) in their entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“A practitioner or member of the public desiring to file a complaint against a practitioner or licensee regulated by the Board shall file a written complaint with the Division of Professional Regulation. All complaints shall be received and investigated by the Division of Professional Regulation in accordance with §8807, Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and the Division shall be responsible for issuing a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.”

Section 31. Amend §3313, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking subsections (a) through (e) in their entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(a) A practitioner licensed under this Chapter shall be subject to disciplinary actions set forth in §3314 of this Chapter, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the veterinarian:

(1) has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct as defined in the Board's rules and regulations;

(2) has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license as a veterinarian; has impersonated another person holding a license, or allowed another person to use his or her license, or aided or abetted a person not licensed as a veterinarian to represent himself or herself as a veterinarian;

(3) has illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced veterinary medicine;

(4) has been convicted of a felony or any offense that would limit the ability of the practitioner to carry out the practitioner’s professional duties with due regard for the health and safety of animals. A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction shall be conclusive evidence therefor;

(5) has excessively used or abused drugs; excessive use or abuse of drugs shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances, or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs the practitioner’s ability to perform the work of a veterinarian;

(6) has engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception; engaged in the restraint of competition; or participated in price-fixing activities;

(7) has willfully violated any privileged communication;

(8) has been fraudulent or dishonest in the application or reporting of any test for disease in animals;

(9) has failed to keep his or her veterinary premises and equipment in clean and sanitary condition;

(10) has failed to report, as required by law, or has made a false report of any contagious or infectious disease;

(11) has been dishonest or negligent in the inspection of foodstuffs, or in the issuance of health or inspection certificates;

(12) has been cruel to animals;

(13) has violated a lawful provision of this Chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder;

(14) has had his or her license as a veterinarian suspended or revoked, or other disciplinary action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for such action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record; and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate authority in the other jurisdiction constitute one or more of the acts defined in this Chapter. Every person licensed as a veterinarian in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of this information by the Board of Veterinarians or other comparable agencies in another jurisdiction and to waive all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of such acts or offenses;

(15) has failed to notify the Board that his or her license as a veterinarian in another State has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, surrender, suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

(b) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter and Subchapter IV, Chapter 101, Title 29, Delaware Code, no license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Board, and no practitioner’s right to practice veterinary medicine shall be limited by the Board until such practitioner has been given notice, and an opportunity to be heard, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.”

Section 32. Amend §3315, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c) in their entirety, and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(a) If a complaint is filed with the Board pursuant to §8807, Title 29 of the Delaware Code, alleging violation of §3313 of this Title, the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall be given and the hearing conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101, Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

(b) All hearings shall be informal without use of rules of evidence. If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this Chapter, as it deems necessary. The Board’s decision shall be in writing and shall include its reasons for such decision. The Board’s decision shall be mailed immediately to the practitioner.

(c) Where the practitioner is in disagreement with the action of the Board, the practitioner may appeal the Board’s decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of service, or of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to the practitioner. Upon such appeal the Court shall hear the evidence on the record. Stays shall be granted in accordance with §10144, Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

Section 33. Amend §3316, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking subsections (a), (b) and (c) in their entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“(a) Where the Board has reason to believe that a person is practicing veterinary medicine within this State without having lawfully obtained a license, or that a person previously licensed under this Chapter is engaged in a practice regulated by this Chapter, notwithstanding that the person’s license has been suspended or revoked, the Board shall submit a written complaint to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation. If the investigation confirms such unlawful practice, the Board shall make a formal complaint to the Attorney General who may issue a cease and desist order. The complaint and/or order shall include all evidence known to, or in the possession of, the Board.

(b) Where the Board has placed a practitioner on probationary status under certain restrictions or conditions, and the Board has determined that such restrictions or conditions are being or have been violated by the practitioner, the Board, after a hearing on the matter, may suspend or revoke the practitioner’s license.

(c) Where a person not currently licensed as a veterinarian under this Chapter is convicted of unlawfully practicing veterinary medicine in violation thereof, such offender upon the first offense, shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, and the offender shall pay all costs. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The Court shall order all fees received for unlawful service to be refunded.

(1) Justice of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this Chapter.

(2) Any person convicted of any such offense before a Justice of the Peace or in any court of competent jurisdiction, other than the Superior Court, may appeal to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction was had upon giving bond in the sum of $200 to this State with surety satisfactory to such justice or trial court; provided, however, that the appeal is taken and bond given within seven days from the time of the conviction.”

Section 34. Amend §3317, Title 24, Delaware Code, by striking said section in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

Ҥ3317. Reinstatement of a suspended license; removal from probationary status; replacement of license.

(a) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the prescribed corrective actions and otherwise satisfied all of the conditions of the suspension and/or the probation.

(b) Applicants for reinstatement must pay the appropriate fees and submit documentation required by the Board as evidence that all the conditions of a suspension and/or probation have been met. Proof that the applicant has met the continuing education requirements of this Chapter may also be required, as appropriate.

(c) A new license to replace any license lost, destroyed or mutilated may be issued subject to the rules of the Board. A charge set by the Division shall be made for such issuance.”

Section 35. Amend §3318, Title 24, Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Approved July 20,1999