CHAPTER 295

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 184

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 33 OF TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO VETERINARIANS AND ESTABLISHING VETERINARY TECHNICIANS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend §3300 and §3301, Title 24, Delaware Code by designating §3301 as §3300 and §3300 as§ 3301.

Section 2. Amend §3302(3), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the word “Licensed” and inserting in its place the word “Accredited.”

Section 3. Amend §3302(5), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the subsection in its entirety and designating the remaining subsections as (5) through (9).

Section 4. Amend new §3302(5)(a), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the word “prognose” after the word “diagnose” in the first sentence.

Section 5. Amend new §3302(8), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the word “doctor’s”.

Section 6. Amend §3302, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (10) to read:

“(10) Veterinary Technician” shall mean a person who has received a degree from a veterinary technician program or its equivalent.”

Section 7. Amend §3303, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding “Delaware-” before the word “licensed” in the first sentence.

Section 8. Amend §3303(2), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the phrase “or veterinary technician program” after the phrase “veterinary school.”

Section 9. Amend §3303(10), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the word “direct”.

Section 10. Amend §3303(10), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the word “prognosing,” after the word “diagnosing” in the second sentence.

Section 11. Amend §3303, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (11) to read:

“A licensed veterinary technician from performing support activities under the supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities shall not include diagnosing, prognosing, prescribing, performing surgery or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.”

Section 12. Amend §3304(b), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the section in its entirety and inserting a new § 3304(b) to read as follows:

“Section 3304(b) “The Board of Veterinary Medicine shall consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor: 3 professional members who shall be licensed veterinarians; 2 professional members who shall be licensed veterinary technicians appointed so that the terms of the two newly appointed veterinary technicians do not expire in the same year; and 2 public members. To serve on the Board, a public member shall not be nor ever have been a veterinarian or veterinary technician, nor a member of the immediate family of a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have been employed by a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have had a material financial interest in the providing of goods and services to veterinarian or veterinary technicians nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to veterinary medicine or veterinary technicians. Such public member shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.”

Section 13. Amend §3304(g), Title 24, Delaware Code by adding the phrase “or veterinary technicians” after the word “veterinarians.”

Section 14. Amend §3305(c), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the number “3" in the first sentence and inserting a new number “4" in its place.

Section 15. Amend §3306(a)(3), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting it in its entirety and inserting a new §3306(a)(3) to read:

“Section 3306(a)(3) Designate the written national examinations for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, prepared by either the applicable national professional association or by a recognized legitimate national testing service, and determine whether applicants are qualified to take such examinations. The examinations shall be prepared for testing on a national basis, and not specifically prepared at the request of the Board for its individual use. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians applying for licensure shall take the applicable national examination; and both applicants who qualify for original licensure and licensure by reciprocity shall have achieved the passing score on the national examination.”

Section 16. Amend §3306(a)(4), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting this section in its entirety and renumbering the remaining subsections (a)(4) through (a)(10).

Section 17. Amend new §3306(a)(4), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the phrase “or as a veterinary technician” after the word “medicine.”

Section 18. Amend new §3306(a)(7), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the phrase “or as a veterinary technician” after the word “medicine.”

Section 19. Amend new §3306(a)(8), Title 24, Delaware Code by inserting the phrase “or veterinary technicians” after the word “veterinarians,” and by inserting an “s” at the end of the word profession.

Section 20. Amend §3307, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this Section as §3313.

Section 21. Amend §3308, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3307 and inserting the phrase “or veterinary technician” after the word “veterinarian.”

Section 22. Amend §3309, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3314. Further amend subsection (a) by replacing “§3307(a)(3) -(8) with “§3313(a)(3)-(6)”, and by deleting subsections (b) and (c) in their entirety and replacing with the following:

“(b). The applicant has passed the national examination designated by the Board pursuant to §3306 excluding the Clinical Competency Test prior to 1996, 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 national examination designated by the Board was/were not required by this State (in which case, the applicant need only present evidence of passing 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 must posses a certificate issued by a certifying commission approved by the Board.”

Section 23. Amend §3310, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3308.

Section 24. Amend §3311, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section §3309 and by deleting the words “temporary permit” within the heading, and by deleting subsections (d) and (e) in their entirety. Further amend by inserting the words, “or as a veterinary technician” after the word “veterinarian” in subsection “(a)”. Further amend by replacing “§3310” with “§3308” in subsection (a). Further amend by deleting the last sentence in subsection “(a)”, and by inserting the phrase “, unless waived by the board,” after the word “courses” in subsection “(b)”.

Section 25. Amend §3312, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3310 and by replacing the first sentence with the following:

“Anyone desiring to file a complaint against any person practicing veterinary medicine shall file a written complaint with the Division of Professional Regulation.”

Section 26. Amend §3313, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3316. Further amend by replacing within subsection (a) the phrase “A practitioner licensed under this chapter shall be subjected to disciplinary actions set forth in §3314” with “A veterinarian licensed under this subchapter shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions set forth in §3317 of this title, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the veterinarian:” Further amend by replacing the word “a” with the word “any” in the first sentence in subsection (a)(4). Further amend by deleting the word “practitioner” or “practitioner’s” and inserting the word “licensee” or “licensee’s”, as applicable wherever it appears in subsections (a)(4), (a)(5) and (b).

Section 27. Amend §3314, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3317. Further amend subsection “(a)” by replacing “§3313” with “§3316”, and by replacing the word “practitioner” with “licensee”. Further amend by deleting the word “practitioner” or “practitioner’s” and inserting the word “licensee or “licensee’s, as applicable wherever it appears in subsections (a)(2),(3),(4),(5) and subsection (c). Further amend subsection (e) by replacing “chapter” with “subchapter”, and by adding a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

“(f) Where the Board has placed a licensee 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 licensee, the Board, after a hearing on the matter, may suspend or revoke the licensee’s license.”

Section 28. Amend §3315, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3311, and by replacing “§3313" with “§3316 or §3321" in the first sentence. Further amend section (b) and (c) by deleting the word “practitioner” and inserting the word “licensee” wherever it appears therein.

Section 29. Amend §3316, Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting it in its entirety.

Section 30. Amend §3317, Title 24, Delaware Code by renumbering this section as §3312.

Section 31. Amend new §3313(a), Title 24, Delaware Code by replacing the word “chapter” with the word “subchapter” in section “(a)” and in subsection “(a)(7)”.

Section 32. Amend new §3313(a)(1), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the subsection in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

“(1) Has received a degree of “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or its equivalent from a school or college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or if the applicant’s degree is not from an AVMA-accredited school or college, possess a certificate issued by a certifying Commission approved by the Delaware Board.”

Section 33. Amend new §3313(a)(2), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the subsection in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

“(2) Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized examination for veterinarians designated by the Board pursuant to §3306.”

Section 34. Amend new §3313(a)(3) through (a)(7), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting subsection (a)(3) in its entirety and renumbering the remaining subsections as (a)(3) through (a)(6).

Section 35. Amend new §3313(b) through (d), Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting these subsections in their entirety and inserting the following:

“(b) In the event the applicant shall 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 suspension or revocation (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has 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 applicant shall furnish all information regarding such penalties and/or agreements to the Board. The Board may, after a hearing, determine that such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.

(c) In the event the applicant has not taken the national examination designated by the Board pursuant to §3306, the applicant shall sit for the latest examination at such times as determined by the testing service.

(d) 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.

(e) 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 36. Create new §3315, Title 24, Delaware Code having it to read as follows:

Ҥ3315. Temporary license and permit:

(a) Upon payment of the appropriate fee and on submission of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall issue a temporary license to a person who has applied for licensure as a veterinarian under this subsection and who either is being considered for licensure under the reciprocity provision of this subchapter, or, is eligible to take the examination provided for in this subchapter. Such temporary license will be available to an applicant only with respect to the first application for licensure, and the applicant shall use the temporary license only while under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. In all cases, such temporary license shall expire automatically if the applicant fails the examination or fails to sit for the same at the earliest opportunity. In all cases where a temporary license is issued to an applicant for licensure by reciprocity, such temporary license shall expire automatically upon written notice to the applicant by the Board that it proposes to deny such application. Upon expiration, the temporary license shall be surrendered to the Board.

(b) The Board may issue, without examination, a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine in this State, to any nonresident veterinarian validly licensed in another state, territory, district of the United States or foreign country if such veterinarian pays a fee equivalent to one half of the biennial fee for license renewal paid by licensed Delaware veterinarians; provided, however, that such temporary permit shall be issued for a period of not more than 1 year; provided also, that applicants meet the provisions of §3314 of this title for reciprocity applicants.”

Section 37. Create new §3318, Title 24, Delaware Code having it to read as follows:

Ҥ3318. Practicing without a license; penalties.

(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, or that a person not licensed under this chapter is using any name, title, description or designation, either orally or in writing, that will lead to the belief that such person is licensed to practice veterinary medicine as defined in this chapter, 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) A person not currently licensed as a veterinarian under this chapter, when guilty of engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine, or using in connection with the licensee’s own name, or otherwise assuming or using any title or description conveying, or tending to convey the impression that the licensee is qualified to practice veterinary medicine, such offender upon the first offense, shall be fined not less than $500 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. Justice of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this Chapter.”

Section 38. Amend Chapter 33, Title 24, Delaware Code by designating new sections 3300 through 3312, as Subchapter I, General Terms, and by designating new sections 3313 through 3318, as Subchapter II, Veterinarians.

Section 39. Amend Chapter 33, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding a new Subchapter III to read as follows:

“Subchapter III. Veterinary Technicians.

§3319. Qualifications of applicant; report to Attorney General; judicial review.

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

(1) Has received a degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”) or from a foreign veterinary program approved by the AVMA or, for a period not to exceed seven (7) years provided that the Board may by regulation, for reasons stated, shorten the time, has submitted evidence to the Board of one of the following:

(i) A degree from a non-accredited veterinary technician program or other program as defined by the Board’s rules and regulations, combined with practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for the period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations, or

ii) Practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for a period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations.

(2) Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized national examination designated by the Board pursuant to §3306.

(3) Shall not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol that would limit the applicant's ability to practice as a veterinary technician in a manner consistent with the safety of a patient or the public;

(4) Shall not have a criminal conviction record, or pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to practice as a veterinary technician. 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 practice as a veterinary technician;

(5) 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 veterinary technician.

(b) In the event the applicant shall have been the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding his or her practice as a veterinary technician, 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 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 applicant shall furnish all information regarding such penalties and/or agreements to the Board. The Board may, after a hearing, determine that such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.

(c) In the event the applicant has not taken the national examination designated by the Board pursuant to §3306, the applicant shall sit for the latest examination at such times as are determined by the testing service.

(d) 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.

(e) 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.

§3320. Reciprocity, lapsed license, reinstatement and temporary licensure.

(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 § 3319 of this subchapter; and

(b) Has received a degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”) or from a foreign veterinary program approved by the AVMA or, for a period not to exceed seven (7) years provided that the Board may by regulation, for reasons stated, shorten the time, has submitted evidence to the Board of one of the following:

A degree from a non-accredited veterinary technician program or other program as defined by the Board’s rules and regulations, combined with practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for the period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations, or practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for a period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations; and

(c) Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized national examination designated by the Board pursuant to §3306, provided that this requirement does not apply to any applicant under this section who has continuously maintained a license in another state and graduated from an AVMA accredited school prior to 1990.

(d) The Board shall grant a license to an applicant, who was previously licensed as a veterinary technician 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) Upon payment of the appropriate fee and on submission of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board may issue a temporary license to a person who has applied for original or reciprocity licensure as a veterinary technician under this subchapter. Such temporary license will be available to an applicant only with respect to the first application for licensure, and the applicant shall use the temporary license only while under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. In all cases such temporary license shall expire automatically if application for permanent licensure is denied. Upon expiration, the temporary license shall be surrendered to the Board.

(f) 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 veterinary technicians 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.

§3321. Grounds for discipline; procedure.

(a) A veterinary technician licensed under this subchapter shall be subject to disciplinary actions set forth in §3322 of this title, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the veterinary technician:

(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 veterinary technician; 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 veterinary technician to represent himself or herself as a veterinary technician;

(3) Has illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced as a veterinary technician;

(4) Has been convicted of any crime that is substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine as determined by the Board or any offense that would limit the ability of the licensee to carry out the licensee'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 therefore;

(5) Has expressively 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 licensee's ability to perform the work of a veterinary technician;

(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 cruel to animals;

(9) Has violated a lawful provision of this chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder;

(10) Has had his or her license as a veterinary technician 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 1 or more of the acts defined in this chapter. Every person licensed as a veterinary technician in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of this information by the Board of Veterinary Technicians or other comparable agencies in another jurisdiction and to waive all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of such acts or offenses;

(11) Has failed to notify the Board that his or her license as a veterinary technician 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 of Title 29, no license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Board, and no licensee's right to practice as a veterinary technician shall be limited by the Board until such licensee has been given notice, and an opportunity to be heard, in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

§3322. Disciplinary sanctions.

(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it finds that 1 of the conditions or violations set forth in §3321 of this title applies to a licensee regulated by this subchapter:

(1) Issue a letter of reprimand;

(2) Censure of a licensee;

(3) Place a licensee on probationary status, and require the licensee to:

a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters which are the basis of the probation;

b. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board; and/or

c. Continue or renew professional education until the required degree of skill has been attained in those areas which are the basis of the probation;

(4) Suspend a veterinary technician’s license; or

(5) Revoke a veterinary technician’s license.

(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation when it finds that the deficiencies which required such action have been remedied.

(c) The Board may temporarily suspend a veterinary technician’s license in advance of a final adjudication, or during the appeals process; but only in cases where there is a clear and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public if the licensee is allowed to continue to practice. Such suspension may be appealed.

(d) Where a license has been suspended due to a disability of the licensee, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.

(e) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may impose such disciplinary or corrective measures as are authorized under this chapter.

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

§3323. Practicing without a license; penalties.

(a) Where the Board has reason to believe that a person is practicing as a veterinary technician 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, or that a person not licensed under this chapter is using any name, title, description or designation, either orally or in writing, that will lead to the belief that such person is licensed to practice as a veterinary technician as defined in this chapter 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) A person not currently licensed as a veterinary technician under this chapter, when guilty of practicing as a veterinary technician, or using in connection with the licensee’s own name, or otherwise assuming or using any title or description conveying, or tending to convey the impression that the licensee is qualified to practice as a veterinary technician, such offender upon the first offense, shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $400 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. Justice of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this subchapter.”

Section 40. This Act shall take effect on October 1, 2006.

Approved June 27,2006