97-H 5844A
Effective Without the Governor's Signature
Jul. 8, 1997


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Sections 5-25-2, 5-25-7, 5-25-11, 5-25-13 and 5-25-14 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-25 entitled "Veterinary Practice" are hereby amended to read as follows:

5-25-2. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:

(1) "Animal" means any animal other than man and includes, by way of illustration, not limitation, fowl, birds, fish, livestock, and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.

(2) "Department" means the Rhode Island department of health.

(3) "Director" means the director of the Rhode Island department of health.

(4) "Division" means the division of professional regulation within the department of health established in chapter 26 of this title.

(5) "Veterinarian" is a person who practices veterinary medicine.

{ADD (6) "Veterinarian/client/patient relationship" means a relationship where all of the following conditions have been met;

(a) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian.

(b) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary (e.g. tentative) diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s), and/or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.

(c) The veterinarian is readily available for follow-up in cases of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.

(d) The veterinarian maintains records which document patient visits, diagnosis, treatment, and other relevant information.

(7) "Veterinary dentistry" shall mean that part of veterinary science that deals with the prevention and treatment of diseases, developmental conditions and injuries of the teeth, gums and oral cavity in animals. ADD}

5-25-7. Practice of veterinary medicine defined. -- {DEL (a) DEL} Any person shall be regarded as practicing veterinary medicine{ADD , surgery and dentistry ADD} within the meaning of this chapter who, either directly or indirectly, {ADD when he or she does any of the following:

(1) Represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine, veterinary surgery, or veterinary dentistry in any of its branches. ADD}

{ADD (2) ADD} {DEL diagnoses DEL} {ADD Diagnoses ADD} , prognoses, treats, administers, prescribes, operates on, manipulates or applies any drug, biologic, or chemical or any apparatus or appliance for any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound, or physical condition of any animal for the prevention of or to test the presence of any disease, {DEL or who DEL}

{ADD (3) Cuts ADD} {DEL cuts DEL} any tissue, muscle, organ, or structure of any animal for the above-described purposes or purpose or for the purpose of altering the natural condition of any animal or for any other purpose, cause or reason whatsoever {DEL or who holds himself out as being able, available or legally authorized so to do DEL} .

(b) The term "practicing veterinary medicine" does not include:

(1) The calling into the state for consultation of duly licensed or registered veterinarians of any other state with respect of any case under treatment by a veterinarian registered under the provisions of this chapter.

(2) The experimentation or research of a registered physician, dentist or osteopath.

(3) The experimentation and research activities conducted at any hospital, laboratory, or educational institution provided the activities have been approved and authorized by the division within the period of one year prior to the commencement of each separate project or activity or are conducted under the general supervision and control of a registered veterinarian, physician, dentist, or osteopath.

(4) The gratuitous giving of aid or relief to an animal in any accident or emergency, provided the person giving the aid or relief does not represent himself or herself as a registered veterinarian.

(5) The nursing care to animals in the establishment or facilities of a registered veterinarian under his or her general supervision, direction and control by the employees of the veterinarian or the activities of a person assisting a veterinarian during the course of any procedure or treatment.

(6) To a person who is a regular student in a legally chartered college or school of veterinary medicine while in the performance of such duties and activities assigned by his or her instructors and provided there is a licensed veterinarian to supervise those acts.

(7) To a person who is a member of the armed forces of the United States or who is an employee or official of the United States department of agriculture, public health service, or other federal agency or of the state, who while so commissioned or employed, performs official duties.

(8) To a person who shall conduct routine vaccinations, pullorum testing and typhoid testing of poultry and other poultry disease control activity under the supervision of an official state or federal agency or department of agriculture.

5-25-11. Licensing of veterinarians. -- (a) By examination -- the applicant shall be required to pass with a grade determined by the division an examination approved by the division; upon payment of an examination fee of two hundred dollars ($200) every candidate who shall pass that examination, and in the opinion of the division meets the qualifications of section 5-25-10, shall, upon payment of an initial license fee, which shall be equal to the biennial license renewal fee in effect, be issued a license to practice veterinary medicine. Veterinarians licensed under the provisions of chapter 5-25 on August 31, 1985 shall continue to be licensed.

(b) Without examination by endorsement -- a license to practice veterinary medicine may be issued without examination to an applicant who has been duly licensed by examination as a veterinarian under the laws of another state or territory or District of Columbia, if, in the opinion of the division, the applicant meets the qualifications required of veterinarians in this state {DEL . DEL} {ADD , as further defined in rules and regulations. ADD}

{DEL 5-25-13. Temporary licensure. -- DEL} {DEL Any person who has reached the age of eighteen (18) and meets the requirements of section 5-25-10 (1), (2), (3), and (4), may apply to the director for a temporary license. The division may approve the issuance of a temporary license without examination for a period of twelve (12) months, provided that the temporary license shall terminate upon notice that the original examination for licensure has been successfully or unsuccessfully completed. The temporary license shall be restricted to the facilities and establishment maintained by a licensed veterinarian in the state and the applicant shall practice only under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian who is practicing his or her profession at those designated premises. The fee for a temporary licensure shall be one hundred dollars ($100) which shall accompany the application. ADD}

{ADD 5-25-13. Emergency services. -- ADD} {ADD Every veterinary practice shall provide some form of referral for emergency veterinary services when a veterinarian is not available. Such referral, at the minimum, shall be a combination of a posted sign at the veterinary practice entrance and access to emergency veterinary services through the veterinary practice main telephone number.

A veterinarian who advertises veterinary emergency services shall include in all such emergency service advertisements the hours during which such emergency services are provided and the availability of the veterinarian who is to provide emergency service in his or her practice.

The availability of the veterinarian who is to provide emergency service shall be specified as either "veterinarian on premises" or "veterinarian on call".

The phrase "veterinarian on premises" shall mean that there is a veterinarian actually present at the hospital, clinic or other type of veterinary practice, who is prepared to render emergency veterinary services.

The phrase "veterinarian on call" shall mean that a veterinarian is not present at the hospital, clinic or other type of veterinary practice but is able to respond within a reasonable time to request for emergency veterinary services and has been designated to so respond. ADD}

{ADD 5-25-14. Grounds for refusal to issue, refusal to renew, revoke, or suspend a license. -- ADD} The division shall have the power to deny, revoke or suspend any license issued under this chapter or otherwise discipline a licensee upon proof of the following:

(1) Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; conviction of a felony; and conviction of a crime arising out of the practice of veterinary medicine;

(2) Addiction to narcotics, habitual drunkeness, or rendering professional services to a patient while the veterinarian is intoxicated or incapacitated by the use of drugs;

(3) Rendering services while ill with disease in the communicable stage;

(4) Fraud or misrepresentation in any phase of procuring or renewing a license;

(5) Unprofessional conduct which shall include the matters set forth in the section or other matters as further defined in regulations of the division;

(6) Advertising designed to mislead the public;

(7) Representing certain procedures be performed with greater authority or expertise;

(8) Fraud or misrepresentation of treatment procedures or statements regarding the ability to treat;

(9) Fee splitting or kickbacks of any kind, except where services are provided jointly;

(10) Failure to maintain acceptable sanitation standards;

(11) Malpractice, gross negligence, or wanton disregard of accepted professional standards;

(12) Adjudication of mental incompetence; or

(13) Lack of fitness to practice by reason of mental or physical impairment or otherwise.

{ADD (14) Any other grounds to deny, revoke or suspend a license as provided for in the rules and regulations. ADD}

SECTION 2. Chapter 5-25 of the General Laws entitled "Veterinary Practice" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

{ADD 5-25-7.1. Record of animals receiving veterinary services. -- ADD} {ADD A veterinarian subject to the provisions of the chapter shall keep a written record, or a computerized record able to produce a printed copy, of all animals receiving veterinary services, and provide a summary of that record to the owner of animals receiving veterinary services, when requested. The minimum amount of information which shall be included in written or computerized records and summaries shall be as established by rules and regulations. The minimum duration of time for which a licensed veterinarian or their designee shall retain the written record or computerized record shall be determined by rules and regulations.

A radiograph is the property of the veterinary practice in which the veterinarian associated with that practice originally ordered it to be prepared, and it shall be released upon the written request of another veterinarian who has the authorization of the owner of the animal to whom it pertains and such radiograph shall be returned to the original veterinary practice within a reasonable time.

When a patient/owner requests in writing that his or her animal(s)' records and/or radiographs be transferred to another veterinarian, the original veterinarian shall promptly honor such request. The fee charged for the transfer shall not exceed the direct expense incurred to make copies for such veterinary records and/or radiograph(s). ADD}

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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