474.201 Purpose.—The Legislature finds that the practice of veterinary medicine is potentially dangerous to the public health and safety if conducted by incompetent and unlicensed practitioners. The legislative purpose in enacting this chapter is to ensure that every veterinarian practicing in this state meet minimum requirements for safe practice. It is the legislative intent that veterinarians who are not normally competent or who otherwise present a danger to the public shall be disciplined or prohibited from practicing in this state.
(1) “Animal” means any mammal other than a human being or any bird, amphibian, fish, or reptile, wild or domestic, living or dead.
(2) “Board” means the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(3) “Client” means the owner or caretaker of an animal who arranges for its veterinary care.
(4) “Department” means the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
(5) “Immediate supervision” or words of similar purport mean a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine is on the premises whenever veterinary services are being provided.
(6) “Limited-service veterinary medical practice” means offering or providing veterinary services at any location that has a primary purpose other than that of providing veterinary medical service at a permanent or mobile establishment permitted by the board; provides veterinary medical services for privately owned animals that do not reside at that location; operates for a limited time; and provides limited types of veterinary medical services.
(7) “Mobile veterinary establishment” and “mobile clinic” mean a mobile unit which contains the same treatment facilities as are required of a permanent veterinary establishment or which has entered into a written agreement with another veterinary establishment to provide any required facilities not available in the mobile unit. The terms do not refer to the use of a car, truck, or other motor vehicle by a veterinarian making a house call.
(8) “Patient” means any animal for which the veterinarian practices veterinary medicine.
(9) “Practice of veterinary medicine” means diagnosing the medical condition of animals and prescribing, dispensing, or administering drugs, medicine, appliances, applications, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease thereof; performing any manual procedure for the diagnosis of or treatment for pregnancy or fertility or infertility of animals; or representing oneself by the use of titles or words, or undertaking, offering, or holding oneself out, as performing any of these functions. The term includes the determination of the health, fitness, or soundness of an animal.
(10) “Responsible supervision” or words of similar purport mean the control, direction, and regulation by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine of the duties involving veterinary services which she or he delegates to unlicensed personnel.
(11) “Veterinarian” means a health care practitioner who is licensed to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in Florida under the authority of this chapter.
(12) “Veterinarian/client/patient relationship” means a relationship where the veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal and its need for medical treatment.
(13) “Veterinary medicine” includes, with respect to animals, surgery, acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, physical therapy, radiology, theriogenology, and other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 1, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 127, ch. 94-119; s. 157, ch. 94-218; s. 353, ch. 97-103; s. 43, ch. 2000-356.
474.203 Exemptions.—This chapter does not apply to:
(1) Any faculty member practicing only in conjunction with teaching duties at a school or college of veterinary medicine located in this state and accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. However, this exemption applies only to such a faculty member who does not hold a valid license issued under this chapter but who is a graduate of a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education or a school or college recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates. The faculty member exemption automatically expires when such school or college terminates the faculty member from such teaching duties. On December 31 of each year, such school or college shall provide the board with a written list of all faculty who are exempt from this chapter. Such school or college shall also notify the board in writing of any additions or deletions to such list.
(2) A person practicing as an intern or resident veterinarian who does not hold a valid license issued under this chapter and who is a graduate in training at a school or college of veterinary medicine located in this state and accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education or a school or college recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates. Such intern or resident must be a graduate of a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education or a school or college of veterinary medicine recognized by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates of the American Veterinary Medical Association. This exemption expires when such intern or resident completes or is terminated from such training. Each school or college at which such intern or resident is in training shall, on July 1 of each year, provide the board with a written list of all such interns or residents designated for this exemption, and the school or college shall also notify the board of any additions or deletions to the list.
(3) A student in a school or college of veterinary medicine while in the performance of duties assigned by her or his instructor or when working as a preceptor under the immediate supervision of a licensee, if such preceptorship is required for graduation from an accredited school or college of veterinary medicine. The licensed veterinarian is responsible for all acts performed by a preceptor under her or his supervision.
(4) Any doctor of veterinary medicine in the employ of a state agency or the United States Government while actually engaged in the performance of her or his official duties; however, this exemption does not apply to such person when the person is not engaged in carrying out her or his official duties or is not working at the installations for which her or his services were engaged.
(5)(a) Any person, or the person’s regular employee, administering to the ills or injuries of her or his own animals, including, but not limited to, castration, spaying, and dehorning of herd animals, unless title is transferred or employment provided for the purpose of circumventing this law. 1This exemption does not apply to any person licensed as a veterinarian in another state or foreign jurisdiction and practicing temporarily in this state. However, only a veterinarian may immunize or treat an animal for diseases that are communicable to humans and that are of public health significance.
(b) A person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to assist with herd management and animal husbandry tasks for herd and flock animals, including castration, dehorning, parasite control, and debeaking, or a person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to provide farriery and manual hand floating of teeth on equines. This exemption does not apply to any person who has been convicted of a violation of chapter 828 that relates to animal cruelty or a similar offense in another jurisdiction.
(6) State agencies, accredited schools, institutions, foundations, business corporations or associations, physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery in all its branches, graduate doctors of veterinary medicine, or persons under the direct supervision thereof, which or who conduct experiments and scientific research on animals in the development of pharmaceuticals, biologicals, serums, or methods of treatment, or techniques for the diagnosis or treatment of human ailments, or when engaged in the study and development of methods and techniques directly or indirectly applicable to the problems of the practice of veterinary medicine.
(7) Any veterinary aide, nurse, laboratory technician, preceptor, or other employee of a licensed veterinarian who administers medication or who renders auxiliary or supporting assistance under the responsible supervision of a licensed veterinarian, including those tasks identified by rule of the board requiring immediate supervision. However, the licensed veterinarian is responsible for all such acts performed under this subsection by persons under her or his supervision.
(8) A veterinarian, licensed by and actively practicing veterinary medicine in another state, who is board certified in a specialty recognized by the board and who responds to a request of a veterinarian licensed in this state to assist with the treatment on a specific case of a specific animal or with the treatment on a specific case of the animals of a single owner, as long as the veterinarian licensed in this state requests the other veterinarian’s presence. A veterinarian who practices under this subsection is not eligible to apply for a premises permit under s. 474.215.
For the purposes of chapters 465 and 893, persons exempt pursuant to subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (4) are deemed to be duly licensed practitioners authorized by the laws of this state to prescribe drugs or medicinal supplies.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 32, 34, 62, ch. 80-406; ss. 20, 21, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 3, ch. 83-265; ss. 2, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 2, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 108, ch. 92-149; s. 354, ch. 97-103; s. 44, ch. 2000-356; s. 1, ch. 2006-135; s. 2, ch. 2010-87; s. 34, ch. 2010-106; s. 64, ch. 2012-5.
1Note.—As amended by s. 34, ch. 2010-106. As amended by s. 2, ch. 2010-87, the sentence reads: “This exemption does not apply to unlicensed veterinarians practicing temporarily in the state.”
474.204 Board of Veterinary Medicine.—
(1) To carry out the provisions of this chapter, there is created within the department the Board of Veterinary Medicine consisting of seven members, who shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
(2) Five members of the board shall be licensed veterinarians. Two members of the board shall be laypersons who are not and have never been veterinarians or members of any closely related profession or occupation.
(3) All provisions of chapter 455 relating to activities of regulatory boards shall apply.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 158, ch. 94-218; s. 118, ch. 98-166; s. 179, ch. 2000-160.
474.205 Headquarters.—The board shall maintain its official headquarters in the City of Tallahassee.
474.2065 Fees.—The board, by rule, shall establish fees for application and examination, reexamination, license renewal, inactive status, renewal of inactive status, license reactivation, periodic inspection of veterinary establishments, and duplicate copies of licenses, certificates, and permits. The fee for the initial application and examination may not exceed $650 plus the actual per applicant cost to the department for purchase of portions of the examination from the Professional Examination Service for the American Veterinary Medical Association or a similar national organization. The fee for licensure by endorsement may not exceed $500. The fee for temporary licensure may not exceed $200. The board shall establish fees that are adequate to ensure its continued operation and to fund the proportionate expenses incurred by the department which are allocated to the regulation of veterinarians. Fees shall be based on departmental estimates of the revenue required to administer this chapter and the provisions relating to the regulation of veterinarians.
History.—ss. 10, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 23, ch. 88-205; s. 49, ch. 89-162; s. 3, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 128, ch. 94-119.
474.207 Licensure by examination.—
(1) Any person desiring to be licensed as a veterinarian shall apply to the department to take a licensure examination. The board may by rule adopt use of a national examination in lieu of part or all of the examination required by this section, with a reasonable passing score to be set by rule of the board.
(2) The department shall license each applicant who the board certifies has:
(a) Completed the application form and remitted an examination fee set by the board.
(b)1. Graduated from a college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education; or
2. Graduated from a college of veterinary medicine listed in the American Veterinary Medical Association Roster of Veterinary Colleges of the World and obtained a certificate from the Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates.
(c) Successfully completed the examination provided by the department for this purpose, or an examination determined by the board to be equivalent.
(d) Demonstrated knowledge of the laws and rules governing the practice of veterinary medicine in Florida in a manner designated by rules of the board.
The department shall not issue a license to any applicant who is under investigation in any state or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia for an act which would constitute a violation of this chapter until the investigation is complete and disciplinary proceedings have been terminated, at which time the provisions of s. 474.214 shall apply.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (2)(b), an applicant shall be deemed to have met the education requirements for licensure upon submission of evidence that the applicant meets one of the following:
(a) The applicant was certified for examination by the board prior to October 1, 1989; or
(b) The applicant immigrated to the United States after leaving her or his home country because of political reasons, provided such country is located in the Western Hemisphere and lacks diplomatic relations with the United States; and
1. Was a Florida resident immediately preceding her or his application for licensure;
2. Demonstrates to the board, through submission of documentation verified by the applicant’s respective professional association in exile, that she or he received a professional degree in veterinary medicine from a college or university located in the country from which she or he emigrated. However, the board may not require receipt transcripts from the Republic of Cuba as a condition of eligibility under this section; and
3. Lawfully practiced her or his profession for at least 3 years.
(4) Applicants certified for examination or reexamination under subsection (3) who fail the examination three times subsequent to October 1, 1989, shall be required to demonstrate to the board that they meet the requirements of paragraph (2)(b) prior to any further reexamination or certification for licensure.
(5) An unlicensed doctor of veterinary medicine who has graduated from an approved college or school of veterinary medicine and has completed all parts of the examination for licensure is permitted, while awaiting the results of such examination for licensure or while awaiting issuance of the license, to practice under the immediate supervision of a licensed veterinarian. A person who fails any part of the examination may not continue to practice, except in the same capacity as other nonlicensed veterinary employees, until she or he passes the examination and is eligible for licensure.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 33, 34, 62, ch. 80-406; ss. 19, 21, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 3, ch. 83-265; s. 54, ch. 83-329; ss. 3, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 1, ch. 87-333; s. 45, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 129, ch. 94-119; s. 355, ch. 97-103; s. 47, ch. 2000-356.
474.211 Renewal of license.—
(1) The department shall renew a license upon receipt of the renewal application and fee and an affidavit of compliance with continuing education requirements set by rule of the board.
(2) The department shall adopt rules establishing a procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.
(3) The board may by rule prescribe continuing education, not to exceed 30 hours biennially, as a condition for renewal of a license or certificate. The criteria for such programs, providers, and courses shall be approved by the board.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; s. 3, ch. 80-291; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 5, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 225, ch. 94-119; s. 45, ch. 2000-356.
474.2125 Temporary license.—
(1) The board shall adopt rules providing for the issuance of a temporary license to a licensed veterinarian of another state for the purpose of enabling her or him to provide veterinary medical services in this state for the animals of a specific owner or, as may be needed in an emergency as defined in s. 252.34(4), for the animals of multiple owners, provided the applicant would qualify for licensure by endorsement under s. 474.217. No temporary license shall be valid for more than 30 days after its issuance, and no license shall cover more than the treatment of the animals of one owner except in an emergency as defined in s. 252.34(4). After the expiration of 30 days, a new license is required.
(2) Each application for a temporary license shall state the names of all persons who are to enter this state and shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount established by the board.
(3) Upon certification of the applicant by the board, the department shall issue a temporary license to the applicant.
(4) The application for a temporary license shall constitute the appointment of the Department of State as an agent of the applicant for service of process in any action or proceeding against the applicant arising out of any transaction or operation connected with, or incidental to, the practice of veterinary medicine for which the temporary license was issued.
History.—ss. 11, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 130, ch. 94-119; s. 356, ch. 97-103; s. 65, ch. 2012-5; s. 4, ch. 2016-198.
474.213 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) No person shall:
(a) Lead the public to believe that such person is licensed as a veterinarian, or is engaged in the licensed practice of veterinary medicine, without such person holding a valid, active license pursuant to this chapter;
(b) Use the name or title “veterinarian” when the person has not been licensed pursuant to this chapter;
(c) Present as her or his own the license of another;
(d) Give false or forged evidence to the board or a member thereof for the purpose of obtaining a license;
(e) Use or attempt to use a veterinarian’s license which has been suspended or revoked;
(f) Knowingly employ unlicensed persons in the practice of veterinary medicine;
(g) Knowingly conceal information relative to violations of this chapter;
(h) Obtain or attempt to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine by fraudulent representation;
(i) Practice veterinary medicine in this state, unless the person holds a valid, active license to practice veterinary medicine pursuant to this chapter;
(j) Sell or offer to sell a diploma conferring a degree from a veterinary school or college, or a license issued pursuant to this chapter, or procure such diploma or license with the intent that it shall be used as evidence of that which the document stands for by a person other than the one upon whom it was conferred or to whom it was granted; or
(k) Knowingly operate a veterinary establishment or premises without having a premise permit issued under s. 474.215.
(2) A person who violates any provision of this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 4, 5, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 7, ch. 91-176; s. 105, ch. 91-224; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 131, ch. 94-119; s. 63, ch. 95-144; s. 357, ch. 97-103.
474.214 Disciplinary proceedings.—
(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:
(a) Attempting to procure a license to practice veterinary medicine by bribery, by fraudulent representations, or through an error of the department or the board.
(b) Having a license or the authority to practice veterinary medicine revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of any jurisdiction, including any agency or subdivision thereof. The licensing authority’s acceptance of a veterinarian’s relinquishment of a license, stipulation, consent order, or other settlement, offered in response to or in anticipation of the filing of administrative charges against the veterinarian’s license or authority to practice, shall be construed as action against the veterinarian’s license or authority to practice.
(c) Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of veterinary medicine or the ability to practice veterinary medicine. Any crime which demonstrates a lack of regard for animal life relates to the ability to practice veterinary medicine. In addition, crimes relating to the ability to practice veterinary medicine shall include, but not be limited to, crimes involving any violation of state or federal drug laws.
(d) Making or filing a report or record which the licensee knows to be false, intentionally or negligently failing to file a report or record required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing, or inducing another person to impede or obstruct such filing. Such reports or records shall include only those which are signed in the capacity of a licensed veterinarian.
(e) Advertising goods or services in a manner which is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.
(f) Violating any provision of this chapter or chapter 455, a rule of the board or department, or a lawful order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing, or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.
(g) Practicing with a revoked, suspended, inactive, or delinquent license.
(h) Being unable to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of illness, drunkenness, use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other material or substance or as a result of any mental or physical condition. In enforcing this paragraph, upon a finding by the secretary, the secretary’s designee, or the probable cause panel of the board that probable cause exists to believe that the licensee is unable to practice the profession because of the reasons stated in this paragraph, the department shall have the authority to compel a licensee to submit to a mental or physical examination by a physician designated by the department. If the licensee refuses to comply with the department’s order, the department may file a petition for enforcement in the circuit court of the circuit in which the licensee resides or does business. The licensee shall not be named or identified by initials in any other public court records or documents and the enforcement proceedings shall be closed to the public. The department shall be entitled to the summary procedure provided in s. 51.011. A licensee affected under this paragraph shall be afforded an opportunity at reasonable intervals to demonstrate that she or he can resume the competent practice for which she or he is licensed with reasonable skill and safety to patients. Neither the record of proceedings nor the orders entered by the board in any proceedings under this paragraph shall be used against a licensee in any other proceedings.
(i) Judicially determined mental incompetency. However, a license suspended for this cause may be reinstated upon legal restoration of the competency of the individual whose license was so suspended.
(j) Knowingly maintaining a professional connection or association with any person who is in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules of the board or department. However, if the licensee verifies that the person is actively participating in a board-approved program for the treatment of a physical or mental condition, the licensee is required only to report such person to the consultant.
(k) Paying or receiving kickbacks, rebates, bonuses, or other remuneration for receiving a patient or client or for referring a patient or client to another provider of veterinary services or goods.
(l) Performing or prescribing unnecessary or unauthorized treatment.
(m) Fraud in the collection of fees from consumers or any person, agency, or organization paying fees to practitioners.
(n) Attempting to restrict competition in the field of veterinary medicine other than for the protection of the public. However, this provision shall not apply to testimony made in good faith at a hearing or other proceeding in which the subject is the revocation of a license or a lesser penalty.
(o) Fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or misconduct, in or related to the practice of veterinary medicine.
(p) Conviction on a charge of cruelty to animals.
(q) Permitting or allowing another to use a veterinarian’s license for the purpose of treating or offering to treat animals.
(r) Being guilty of incompetence or negligence by failing to practice medicine with that level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized by a reasonably prudent veterinarian as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.
(s) Willfully making any misrepresentations in connection with the inspection of food for human consumption.
(t) Fraudulently issuing or using any false health certificate, vaccination certificate, test chart, or other blank form used in the practice of veterinary medicine relating to the presence or absence of animal disease or transporting animals or issuing any false certificate relating to the sale of products of animal origin for human consumption.
(u) Fraud or dishonesty in applying, treating, or reporting on tuberculin, diagnostic, or other biological tests.
(v) Failing to keep the equipment and premises of the business establishment in a clean and sanitary condition, having a premises permit suspended or revoked pursuant to s. 474.215, or operating or managing premises that do not comply with requirements established by rule of the board.
(w) Practicing veterinary medicine at a location for which a valid premises permit has not been issued when required under s. 474.215.
(x) Refusing to permit the department to inspect the business premises of the licensee during regular business hours.
(y) Using the privilege of ordering, prescribing, or making available medicinal drugs or drugs as defined in chapter 465, or controlled substances as defined in chapter 893, for use other than for the specific treatment of animal patients for which there is a documented veterinarian/client/patient relationship. Pursuant thereto, the veterinarian shall:
1. Have sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal, which means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and caring of the animal and has recently seen the animal or has made medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
2. Be available or provide for followup care and treatment in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.
3. Maintain records which document patient visits, diagnosis, treatment, and other relevant information required under this chapter.
(z) Providing, prescribing, ordering, or making available for human use medicinal drugs or drugs as defined in chapter 465, controlled substances as defined in chapter 893, or any material, chemical, or substance used exclusively for animal treatment.
(aa) Failing to report to the department any person the licensee knows to be in violation of this chapter or of the rules of the department or board. However, if the licensee verifies that the person is actively participating in a board-approved program for the treatment of a physical or mental condition, the licensee is required only to report such person to the consultant.
(bb) Violating any of the requirements of chapter 499, the Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act; 21 U.S.C. ss. 301-392, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; 21 U.S.C. ss. 821 et seq., the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, more commonly known as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act; or chapter 893.
(cc) Failing to provide adequate radiation safeguards.
(dd) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee.
(ee) Failing to keep contemporaneously written medical records as required by rule of the board.
(ff) Prescribing or dispensing a legend drug as defined in chapter 499, including any controlled substance, inappropriately or in excessive or inappropriate quantities.
(gg) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law.
(hh) Delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified by training, experience, or licensure to perform them.
(ii) Presigning blank prescription forms.
(jj) Failing to report to the board within 30 days, in writing, any action set forth in paragraph (b) that has been taken against the practitioner’s license to practice veterinary medicine by any jurisdiction, including any agency or subdivision thereof.
(kk) Aiding or assisting another person in violating any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted pursuant thereto.
(ll) Failing to respond within 60 days after receipt of a request to provide satisfactory proof of having participated in approved continuing education programs.
(mm) Failing to maintain accurate records or reports as required by this chapter or by federal or state laws or rules pertaining to the storing, labeling, selling, dispensing, prescribing, and administering of controlled substances.
(nn) Failing to report a change of address to the board within 60 days thereof.
(oo) Failure of the responsible veterinarian to report a change of premises ownership or responsible veterinarian within 60 days thereof.
(pp) Failing to give the owner of a patient, before dispensing any drug, a written prescription when requested.
(2) When the board finds any applicant or veterinarian guilty of any of the grounds set forth in subsection (1), regardless of whether the violation occurred prior to licensure, it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties:
(a) Denial of certification for examination or licensure.
(b) Revocation or suspension of a license.
(c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
(d) Issuance of a reprimand.
(e) Placement of the veterinarian on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board may specify, including requiring the veterinarian to attend continuing education courses or to work under the supervision of another veterinarian.
(f) Restricting the authorized scope of practice.
(g) Imposition of costs of the investigation and prosecution.
(h) Requiring the veterinarian to undergo remedial education.
In determining appropriate action, the board must first consider those sanctions necessary to protect the public. Only after those sanctions have been imposed may the disciplining authority consider and include in its order requirements designed to rehabilitate the veterinarian. All costs associated with compliance with any order issued under this subsection are the obligation of the veterinarian.
(3) The department shall reissue the license of a disciplined veterinarian upon certification by the board that the disciplined veterinarian has complied with all of the terms and conditions set forth in the final order and is capable of competently and safely engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 35, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 349, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 84-543; s. 1, ch. 84-553; ss. 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 2, ch. 87-333; s. 8, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 132, ch. 94-119; s. 64, ch. 95-144; s. 358, ch. 97-103; s. 119, ch. 98-166; s. 180, ch. 2000-160; s. 46, ch. 2000-356.
474.2145 Subpoena of certain records.—Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the department may issue subpoenas duces tecum requiring the names and addresses of some or all the clients of a licensed veterinarian against whom a complaint has been filed pursuant to s. 455.225 when the information has been deemed necessary and relevant to the investigation as determined by the secretary of the department.
History.—ss. 13, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 120, ch. 98-166.
474.215 Premises permits.—
(1) Any establishment, permanent or mobile, where a licensed veterinarian practices must have a premises permit issued by the department. Upon application and payment of a fee not to exceed $250, as set by rule of the board, the department shall cause such establishment to be inspected. A premises permit shall be issued if the establishment meets minimum standards, to be adopted by rule of the board, as to sanitary conditions, recordkeeping, equipment, radiation monitoring, services required, and physical plant.
(2) Each application for a premises permit shall set forth the name of the licensed veterinarian who will be responsible for the management of the establishment and the name and address of the owners of the establishment.
(3) The premises permit may be revoked, suspended, or denied when inspection reveals that the establishment does not meet the standards set by rule or when the license of the responsible veterinarian has been suspended or revoked.
(4) Any practitioner who provides veterinary service on a house-call basis and who does not maintain a veterinary establishment for receipt of patients shall not be required to obtain a premises permit, but must provide for minimum equipment and facilities as established by rule.
(5) The department may issue a temporary premises permit to a responsible veterinarian who has submitted the application fee and a completed application form affirming compliance with the standards set by rule of the board. If the department inspects the establishment and discovers that it is not in compliance with the department’s standards, the department shall notify the veterinarian in writing of the deficiencies and shall provide 30 days for correction of the deficiencies and reinspection. Such temporary permit shall become void upon notification by the department that the establishment has failed, after reinspection, to meet those standards. Upon receipt of such notice, the responsible veterinarian shall close the establishment until completion of a subsequent inspection affirming that the required standards have been met and until another permit has been issued by the department.
(6) Any practitioner who provides veterinary services solely to agricultural animals shall not be required to obtain a premises permit, but must provide for appropriate equipment and facilities, as established by rule.
(7) The board by rule shall establish minimum standards for the operation of limited service veterinary medical practices. Such rules shall not restrict limited service veterinary medical practices and shall be consistent with the type of limited veterinary medical service provided.
(a) Any person that offers or provides limited service veterinary medical practice shall obtain a biennial permit from the board the cost of which shall not exceed $250. The limited service permittee shall register each location where a limited service clinic is held and shall pay a fee set by rule not to exceed $25 to register each such location.
(b) All permits issued under this subsection are subject to the provisions of ss. 474.213 and 474.214.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, any temporary rabies vaccination effort operated by a county health department in response to a public health threat, as declared by the State Health Officer in consultation with the State Veterinarian, is not subject to any preregistration, time limitation, or fee requirements, but must adhere to all other requirements for limited service veterinary medical practice as prescribed by rule. The fee charged to the public for a rabies vaccination administered during such temporary rabies vaccination effort may not exceed the actual cost of administering the rabies vaccine. Such rabies vaccination efforts may not be used for any purpose other than to address the public health consequences of the rabies outbreak. The board shall be immediately notified in writing of any temporary rabies vaccination effort operated under this paragraph.
(8) Any person who is not a veterinarian licensed under this chapter but who desires to own and operate a veterinary medical establishment or limited service clinic shall apply to the board for a premises permit. If the board certifies that the applicant complies with the applicable laws and rules of the board, the department shall issue a premises permit. No permit shall be issued unless a licensed veterinarian is designated to undertake the professional supervision of the veterinary medical practice and the minimum standards set by rule of the board for premises where veterinary medicine is practiced. Upon application, the department shall submit the permittee’s name for a statewide criminal records correspondence check through the Department of Law Enforcement. The permittee shall notify the board within 10 days after any designation of a new licensed veterinarian responsible for such duties. A permittee under this subsection is subject to the provisions of subsection (9) and s. 474.214.
(9)(a) The department or the board may deny, revoke, or suspend the permit of any permittee under this section and may fine, place on probation, or otherwise discipline any such permittee who has:
1. Obtained a permit by misrepresentation or fraud or through an error of the department or board;
2. Attempted to procure, or has procured, a permit for any other person by making, or causing to be made, any false representation;
3. Violated any of the requirements of this chapter or any rule of the board; or
4. Been convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony in any court of this state, of any other state, or of the United States.
(b) If the permit is revoked or suspended, the owner, manager, or proprietor shall cease to operate the premises as a veterinary medical practice as of the effective date of the suspension or revocation. In the event of such revocation or suspension, the owner, manager, or proprietor shall remove from the premises all signs and symbols identifying the premises as a veterinary medical practice. The period of any such suspension shall be prescribed by rule of the board, but may not exceed 1 year. If the permit is revoked, the person owning or operating the establishment may not apply for a permit to operate a premises for a period of 1 year after the effective date of such revocation. Upon the effective date of such revocation, the permittee must advise the board of the disposition of all medicinal drugs and must provide for ensuring the security, confidentiality, and availability to clients of all patient medical records.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 36, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 350, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 50, ch. 89-162; s. 9, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 133, ch. 94-119; s. 49, ch. 2000-356.
474.216 License and premises permit to be displayed.—Each person to whom a license or premises permit is issued shall keep such document conspicuously displayed in her or his office, place of business, or place of employment, whether a permanent or mobile veterinary establishment or clinic, and shall, whenever required, exhibit said document to any member or authorized representative of the board.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 7, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 10, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 359, ch. 97-103.
474.2165 Ownership and control of veterinary medical patient records; report or copies of records to be furnished.—
(1) As used in this section, the term “records owner” means any veterinarian who generates a medical record after making a physical examination of, or administering treatment or dispensing legend drugs to, any patient; any veterinarian to whom records are transferred by a previous records owner; or any veterinarian’s employer, provided the employment contract or agreement between the employer and the veterinarian designates the employer as the records owner.
(2) Each person who provides veterinary medical services shall maintain medical records, as established by rule.
(3) Any records owner licensed under this chapter who makes an examination of, or administers treatment or dispenses legend drugs to, any patient shall, upon request of the client or the client’s legal representative, furnish, in a timely manner, without delays for legal review, copies of all reports and records relating to such examination or treatment, including X rays. The furnishing of such report or copies shall not be conditioned upon payment of a fee for services rendered.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this section, such records may not be furnished to, and the medical condition of a patient may not be discussed with, any person other than the client or the client’s legal representative or other veterinarians involved in the care or treatment of the patient, except upon written authorization of the client. However, such records may be furnished without written authorization under the following circumstances:
(a) To any person, firm, or corporation that has procured or furnished such examination or treatment with the client’s consent.
(b) In any civil or criminal action, unless otherwise prohibited by law, upon the issuance of a subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction and proper notice to the client or the client’s legal representative by the party seeking such records.
(c) For statistical and scientific research, provided the information is abstracted in such a way as to protect the identity of the patient and the client, or provided written permission is received from the client or the client’s legal representative.
(5) Except in a medical negligence action or administrative proceeding when a veterinarian is or reasonably expects to be named as a defendant, information disclosed to a veterinarian by a client in the course of the care and treatment of the patient is confidential and may be disclosed only to other veterinarians involved in the care or treatment of the patient, or if permitted by written authorization from the client or compelled by subpoena at a deposition, evidentiary hearing, or trial for which proper notice has been given.
(6) The department may obtain patient records pursuant to a subpoena without written authorization from the client if the department and the probable cause panel of the board find reasonable cause to believe that a veterinarian has excessively or inappropriately prescribed any controlled substance specified in chapter 893 in violation of this chapter or that a veterinarian has practiced his or her profession below that level of care, skill, and treatment required as defined by this chapter.
(7) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 455.242, records owners shall place an advertisement in the local newspaper or notify clients, in writing, when they are terminating practice, retiring, or relocating and are no longer available to patients and shall offer clients the opportunity to obtain a copy of their medical records.
(8) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 455.242, records owners shall notify the board office when they are terminating practice, retiring, or relocating and are no longer available to patients, specifying who the new records owner is and where the medical records can be found.
(9) Whenever a records owner has turned records over to a new records owner, the new records owner shall be responsible for providing a copy of the complete medical record, upon written request, of the client or the client’s legal representative.
(10) Veterinarians in violation of the provisions of this section shall be disciplined by the board.
(11) A records owner furnishing copies of reports or records pursuant to this section shall charge no more than the actual cost of copying, including reasonable staff time, or the amount specified in administrative rule by the board.
(12) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit veterinarian consultations, as necessary.
History.—ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 37, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 50, ch. 2000-356.
474.2167 Confidentiality of animal medical records.—
(1) The following records held by any state college of veterinary medicine that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
(a) A medical record generated which relates to diagnosing the medical condition of an animal; prescribing, dispensing, or administering drugs, medicine, appliances, applications, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease of an animal; or performing a manual procedure for the diagnosis of or treatment for pregnancy, fertility, or infertility of an animal; and
(b) A medical record described in paragraph (a) which is transferred by a previous record owner in connection with the transaction of official business by a state college of veterinary medicine that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.
(2) A record made confidential and exempt under subsection (1) may be disclosed to another governmental entity in the performance of its duties and responsibilities and may be disclosed pursuant to s. 474.2165.
(3) The exemption from public records requirements under subsection (1) applies to animal medical records held before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption.
(4) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2020, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2015-62.
474.217 Licensure by endorsement.—
(1) The department shall issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who, upon applying to the department and remitting a fee set by the board, demonstrates to the board that she or he:
(a) Has demonstrated, in a manner designated by rule of the board, knowledge of the laws and rules governing the practice of veterinary medicine in this state; and
(b)1. Either holds, and has held for the 3 years immediately preceding the application for licensure, a valid, active license to practice veterinary medicine in another state of the United States, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States, provided that the requirements for licensure in the issuing state, district, or territory are equivalent to or more stringent than the requirements of this chapter; or
2. Meets the qualifications of s. 474.207(2)(b) and has successfully completed a state, regional, national, or other examination which is equivalent to or more stringent than the examination given by the department and has passed the board’s clinical competency examination or another clinical competency examination specified by rule of the board.
(2) The department shall not issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who is under investigation in any state, territory, or the District of Columbia for an act which would constitute a violation of this chapter until the investigation is complete and disciplinary proceedings have been terminated, at which time the provisions of s. 474.214 shall apply.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 8, 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 59, ch. 87-225; s. 3, ch. 87-333; s. 11, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 146, ch. 92-149; s. 360, ch. 97-103; s. 48, ch. 2000-356.
474.2185 Veterinarians consent; handwriting samples; mental or physical examinations.—A veterinarian who accepts a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state shall, by so accepting the license or by making and filing a renewal of licensure to practice in this state, be deemed to have given her or his consent, during a lawful investigation of a complaint or of an application for licensure and when the information has been deemed necessary and relevant to the investigation as determined by the secretary of the department, to the following:
(1) To render a handwriting sample to an agent of the department and, further, to have waived any objections to its use as evidence against her or him.
(2) To waive the confidentiality and authorize the preparation and release of medical reports pertaining to the mental or physical condition of the licensee when the department has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred and when the department issues an order, based on the need for additional information, to produce such medical reports for the time period relevant to the complaint. As used in this section, “medical reports” means a compilation of medical treatment of the licensee which shall include symptoms, diagnosis, treatment prescribed, relevant history, and progress.
(3) To waive any objection to the admissibility of the reports as constituting privileged communications. Such material maintained by the department is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) until probable cause is found and an administrative complaint is issued.
History.—ss. 14, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 28, ch. 91-140; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 321, ch. 96-406; s. 1117, ch. 97-103.
474.221 Impaired practitioner provisions; applicability.—Notwithstanding the transfer of the Division of Medical Quality Assurance to the Department of Health or any other provision of law to the contrary, veterinarians licensed under this chapter shall be governed by the treatment of impaired practitioner provisions of s. 456.076 as if they were under the jurisdiction of the Division of Medical Quality Assurance, except that for veterinarians the Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall, at its option, exercise any of the powers granted to the Department of Health by that section, and “board” shall mean board as defined in this chapter.