The FDA has announced that it is suspending its VCPR requirements
during the Covid19 crisis.
This has little impact on practice in NY State where the VCPR is not in statute but in the veterinary guidelines
. Note that law, rules and regulations, not guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to guidelines may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of the guidelines.
We are currently preparing a podcast that will explore this in detail but the key points are:
- Although you may not be found guilty of malpractice for providing treatment without a VCPR, a civil suit could be brought against you. The court will look at the current standards applied in the industry, such as the New York State and AVMA guidance on establishing a VCPR. If you have not followed those standards you would need to have a strong and convincing argument that the treatment was provided in an emergency situation. For example during Covid-19 an argument could be made in some particularly high-risk situations that treatment was necessary without an in-person examination, but this should not be the norm even during Covid-19
- The State Licensing Board will hold you accountable for following the guidelines wherever possible, and if there is a variation from the guidelines you will need to be able to present convincing arguments that it was necessary.