Florida Embroiled In Telemedicine Battle

The establishment of a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is an essential facet of animal health. This relationship occurs when a veterinarian knows the owner’s animal well enough to diagnose and treat medical conditions the animal has or may develop. This relationship is established when a vet physically sees an animal in person to examine and assess it.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which required many veterinarians to utilize telemedicine because they were unable to safely see animals in their clinics or at the animal’s home, has brought this relationship into question. Currently in Florida, a vet must see an animal in person to establish the VCPR relationship, which is a prerequisite of remote veterinary care.

A rapid legislative push has begun with the intent to ease veterinary telemedicine restrictions, purporting that vets do not need to see an animal in person to establish a VCPR. The Florida Veterinary Medical Association is shocked at the recent move as they have been trying to create legislative telemedicine parameters for years.

The push for deregulation comes from Dutch Pet, a relatively unknown telemedicine company that was incorporated in Delaware in February. Bills are now bending in both the House and Senate committees.  If successful, veterinary telemedicine in Florida could be deregulated by July 1.

An additional component of the controversial bill would allow non-veterinarians in the state to administer rabies vaccinations.

Proponents of the bill, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) say that telemedicine allows for people who may be without the financial means to access and afford to address their animal’s health care concerns.

Read more here.

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