California mulls change to veterinary medical board

California mulls change to veterinary medical board

Senate may dissolve RVT committee, add member to California veterinary board
Sep 01, 2010

SACRAMENTO — A new bill winding its way through the California Senate would make state history by adding a registered veterinary technician (RVT) for the first time to the veterinary medical board.

Assembly Bill 1980, sponsored by Mary Hayashi (D), would dissolve the board's RVT committee, add an RVT to the board, and place three RVTs on the seven-member multidisciplinary committee, which considers a variety of issues affecting veterinary medicine.

The board first proposed adding a veterinary technician member back in 1996, and the idea is finally coming to fruition, says the California veterinary board's Executive Director Sue Geranen.

"There are 4,000 registered veterinary technicians in California, and they need a vote on the licensing board," Geranen says.

The bill would also prohibit technicians from using the title "registered veterinary technician" without being licensed by the board. Also, under the proposed changes, RVTs would be able to undertake duties under strict supervision during their final year of study.

A clause on safety is also included in AB 1980. Unlicensed veterinary assistants will need to be properly trained in radiation safety before they operate equipment like radiography machines.

The only opposition to the bill so far, Geranen says, came from an irate chiropractor who works on animals. He was worried that a clause in the bill that included veterinary rehabilitation and musculoskeletal work under the state's veterinary practice act would keep him from practicing. The chiropractor backed down when Geranen explained that those practices are already regulated by the veterinary medical board, and it was just a matter of spelling it out.

"It was just a misreading of the bill's language," Geranen says. "It says 'veterinarian only,' unless otherwise permitted by regulations. We will allow veterinarians to refer to physical therapists and chiropractors."

The bill now waits for a second reading in a Senate committee.