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Ultimate authority
Authorized to spot-check veterinary practices unannounced, Mass. investigators gear up for a hospital-to-hospital sweep


Mapping practices

More are likely to be caught, considering the department's inspection agenda. While the Massachusetts Board of Veterinary Medicine holds roughly 2,600 licenses, no one knows how many practices are in the state. That's about to change, Van Tassel says.

"Drug diversion rears its ugly head from time-to-time," says Van Tassel, who works closely with the Drug Enforcement Agency's New England Divsion. "Improperly storing drugs is also a problem. It's our No. 2 violation."
Using Web sites like http://Switchboard.com/, investigators map all the practices in a given area before going out on cases. Van Tassel guesses there are about 750 practices in Massachusetts, which represents a lot of area to cover. Yet it's concentrated. Less than 15 percent of Massachusetts' population lives in the western half of the state.

"We haven't even touched the North Shore (north of Boston) yet, and it's a highly populated area," he says. "If you consider the fact that every single practice will have a publicly listed phone number, finding them is easy."

Seven-point checklist
Still, old-fashioned word-of-mouth is what keeps many practitioners prepared.

"If we're in a city, practitioners in neighboring communities will know we've been around and call each other," Van Tassel says. "That's OK. It keeps them alert. We get compliance without going into a place just by the fact that they believe we will appear."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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