FAEP Practice Pulse

Edwin Bayo | Grossman, Furlow & Bayo | Published: Issue 2, 2024


Editor's Pick

One of the benefits of an FAEP membership is our helpline (800-992-3862), which is available to members Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Our helpline also provides insight to the FVMA/FAEP staff of the challenges and concerns of our members. In this feature, we will highlight topics from the questions we received in the preceding weeks as a part of an effort to keep our members up to date on current concerns, as well as regulatory and legislative changes.

QUESTION: Our main veterinarian is retiring, and we need some guidance on how to handle prescriptions for his patients. My previous understanding was that we as associates can refill prescriptions on long-term medications that he has previously prescribed, such as Thyro-tabs and Vetmedin, even if we have not directly examined the patient. Is that correct?

ANSWER: Associates can refill prescriptions for patients of the practice they have not personally examined so long as they have access to the patient records and can confirm that the medication is appropriate for the condition diagnosed and that any necessary testing/bloodwork is current.

QUESTION: We are in the process of streamlining our pharmacy protocols. We wanted to know if we are allowed to email our clients written prescriptions for non-controlled drugs or if we must hand them a physical prescription that they can then take elsewhere, including online pharmacies.

ANSWER: I see no reason why you cannot email a signed copy of a prescription for a non-controlled drug that the client can then print out and take to a pharmacy. This is assuming, of course, the prescription meets all the other requirements to be considered a valid prescription.

QUESTION: If a veterinary practice terminates the VCPR, how much time must the practice give the client to establish a new practice? We have a combative, threatening client and I was going to send them a letter terminating them, but I want to be clear as to what date the relationship ends.

ANSWER: There is no statute on firing a client. A certified letter is better but not required. If you have an email address for the client, sending an additional email (or a PDF copy of the letter) by email is a good idea. The letter firing a client does not have to give any reason, other than something along the lines of “We regret that we are unable to continue providing care to your pet (name or description). For the next 30 days, we will remain available only for emergency care. We urge you to make prompt arrangements with another veterinarian to ensure continuity of care, and we will forward a copy of the patient records to any veterinarian that you so designate.”

QUESTION: We had a client take a written Rx filled out on a security Rx — and a DEA number to a pharmacy. They were told that it is now required to send by e-script only. Is this exclusive to certain pharmacies, or does it apply state- or county-wide?

ANSWER: The pharmacist is wrong. The e-prescribing law is in Chapter 456 of the Florida Statues, which applies to “health care practitioners” as defined in Chapter 456: (4) “Health care practitioner” means any person licensed under chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 462; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part II, part III, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478; chapter 480; part II or part III of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; chapter 491. Veterinarians are licensed under Chapter 474 of the Florida Statutes and are not on that list.

QUESTION: I wanted to know if there are any Florida regulations in place that would prevent an establishment from performing non-anesthetic dentals without a veterinarian present? I am under the impression that anesthetic procedures must be done with a veterinarian present, but what about non-anesthetic procedures like dentals? Can they be performed without a veterinarian on staff? There are several pet boarding facilities that are offering non-anesthetic dental cleanings even though they do not have a veterinarian present, and it’s a technician that performs them. I would just like some clarification on this.

ANSWER: Any dental procedure on an animal, with the exception of manually floating teeth on horses, is the practice of veterinary medicine. A technician can perform certain tasks under general supervision, and non-anesthetic dental cleaning can be performed without the veterinarian present but that does not mean a veterinarian is not required. Boarding facilities that have technicians perform dental cleanings without any veterinary supervision (off-premises) are engaging in unlicensed activity.

QUESTION: I’m reaching out to get some information about releasing records to clients. We have a client that we will no longer be providing services to. This client has NOT paid their bill; are we required to release records to this client? Can we legally withhold records from clients that do not pay their bills?

ANSWER: You cannot withhold a client’s records due to an unpaid bill. Please see F.S. 474.2165 Ownership and control of veterinary medical patient records; report or copies of records to be furnished. Sub Section (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 reports or copies shall not be conditioned upon payment of a fee for services rendered.

QUESTION: The new non-permitted concealed carry law goes into effect July 1. We would like to have a hospital policy sign stating that firearms are not allowed in the building but must stay locked in a car in the parking lot. Is there specific verbiage needed on the policy? Does a simple ‘no firearms’ sign on the door suffice? We would like to have something lighthearted, but would that meet a legal requirement?

ANSWER: A business is authorized to post a sign that states that no concealed weapons are allowed on the premises, but there is no violation of any law if a customer disregards the sign. There is no specific verbiage required.

END NOTE: The ultimate responsibility in the practice of veterinary medicine lies with the licensed veterinarian. Professional discretion must always be exercised.

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