Florida Senate - 2023                                    SB 1600
       By Senator Ingoglia
       11-00463B-23                                          20231600__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the medical treatment of animals;
    3         providing a short title; amending s. 474.202, F.S.;
    4         defining the term “veterinary telemedicine”; creating
    5         s. 474.2021, F.S.; authorizing veterinarians to
    6         practice veterinary telemedicine; providing licensure
    7         requirements to practice veterinary telemedicine;
    8         providing jurisdiction of the Board of Veterinary
    9         Medicine; requiring a veterinarian practicing
   10         telemedicine to establish a
   11         veterinarian/client/patient relationship, provide the
   12         client with specified information, and employ certain
   13         professional judgments regarding the use of veterinary
   14         telemedicine; authorizing a veterinarian practicing
   15         telemedicine to order, prescribe, or make available
   16         specified medicinal drugs; prohibiting such
   17         veterinarian from ordering, prescribing, or making
   18         available controlled substances unless certain
   19         conditions are met; authorizing veterinarians to
   20         practice veterinary telemedicine for animals on
   21         certain animal operations if the veterinarian meets
   22         certain conditions; amending s. 474.203, F.S.;
   23         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   24         amending s. 474.214, F.S.; revising grounds for
   25         disciplinary action against a veterinarian; amending
   26         s. 474.2165, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
   27         “records owner” to conform to changes made by the act;
   28         amending s. 828.30, F.S.; authorizing certain
   29         employees, agents, or contractors to administer rabies
   30         vaccinations under certain circumstances; providing
   31         that a supervising veterinarian assumes responsibility
   32         for any person working under the veterinarian’s
   33         supervision or at his or her direction; defining the
   34         term “indirect supervision”; authorizing a
   35         veterinarian who indirectly supervises the
   36         administration of the rabies vaccination to affix his
   37         or her signature stamp in lieu of an actual signature
   38         on the rabies vaccination certificate; providing an
   39         effective date.
   41  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   43         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Providing Equity
   44  in Telemedicine Services (PETS) Act.”
   45         Section 2. Subsection (14) is added to section 474.202,
   46  Florida Statutes, to read:
   47         474.202 Definitions.—As used in this chapter:
   48         (14)“Veterinary telemedicine” means the practice of
   49  veterinary medicine using synchronous, audiovisual, interactive
   50  telecommunications technology.
   51         Section 3. Section 474.2021, Florida Statutes, is created
   52  to read:
   53         474.2021 Veterinary telemedicine.—
   54         (1)A veterinarian may practice veterinary telemedicine.
   55         (2)A veterinarian must hold a current license to practice
   56  veterinary medicine in this state in order to practice
   57  veterinary telemedicine. The practice of veterinary medicine is
   58  deemed to occur at the premises where the patient is located at
   59  the time the veterinarian practices veterinary telemedicine.
   60         (3)The board has jurisdiction over a veterinarian
   61  practicing veterinary telemedicine in this state, regardless of
   62  where the veterinarian’s physical office is located.
   63         (4)A veterinarian practicing telemedicine shall do all of
   64  the following:
   65         (a)Establish the veterinarian/client/patient relationship.
   66         (b)Provide the client with a statement containing the
   67  veterinarian’s identity, license number, and contact information
   68  and the contact information for at least one physical veterinary
   69  clinic in the vicinity of the pet’s location and instructions
   70  for how to receive patient follow-up care or assistance if the
   71  veterinarian and client are unable to communicate because of a
   72  technological or equipment failure or if there is an adverse
   73  reaction to treatment. The veterinarian shall obtain from the
   74  client a signed and dated statement indicating the client has
   75  received the required information.
   76         (c)Employ sound, professional judgment to determine
   77  whether using veterinary telemedicine is an appropriate method
   78  for delivering medical advice or treatment to the patient and
   79  providing quality of care consistent with prevailing veterinary
   80  medical practice. The practice of veterinary telemedicine in
   81  compliance with this section is not a quality-of-care violation,
   82  and a veterinarian may not be disciplined solely for practicing
   83  veterinary telemedicine.
   84         (5)A veterinarian practicing veterinary telemedicine may
   85  order, prescribe, or make available medicinal drugs or drugs as
   86  defined in chapter 465.
   87         (6)A veterinarian practicing veterinary telemedicine may
   88  not order, prescribe, or make available controlled substances as
   89  defined in chapter 893 unless the veterinarian has performed an
   90  in-person physical examination of the patient or made medically
   91  appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the patient
   92  is kept.
   93         (7)A veterinarian personally acquainted with the caring
   94  and keeping of an animal or group of animals on food-producing
   95  animal operations on land classified as agricultural pursuant to
   96  s. 193.461 who has recently seen the animal or group of animals
   97  or has made medically appropriate and timely visits to the
   98  premises where the animal or group of animals is kept may
   99  practice veterinary telemedicine for animals on such operations
  100  in compliance with this section and applicable federal law.
  101         Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
  102  474.203, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  103         474.203 Exemptions.—This chapter does not apply to:
  104         (5)(a) Any person, or the person’s regular employee,
  105  administering to the ills or injuries of her or his own animals,
  106  including, but not limited to, castration, spaying, and
  107  dehorning of herd animals, unless title is transferred or
  108  employment provided for the purpose of circumventing this law.
  109  This exemption does not apply to any person licensed as a
  110  veterinarian in another state or foreign jurisdiction and
  111  practicing temporarily in this state. However, except as
  112  provided in s. 828.30, only a veterinarian may immunize or treat
  113  an animal for diseases that are communicable to humans and that
  114  are of public health significance.
  116  For the purposes of chapters 465 and 893, persons exempt
  117  pursuant to subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (4)
  118  are deemed to be duly licensed practitioners authorized by the
  119  laws of this state to prescribe drugs or medicinal supplies.
  120         Section 5. Paragraph (y) of subsection (1) of section
  121  474.214, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  122         474.214 Disciplinary proceedings.—
  123         (1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which
  124  the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:
  125         (y) Using the privilege of ordering, prescribing, or making
  126  available medicinal drugs or drugs as defined in chapter 465, or
  127  controlled substances as defined in chapter 893, for use other
  128  than for the specific treatment of animal patients for which
  129  there is a documented veterinarian/client/patient relationship.
  130  Pursuant thereto, The veterinarian shall:
  131         1. Have sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at
  132  least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical
  133  condition of the animal, which means that the veterinarian is
  134  personally acquainted with the keeping and caring of the animal
  135  and has recently performed an examination of the patient either
  136  in person or by the use of veterinary telemedicine in compliance
  137  with s. 474.2021 seen the animal or has made medically
  138  appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal
  139  is kept.
  140         2. Be available or provide for follow-up followup care and
  141  treatment in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen
  142  of therapy.
  143         3. Maintain records which document patient visits,
  144  diagnosis, treatment, and other relevant information required
  145  under this chapter.
  146         Section 6. Subsection (1) of section 474.2165, Florida
  147  Statutes, is amended to read:
  148         474.2165 Ownership and control of veterinary medical
  149  patient records; report or copies of records to be furnished.—
  150         (1) As used in this section, the term “records owner” means
  151  any veterinarian who generates a medical record after making an
  152  a physical examination of a patient, either in person or by the
  153  use of veterinary telemedicine in compliance with s. 474.2021,
  154  or administering treatment or dispensing legend drugs to, any
  155  patient; any veterinarian to whom records are transferred by a
  156  previous records owner; or any veterinarian’s employer, provided
  157  the employment contract or agreement between the employer and
  158  the veterinarian designates the employer as the records owner.
  159         Section 7. Subsections (1) and (3) of section 828.30,
  160  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  161         828.30 Rabies vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets.—
  162         (1)(a) All dogs, cats, and ferrets 4 months of age or older
  163  must be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian or, in the case of
  164  impounded animals, a person authorized under paragraph (b)
  165  against rabies with a vaccine that is licensed by the United
  166  States Department of Agriculture for use in those species.
  167         (b)An employee, an agent, or a contractor of a county or
  168  municipal animal control authority acting under the indirect
  169  supervision of a veterinarian may vaccinate impounded dogs,
  170  cats, and ferrets that will be transferred, rescued, fostered,
  171  adopted, or reclaimed by the owner. The supervising veterinarian
  172  assumes responsibility for any person vaccinating animals at the
  173  veterinarian’s direction or under his or her supervision. As
  174  used in this paragraph, the term “indirect supervision” means
  175  that the supervising veterinarian is required to be available
  176  for consultation through telecommunications but is not required
  177  to be physically present during such consultation.
  178         (c) The owner of every dog, cat, and ferret shall have the
  179  animal revaccinated 12 months after the initial vaccination.
  180  Thereafter, the interval between vaccinations shall conform to
  181  the vaccine manufacturer’s directions. The cost of vaccination
  182  must be borne by the animal’s owner. Evidence of circulating
  183  rabies virus neutralizing antibodies may shall not be used as a
  184  substitute for current vaccination in managing rabies exposure
  185  or determining the need for booster vaccinations.
  186         (3) Upon vaccination against rabies, the licensed
  187  veterinarian shall provide the animal’s owner and the animal
  188  control authority with a rabies vaccination certificate. Each
  189  animal control authority and veterinarian shall use the “Rabies
  190  Vaccination Certificate” of the National Association of State
  191  Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) or an equivalent form
  192  approved by the local government which that contains all the
  193  information required by the NASPHV Rabies Vaccination
  194  Certificate. The veterinarian who administers the rabies
  195  vaccination, or who supervises the administration of the rabies
  196  vaccination as provided in paragraph (1)(b), vaccine to an
  197  animal as authorized required under this section may affix his
  198  or her signature stamp in lieu of an actual signature.
  199         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.