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The Florida Senate

2022 Florida Statutes (including 2022C, 2022D, 2022A, and 2023B)

F.S. 474.214
474.214 Disciplinary proceedings.
(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:
(a) Attempting to procure a license to practice veterinary medicine by bribery, by fraudulent representations, or through an error of the department or the board.
(b) Having a license or the authority to practice veterinary medicine revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of any jurisdiction, including any agency or subdivision thereof. The licensing authority’s acceptance of a veterinarian’s relinquishment of a license, stipulation, consent order, or other settlement, offered in response to or in anticipation of the filing of administrative charges against the veterinarian’s license or authority to practice, shall be construed as action against the veterinarian’s license or authority to practice.
(c) Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of veterinary medicine or the ability to practice veterinary medicine. Any crime which demonstrates a lack of regard for animal life relates to the ability to practice veterinary medicine. In addition, crimes relating to the ability to practice veterinary medicine shall include, but not be limited to, crimes involving any violation of state or federal drug laws.
(d) Making or filing a report or record which the licensee knows to be false, intentionally or negligently failing to file a report or record required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing, or inducing another person to impede or obstruct such filing. Such reports or records shall include only those which are signed in the capacity of a licensed veterinarian.
(e) Advertising goods or services in a manner which is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.
(f) Violating any provision of this chapter or chapter 455, a rule of the board or department, or a lawful order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing, or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.
(g) Practicing with a revoked, suspended, inactive, or delinquent license.
(h) Being unable to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of illness, drunkenness, use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other material or substance or as a result of any mental or physical condition. In enforcing this paragraph, upon a finding by the secretary, the secretary’s designee, or the probable cause panel of the board that probable cause exists to believe that the licensee is unable to practice the profession because of the reasons stated in this paragraph, the department shall have the authority to compel a licensee to submit to a mental or physical examination by a physician designated by the department. If the licensee refuses to comply with the department’s order, the department may file a petition for enforcement in the circuit court of the circuit in which the licensee resides or does business. The licensee shall not be named or identified by initials in any other public court records or documents and the enforcement proceedings shall be closed to the public. The department shall be entitled to the summary procedure provided in s. 51.011. A licensee affected under this paragraph shall be afforded an opportunity at reasonable intervals to demonstrate that she or he can resume the competent practice for which she or he is licensed with reasonable skill and safety to patients. Neither the record of proceedings nor the orders entered by the board in any proceedings under this paragraph shall be used against a licensee in any other proceedings.
(i) Judicially determined mental incompetency. However, a license suspended for this cause may be reinstated upon legal restoration of the competency of the individual whose license was so suspended.
(j) Knowingly maintaining a professional connection or association with any person who is in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules of the board or department. However, if the licensee verifies that the person is actively participating in a board-approved program for the treatment of a physical or mental condition, the licensee is required only to report such person to the consultant.
(k) Paying or receiving kickbacks, rebates, bonuses, or other remuneration for receiving a patient or client or for referring a patient or client to another provider of veterinary services or goods.
(l) Performing or prescribing unnecessary or unauthorized treatment.
(m) Fraud in the collection of fees from consumers or any person, agency, or organization paying fees to practitioners.
(n) Attempting to restrict competition in the field of veterinary medicine other than for the protection of the public. However, this provision shall not apply to testimony made in good faith at a hearing or other proceeding in which the subject is the revocation of a license or a lesser penalty.
(o) Fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or misconduct, in or related to the practice of veterinary medicine.
(p) Conviction on a charge of cruelty to animals.
(q) Permitting or allowing another to use a veterinarian’s license for the purpose of treating or offering to treat animals.
(r) Being guilty of incompetence or negligence by failing to practice medicine with that level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized by a reasonably prudent veterinarian as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.
(s) Willfully making any misrepresentations in connection with the inspection of food for human consumption.
(t) Fraudulently issuing or using any false health certificate, vaccination certificate, test chart, or other blank form used in the practice of veterinary medicine relating to the presence or absence of animal disease or transporting animals or issuing any false certificate relating to the sale of products of animal origin for human consumption.
(u) Fraud or dishonesty in applying, treating, or reporting on tuberculin, diagnostic, or other biological tests.
(v) Failing to keep the equipment and premises of the business establishment in a clean and sanitary condition, having a premises permit suspended or revoked pursuant to s. 474.215, or operating or managing premises that do not comply with requirements established by rule of the board.
(w) Practicing veterinary medicine at a location for which a valid premises permit has not been issued when required under s. 474.215.
(x) Refusing to permit the department to inspect the business premises of the licensee during regular business hours.
(y) Using the privilege of ordering, prescribing, or making available medicinal drugs or drugs as defined in chapter 465, or controlled substances as defined in chapter 893, for use other than for the specific treatment of animal patients for which there is a documented veterinarian/client/patient relationship. Pursuant thereto, the veterinarian shall:
1. Have sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal, which means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and caring of the animal and has recently seen the animal or has made medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
2. Be available or provide for followup care and treatment in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.
3. Maintain records which document patient visits, diagnosis, treatment, and other relevant information required under this chapter.
(z) Providing, prescribing, ordering, or making available for human use medicinal drugs or drugs as defined in chapter 465, controlled substances as defined in chapter 893, or any material, chemical, or substance used exclusively for animal treatment.
(aa) Failing to report to the department any person the licensee knows to be in violation of this chapter or of the rules of the department or board. However, if the licensee verifies that the person is actively participating in a board-approved program for the treatment of a physical or mental condition, the licensee is required only to report such person to the consultant.
(bb) Violating any of the requirements of chapter 499, the Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act; 21 U.S.C. ss. 301-392, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; 21 U.S.C. ss. 821 et seq., the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, more commonly known as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act; or chapter 893.
(cc) Failing to provide adequate radiation safeguards.
(dd) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee.
(ee) Failing to keep contemporaneously written medical records as required by rule of the board.
(ff) Prescribing or dispensing a legend drug as defined in chapter 499, including any controlled substance, inappropriately or in excessive or inappropriate quantities.
(gg) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law.
(hh) Delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified by training, experience, or licensure to perform them.
(ii) Presigning blank prescription forms.
(jj) Failing to report to the board within 30 days, in writing, any action set forth in paragraph (b) that has been taken against the practitioner’s license to practice veterinary medicine by any jurisdiction, including any agency or subdivision thereof.
(kk) Aiding or assisting another person in violating any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted pursuant thereto.
(ll) Failing to respond within 60 days after receipt of a request to provide satisfactory proof of having participated in approved continuing education programs.
(mm) Failing to maintain accurate records or reports as required by this chapter or by federal or state laws or rules pertaining to the storing, labeling, selling, dispensing, prescribing, and administering of controlled substances.
(nn) Failing to report a change of address to the board within 60 days thereof.
(oo) Failure of the responsible veterinarian to report a change of premises ownership or responsible veterinarian within 60 days thereof.
(pp) Failing to give the owner of a patient, before dispensing any drug, a written prescription when requested.
(2) When the board finds any applicant or veterinarian guilty of any of the grounds set forth in subsection (1), regardless of whether the violation occurred prior to licensure, it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties:
(a) Denial of certification for examination or licensure.
(b) Revocation or suspension of a license.
(c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
(d) Issuance of a reprimand.
(e) Placement of the veterinarian on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board may specify, including requiring the veterinarian to attend continuing education courses or to work under the supervision of another veterinarian.
(f) Restricting the authorized scope of practice.
(g) Imposition of costs of the investigation and prosecution.
(h) Requiring the veterinarian to undergo remedial education.

In determining appropriate action, the board must first consider those sanctions necessary to protect the public. Only after those sanctions have been imposed may the disciplining authority consider and include in its order requirements designed to rehabilitate the veterinarian. All costs associated with compliance with any order issued under this subsection are the obligation of the veterinarian.

(3) The department shall reissue the license of a disciplined veterinarian upon certification by the board that the disciplined veterinarian has complied with all of the terms and conditions set forth in the final order and is capable of competently and safely engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine. 1, 2, ch. 79-228; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 35, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 349, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 84-543; s. 1, ch. 84-553; ss. 15, 16, ch. 85-291; s. 2, ch. 87-333; s. 8, ch. 91-176; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 132, ch. 94-119; s. 64, ch. 95-144; s. 358, ch. 97-103; s. 119, ch. 98-166; s. 180, ch. 2000-160; s. 46, ch. 2000-356.