Full Statute Name:  West's Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated. Title 12. Professions and Occupations. General--(Continued). Article 64. Veterinarians.

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Popular Title:  Colorado Veterinary Practice Act Primary Citation:  C.R.S.A. § 12-315-101 - 126 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  September, 2021 Alternate Citation:  CO ST § 12-315-101 - 126 Historical: 
Summary: These are the state's veterinary practice laws.

 [Note: this chapter reflects §§ 12-64-101 to 12-64-105, repealed and relocated by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019].

 

§ 12-315-101. Short title

§ 12-315-102. Legislative declaration

§ 12-315-103. Applicability of common provisions

§ 12-315-104. Definitions

§ 12-315-105. License requirements and exceptions--definitions--rules

§ 12-315-106. Board of veterinary medicine--creation--powers--rules

§ 12-315-107. Application for license--qualifications

§ 12-315-108. Academic license

§ 12-315-109. License by endorsement

§ 12-315-110. License renewal--waiver--rules--continuing education

§ 12-315-111. Inactive license

§ 12-315-112. Discipline of licensees

§ 12-315-113. Hearing procedure--judicial review

§ 12-315-114. Unauthorized practice--penalties

§ 12-315-115. Abandonment of animals--definition

§ 12-315-116. Veterinary students

§ 12-315-117. Emergency care or treatment

§ 12-315-118. Repeal of article--subject to review

§ 12-315-119. Veterinary records in custody of animal care providers--definition--rules

§ 12-315-120. Reporting requirements--immunity for reporting--veterinary-patient-client privilege inapplicable

§ 12-315-121. Corporate structure for the practice of veterinary medicine--definitions

§ 12-315-122. Veterinary premises--licensed veterinarian responsible for veterinary medical decisions

§ 12-315-123. Veterinarian peer health assistance program--fees--administration--rules

§ 12-315-124. Mental health and substance use disorder evaluations of licensees

§ 12-315-125. Confidential agreement to limit practice

§ 12-315-126. Prescriptions--limitations

 

 

 

§ 12-315-101. Short title

The short title of this article 315 is the “Colorado Veterinary Practice Act”.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-102. Legislative declaration

This article 315 is enacted as an exercise of the police powers of the state to promote the public health, safety, and welfare by safeguarding the people of this state against incompetent, dishonest, or unprincipled practitioners of veterinary medicine. It is hereby declared that the practice of veterinary medicine is a privilege conferred upon persons possessed of the personal and professional qualifications specified in this article 315.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-103. Applicability of common provisions

Articles 1, 20, and 30 of this title 12 apply, according to their terms, to this article 315.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-104. Definitions

<See Executive Orders D38-20 (2020 CO EO D38-20), D63-20 (2020 CO EO D63-20), D97-20 (2020 CO EO D97-20), D131-20 (2020 CO EO D131-20), D158-20 (2020 CO EO D158-20), D182-20 (2020 CO EO D182-20), D212-20 (2020 CO EO D212-20), D240-20 (2020 CO EO D240-20), D271-20 (2020 CO EO D271-20), D02-21 (2021 CO EO D02-21), D08-21 (2021 CO EO D08-21), D36-21 (2021 CO EO D36-21), D57-21 (2021 CO EO D57-21), D80-21 (2021 CO EO D80-21), and D96-21 (2021 CO EO D96-21) related to COVID-19 temporarily suspending certain statutory and regulatory scope of practice limitations to permit certain licensed professionals to cross train, supervise, and delegate responsibilities concerning the temporary care and treatment of patients to certain professionals including C.R.S.A. § 12-315-104(14)(a) (limiting the practice of veterinarians); and Executive Orders D292-20 (2020 CO EO D292-20), D25-21 (2021 CO EO D25-21), D49-21 (2021 CO EO D49-21), and D71-21 (2021 CO EO D71-21) related to COVID-19 temporarily suspending the requirement in C.R.S.A. § 12-315-104(19)(b) that a veterinarian-client patient relationship is established when the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.>

As used in this article 315, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Animal” means any animal other than human, and the term includes fowl, birds, amphibians, fish, and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.

(2) “Artificial insemination” means the collection of semen and the fertilization of, or attempted fertilization of, the ova of the female animal by placing or implanting, by artificial means, in the genital tract of the female animal the semen obtained from the male animal that will subsequently be used, or attempted to be used, to impregnate the female.

(3) “Board” means the state board of veterinary medicine created in section 12-315-106.

(4) “Client” means the patient's owner, the owner's agent, or a person responsible for the patient.

(5) “Complainant” means the board or any other person who initiates a proceeding.

(6) “Direct supervision” means the supervising licensed veterinarian is readily available on the premises where the patient is being treated.

(7) “Dispense” means to provide a drug or device, other than by distribution, bearing a label stating the name of the veterinarian, the date dispensed, directions for use, all cautionary statements, withdrawal time, if appropriate, the identity of the animal, and the owner's name.

(8) “Distribute” or “distribution” means to provide a drug or device in the manufacturer's original package to the client-patient.

(9) “Hearing” means any proceeding initiated before the board in which the legal rights, duties, privileges, or immunities of a specific party or parties are determined.

(10) “Immediate supervision” means the supervising licensed veterinarian and any person being supervised are in direct contact with the patient.

(11) “Licensed veterinarian” means a person licensed pursuant to this article 315.

(12) “Ova transplantation” means a technique by which fertilized embryos are collected from a donor female and transferred to a recipient female that serves as a surrogate mother for the remainder of the pregnancy.

(13) “Patient” means an animal that is examined or treated by a licensed veterinarian and includes herds, flocks, litters, and other groups of animals.

(14) “Practice of veterinary medicine” means any of the following:

(a) The diagnosing, treating, correcting, changing, relieving, or preventing of animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions, including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique and the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for artificial insemination, for ova transplantation, for testing for pregnancy, or for correcting sterility or infertility or to render advice or recommendation with regard thereto;

(b) The representation, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, of an ability and willingness to do an act described in subsection (14)(a) of this section;

(c) The use of any title, words, abbreviation, or letters in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that a person using them is qualified to do any act described in subsection (14)(a) of this section;

(d) The application of principles of environmental sanitation, food inspection, environmental pollution control, animal nutrition, zoonotic disease control, and disaster medicine as applied to an act described in subsection (14)(a) of this section.

(15) “Rule” means any regulation, standard, or statement of policy adopted by the board to implement, interpret, or clarify the law that it enforces and administers and that governs its duties, functions, organization, and procedure.

(16) “School of veterinary medicine” means any veterinary school or department of a legally organized college or university whose course of study in the art and science of veterinary medicine has been approved by the board.

(17) “Unprofessional or unethical conduct” includes, but is not limited to, conduct of a character likely to deceive or defraud the public; false or misleading advertising; obtaining any fee or compensation by fraud or misrepresentation; sharing office space with any person illegally practicing veterinary medicine; employing either indirectly or directly any unlicensed person to practice veterinary medicine or to render any veterinary services except as provided in this article 315; or the violation of any rules adopted by the board that provide a code of professional ethics to be followed and carried out by persons licensed under this article 315.

(18) “Veterinarian” means a person who has received a doctor's degree in veterinary medicine, or its equivalent, from a school of veterinary medicine.

(19) “Veterinarian-client-patient relationship” means that relationship established when:

(a) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of an animal and the need for medical treatment, and the owner or other caretaker has agreed to follow the instruction of the veterinarian;

(b) There is sufficient knowledge of an animal by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal, which means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept; and

(c) The practicing veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or failure of the treatment regimen.

(20) “Veterinary medicine” includes veterinary surgery, obstetrics, dentistry, and all other branches or specialties of animal medicine.

(21) “Veterinary premises” or “premises” means a veterinary office, hospital, clinic, or temporary location where veterinary medicine is being practiced by or under the direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

(22) “Veterinary student” is a veterinary medical student who is enrolled in a school of veterinary medicine.

(23) “Veterinary student preceptor” is a veterinary medical student enrolled in a preceptor program in a school of veterinary medicine.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-105. License requirements and exceptions--definitions--rules

(1) No person may practice veterinary medicine in this state if the person is not a licensed veterinarian. No person may practice artificial insemination or ova transplantation of cattle or other animal species in this state except in accordance with section 12-315-106(5)(c). This article 315 does not prohibit:

(a) An employee of the federal, state, or local government from performing the employee's official duties;

(b) A person who is a regular student in an approved school of veterinary medicine from performing duties or actions assigned by the student's instructors or working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian;

(c) A person from advising with respect to, or performing acts that are, accepted livestock management practices;

(d) A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state from consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this state;

(e) Any merchant or manufacturer from selling, at the person's regular place of business, medicines, feed, appliances, or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases;

(f)(I) Except as provided in subsection (1)(f)(II) of this section and subject to subsection (2) of this section, the owner of an animal and the owner's employees from caring for and treating the animal belonging to the owner.

(II) Subsection (1)(f)(I) of this section does not apply in cases where the ownership of the animal was transferred for purposes of circumventing this article 315 or where the primary reason for hiring the employee is to circumvent this article 315.

(g) A person from lecturing or giving instructions or demonstrations at a school of veterinary medicine or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar for veterinarians;

(h) Any person from selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide;

(i) Any person from engaging in bona fide scientific research that reasonably requires experimentation involving animals or commercial production of biologics or animal medicines;

(j) Any person from performing duties other than diagnosis, prescription, surgery, or initiating treatment under the direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian who shall be responsible for the person's performance;

(k) A veterinary student or veterinary student preceptor from performing those acts permitted by this article 315;

(l) Any person otherwise appropriately licensed or approved by the state from performing the functions described in section 12-315-104(14)(d);

(m) Any person from performing massage on an animal in accordance with section 12-235-110(1)(f);

(n) The practice of animal chiropractic pursuant to section 12-215-127;

(o) The practice of animal physical therapy pursuant to section 12-285-116(4);

(p) Any person from assisting in a surgical procedure under the immediate supervision of a licensed veterinarian, who is responsible for the person's performance.

(2)(a) Notwithstanding subsection (1)(f) of this section and except as permitted by subsection (1)(j) of this section, a person who is not a licensed veterinarian shall not administer, distribute, dispense, or prescribe prescription drugs. Except as provided in subsection (2)(b) of this section, a licensed veterinarian must have a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the animal and its owner or other caretaker in order to administer, distribute, dispense, or prescribe prescription drugs to or for an animal.

(b)(I) In an emergency situation where a licensed veterinarian who has a veterinarian-client-patient relationship prescribes a prescription drug that the licensed veterinarian does not have in stock and is not available at a local pharmacy, another licensed veterinarian who does not have a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the animal and owner or other caretaker may administer, distribute, or dispense the prescription drug to the animal based on the examining veterinarian's expertise and veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

(II) The board shall adopt rules defining what constitutes an emergency situation under which this subsection (2)(b) would apply, including a requirement that failure to administer, distribute, or dispense the prescription drug threatens the health and well-being of the animal and requiring detailed records documenting the emergency circumstances that include at least the following:

(A) A requirement that the examining veterinarian with the veterinarian-client-patient relationship document the emergency and the immediate need for the prescription drug;

(B) A requirement that the examining veterinarian with the veterinarian-client-patient relationship document the veterinarian's efforts to obtain the prescription drug from a local pharmacy, including documentation of contact with at least one pharmacy in the general proximity of the examination location that does not have the prescription drug immediately available; and

(C) A requirement that the licensed veterinarian who administers, distributes, or dispenses the prescription drug document the date the prescription is administered, distributed, or dispensed.

(III) A veterinarian who administers, distributes, dispenses, or prescribes a prescription drug in accordance with this subsection (2)(b) is not subject to discipline pursuant to section 12-315-112(1)(y) if the veterinarian satisfies the requirements of this subsection (2)(b) and the rules adopted by the board.

(3) If a veterinarian complies with the requirements of section 12-280-121, the veterinarian may maintain an office stock of compounded drugs. As used in this subsection (3), “office stock” has the same meaning as set forth in section 12-280-121(5)(b).

(4)(a) As used in this subsection (4), unless the context otherwise requires:

(I) “Cat” means a small, domesticated feline animal that is kept as a pet. “Cat” does not include a nondomesticated wild animal.

(II) “Dog” means any canine animal owned for domestic, companionship, service, therapeutic, or assistance purposes.

(III) “Emergency medical service provider” means an emergency medical service provider who is certified or licensed by the department of public health and environment, created under section 25-1-102.

(IV) “Employer” means an entity or organization that employs or enlists the services of an emergency medical service provider, regardless of whether the provider is paid or is a volunteer. The employer may be a public, private, for-profit, or nonprofit organization or entity; or a special district.

(V) “Preveterinary emergency care” means the immediate medical stabilization of a dog or cat by an emergency medical service provider, in an emergency to which the emergency medical service provider is responding, through means including oxygen, fluids, medications, or bandaging, with the intent of enabling the dog or cat to be treated by a veterinarian. “Preveterinary emergency care” does not include care provided in response to an emergency call made solely for the purpose of tending to an injured dog or cat unless a person's life could be in danger attempting to save the life of a dog or cat.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an emergency medical service provider may provide preveterinary emergency care to dogs and cats to the extent the provider has received commensurate training and is authorized by the employer to provide the care. The provision of preveterinary emergency care to dogs and cats by emergency medical service providers in accordance with this subsection (4)(b) is not a violation of this article 315. Requirements governing the circumstances under which emergency medical service providers may provide preveterinary emergency care to dogs and cats may be specified in the employer's policies governing the provision of care.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, nothing in subsection (4)(b) of this section imposes upon an emergency medical service provider any obligation to provide care to a dog or cat or to provide care to a dog or cat before a person.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-106. Board of veterinary medicine--creation--powers--rules

(1) There is hereby created a state board of veterinary medicine consisting of seven members appointed by the governor. Each member shall be appointed for a term of four years. The governor shall appoint members of the board from qualified persons as described in subsection (2) of this section. The governor shall appoint members to fill vacancies on the board caused by death, resignation, or removal for the balance of the unexpired term. No person shall serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. A person appointed to serve out the balance of an unexpired term may be reappointed for an additional consecutive four-year term. Members of the board may remain on the board until a successor is appointed.

(2) The governor shall appoint five members to the board who are graduates of a school of veterinary medicine, who are residents of this state, and who have been licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state for the five years preceding the time of the appointment. The governor shall appoint two members to the board from the public at large who have no financial or professional association with the veterinary profession.

(3) The governor may remove a member of the board for misconduct, incompetence, or neglect of duty or other sufficient cause.

(4) The board shall meet at least once each quarter during the year at a time and place fixed by the board. Other meetings may be called from time to time by the president of the board. Except as otherwise provided, a majority of the board constitutes a quorum. Meetings shall be conducted as provided in article 6 of title 24.

(5) The board has the power to:

(a) Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state;

(b) Pursuant to section 12-20-404, issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke licenses to practice veterinary medicine in the state or otherwise discipline or fine, or both, licensees consistent with this article 315 and the rules adopted by the board under this article 315;

(c) Regulate artificial insemination and ova transplantation of cattle or other animal species by establishing rules for standards of practice, including rules relating to methods and procedures for safe artificial insemination and ova transplantation;

(d) Establish, pursuant to section 12-20-105, and publish annually a schedule of fees for licensing and registration of veterinarians. The board shall base the fee on its anticipated financial requirements for the year.

(e) Conduct disciplinary proceedings in accordance with section 12-20-403;

(f) Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this article 315 or any rules made by the board;

(g) Adopt, amend, or repeal rules in accordance with section 12-20-204. The board shall adopt rules to establish a uniform system and schedule of fines that it may impose on licensees for violations of this article 315 or of rules adopted pursuant to this article 315.

(h) Issue a cease-and-desist order in accordance with section 12-20-405;

(i) Impose fines against corporations in accordance with section 12-315-122(2).

(6) The board may, at any time, inspect veterinary premises to assure that they are clean and sanitary.

(7) The powers of the board are granted to enable the board to effectively supervise the practice of veterinary medicine and are to be construed liberally to accomplish this objective.

(8) The board shall consult with the state physical therapy board created in section 12-285-105 concerning rules that the board intends to adopt with regard to physical therapy of animals.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-107. Application for license--qualifications

(1) Any person twenty-one years of age or older desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state shall apply for the license in a manner approved by the board.

(2) In the application for licensure, the applicant shall demonstrate that the applicant has:

(a)(I) Graduated from an accredited school of veterinary medicine; or

(II) Graduated from a nonaccredited school of veterinary medicine and received a certificate from a national program approved by the board that assesses educational equivalency of graduates from nonaccredited schools of veterinary medicine; and

(b) Passed an examination approved by the board by rule.

(3) The board may deny a license or may grant a license subject to terms of probation if the board determines that an applicant for a license:

(a) Does not possess the qualifications required by this article 315;

(b) Has engaged in conduct that constitutes grounds for discipline pursuant to section 12-315-112(1);

(c) Has been disciplined in another state or jurisdiction with respect to the applicant's license to practice veterinary medicine in that state or jurisdiction; or

(d) Has not actively practiced veterinary medicine for the two-year period immediately preceding the date of receipt of the application or has not otherwise maintained continued competence, as determined by the board.

(4) If the board denies a license to an applicant or grants a license subject to terms of probation, the applicant may seek review of the board's decision pursuant to section 24-4-104(9); except that, by accepting a license that is subject to probationary terms, the applicant waives any remedies available pursuant to section 24-4-104(9).

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-108. Academic license

(1) A veterinarian who is employed at a school of veterinary medicine in this state and who practices veterinary medicine in the course of the veterinarian's employment responsibilities shall either apply, in a manner approved by the board, for an academic license in accordance with this section or shall otherwise become licensed pursuant to sections 12-315-107 and 12-315-109.

(2) A person who applies for an academic license shall submit proof to the board that the person:

(a) Graduated from a school of veterinary medicine located in the United States or another country; and

(b) Is employed by an accredited school of veterinary medicine in this state.

(3) An applicant for an academic license shall not be required to comply with the requirements of sections 12-315-107 and 12-315-109.

(4) An academic license shall authorize the licensee to practice veterinary medicine only while engaged in the performance of the licensee's official duties as a university employee. An academic licensee may not use an academic license to practice veterinary medicine outside of the licensee's academic responsibilities.

(5) In addition to the requirements of this section, an applicant for an academic license shall complete all procedures for academic licensing established by the board to become licensed.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-109. License by endorsement

The board may issue a license by endorsement to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in this state to an applicant who satisfies the requirements of the occupational credential portability program.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019. Amended by Laws 2020, Ch. 126 (H.B. 20-1326), § 46, eff. June 25, 2020.

 

§ 12-315-110. License renewal--waiver--rules--continuing education

(1) All licenses issued pursuant to this article 315 are subject to the renewal, expiration, reinstatement, and delinquency fee provisions specified in section 12-20-202(1) and (2). A person whose license expires is subject to the penalties provided in this article 315 or section 12-20-202(1).

(2) The board, by rule, may waive a licensed veterinarian's renewal fee while the licensee is on active duty with any branch of the armed services of the United States. The period during which the renewal fee is waived cannot exceed the longer of three years or the duration of a national emergency.

(3)(a) In order to obtain license renewal, each licensee, except as otherwise provided, must complete a board-approved veterinary continuing educational program of at least thirty-two hours biennially. The courses may be taken at any time during the period since the license was last renewed and before the license is due to be renewed. The licensee shall provide satisfactory proof of the completion of all delinquent continuing education requirements. For good cause, the board may prescribe the type and character of continuing education courses to be taken by any doctor of veterinary medicine in order to comply with the requirements of this article 315.

(b) The board shall have the authority to excuse licensees, as groups or individuals, from biennially continuing educational requirements for a good and sufficient reason.

(c) The board may employ qualified personnel to aid in the implementation of this section.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-111. Inactive license

(1) Upon notice to the board, a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine shall have the person's license transferred to inactive status. If a person whose license is in inactive status wishes to resume the practice of veterinary medicine, the person shall apply to the board in a form and manner approved by the board and shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the board, continued competency to practice veterinary medicine. The board may approve the application and issue a license or may deny the application pursuant to section 12-315-107(3).

(2) The board may pursue disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section 12-315-112 against a veterinarian whose license is in inactive status pursuant to this section for conduct that violates this article 315 that the person engages in while in inactive status.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-112. Discipline of licensees

<See Colorado Executive Orders D11-20 (2020 CO EO D11-20), D29-20 (2020 CO EO D29-20), D52-20 (2020 CO EO D52-20), D84-20 (2020 CO EO D84-20), D93-20 (2020 CO EO D93-20), D118-20 (2020 CO EO D118-20), D147-20 (2020 CO EO D147-20), D173-20 (2020 CO EO D173-20), D201-20 (2020 CO EO D201-20), D229-20 (2020 CO EO D229-20), D257-20 (2020 CO EO D257-20), D283-20 (2020 CO EO D283-20), D18-21 (2021 CO EO D18-21), D44-21 (2021 CO EO D44-21), D67-21 (2021 CO EO D67-21), D86-21 (2021 CO EO D86-21), and D100-21 (2021 CO EO D100-21) related to COVID-19 temporarily suspending the provision in C.R.S.A. § 12-315-112(1)(y) creating a basis for discipline against a licensed veterinarian for distributing a prescription drug other than in the course of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, to permit a licensed veterinarian to donate or sell to the State of Colorado or any licensed healthcare facility in Colorado any currently unneeded prescription drugs that the licensed veterinarian has on hand in his or her practice.>

(1) Upon receipt of a signed complaint by a complainant or upon its own motion, the board may proceed to a hearing in conformity with section 12-315-113. After a hearing, and by a concurrence of a majority of members, the board may take disciplinary or other action as authorized in section 12-20-404 against an applicant or a licensed veterinarian for any of the following reasons:

(a) Violation of any provisions of this article 315, an applicable provision of article 20 or 30 of this title 12, or any rules of the board;

(b) Violation of section 12-280-121 or any rules of the state board of pharmacy promulgated pursuant to that section;

(c) Fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in attempting to obtain or in obtaining a license;

(d) Fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or dishonest or illegal practices in or connected with the practice of veterinary medicine;

(e) Misrepresentation in the inspection of food for human consumption;

(f) Fraudulent issuance or use of any health certificate, vaccination certificate, test chart, or blank form used in the practice of veterinary medicine to prevent the dissemination of animal disease, transportation of diseased animals, or the sale of inedible products of animal origin for human consumption;

(g) Fraud or dishonesty in the application or reporting of any test for disease in animals;

(h) Failure to keep veterinary premises and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition;

(i) Refusal to permit the board to inspect veterinary premises during business hours;

(j) Use of advertising or solicitation that is false or misleading;

(k) Incompetence, negligence, or other malpractice in the practice of veterinary medicine;

(l) Unprofessional or unethical conduct or engaging in practices in connection with the practice of veterinary medicine that are in violation of generally accepted standards of veterinary practice as defined in this article 315 or prescribed by the rules of the board;

(m) Willful making of any false statement as to any material matter in any oath or affidavit that is required by this article 315;

(n) Conviction of a charge of cruelty to animals;

(o) Conviction of a violation of the “Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 2013”, article 18 of title 18, the federal “Controlled Substances Act”, 21 U.S.C. sec. 801 et seq., as amended, or the federal “Controlled Substances Import and Export Act”, 21 U.S.C. sec. 951 et seq., as amended, or any of them;

(p) Conviction of a crime in the courts of this state or of a crime in any other state, any territory, or any other country for an offense related to the conduct regulated by this article 315, regardless of whether the sentence is deferred. For the purposes of this subsection (1)(p), a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere accepted by the court shall be considered as a conviction.

(q) Conviction upon charges that involve the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine, and, based upon a record of the conviction, without any other testimony, the board may take temporary disciplinary action, even though an appeal for review by a higher court may be pending;

(r) Permitting another to use the licensee's license for the purpose of treating or offering to treat sick, injured, or afflicted animals;

(s) Practicing veterinary medicine under a false or assumed name, or impersonating another practitioner of a like, similar, or different name;

(t) Maintenance of a professional or business connection with any other person who continues to violate any of the provisions of this article 315 or rules of the board after ten days following receipt of the board's written request for termination of the connection;

(u) Habitual or excessive use or abuse of alcohol beverages, a habit-forming drug, or a controlled substance as defined in section 18-18-102(5);

(v) A determination that the individual is mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction and the court has entered, pursuant to part 3 or 4 of article 14 of title 15 or section 27-65-109(4) or 27-65-127, an order specifically finding that the mental incompetency is of such a degree that the individual is incapable of continuing to practice veterinary medicine;

(w) Engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine while in inactive status or while the person's license is expired;

(x) Failing to report a known violation of any of the provisions of this section;

(y) Administering, dispensing, distributing, or prescribing any prescription drug other than in the course of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, except in accordance with section 12-315-105(2)(b);

(z) An act or omission that fails to meet generally accepted standards of veterinary practice;

(aa) Practicing or performing services beyond a licensee's scope of competence;

(bb) Engaging in any act prohibited in article 280 of this title 12;

(cc) Failure to respond to a complaint against the licensed veterinarian;

(dd) Failure to provide to the board an updated mailing address and other contact information as required by the board within thirty days after a change in the information;

(ee) Failure to properly supervise a veterinary student or veterinary staff;

(ff) Failure to provide a written prescription to a wholesaler within three business days after issuing an oral prescription order, as required by section 12-280-120(3)(b);

(gg) Failure to comply with terms agreed to under a confidential agreement entered into under sections 12-30-108 and 12-315-125.

(2) The board may send a letter of admonition, by certified mail, to a licensee under the circumstances specified in and in accordance with section 12-20-404(4).

(3) The board may send a confidential letter of concern to the licensee under the circumstances specified in section 12-20-404(5).

(4) The record of conviction of a felony in a court of competent jurisdiction shall be sufficient evidence for the disciplinary action to be taken as may be deemed proper by the board. For the purposes of this article 315, a conviction shall be deemed to be a conviction that has been upheld by the highest appellate court having jurisdiction or a conviction upon which the time for filing an appeal has passed.

(5) With respect to denying the issuance of a veterinary license or to taking disciplinary action against a veterinarian, the board may accept as prima facie evidence of grounds for the action any federal or state action taken against a veterinarian from another jurisdiction if the violation that prompted the disciplinary action in the jurisdiction would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under this section.

(6) In addition to any other penalty that may be imposed pursuant to this section, any person violating any provision of this article 315 or any rules promulgated pursuant to this article 315 may be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars for any such violation.

(7) The board may issue cease-and-desist orders under the circumstances and in accordance with the procedures specified in section 12-20-405; except that the board may also issue a cease-and-desist order on its own motion.

(8) The board may suspend the license of a veterinarian who fails to comply with an order of the board issued in accordance with this section. The board may impose the license suspension until the licensee complies with the board's order.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-113. Hearing procedure--judicial review

Hearings shall be conducted in conformity with section 12-20-403 and article 4 of title 24. Section 12-20-408 governs judicial review of all final agency actions and orders.

Credits

Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-114. Unauthorized practice--penalties

(1) No person who practices veterinary medicine without a currently valid license may receive any compensation for services so rendered.

(2) Any person who practices or offers or attempts to practice veterinary medicine without an active license issued under this article 315 is subject to penalties pursuant to section 12-20-407(1)(a).

(3) The board or a citizen of this state may bring an action to enjoin a person from practicing veterinary medicine without a currently valid license. If the court finds that the person is violating, or is threatening to violate, this article 315, it may enter an injunction restraining him or her from the unlawful acts.

(4) The successful maintenance of an action based on any one of the remedies set forth in this section shall in no way prejudice the prosecution of an action based on any other of the remedies.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-115. Abandonment of animals--definition

(1) An animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian for treatment, boarding, or other care that is unclaimed by its owner or the owner's agent for more than ten days after written notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, is given to the addressee at the last-known address is deemed to be abandoned and may be turned over to the nearest humane society or animal shelter or disposed of in a manner deemed appropriate by the custodian.

(2) The giving of notice to the owner, or the agent of the owner, of the animal by the licensed veterinarian, as provided in subsection (1) of this section, shall relieve the licensed veterinarian and any custodian to whom the animal may be given of any further liability for disposal. The procedure by the licensed veterinarian shall not constitute grounds for disciplining procedure under this article 315.

(3) For the purpose of this article 315, the term “abandoned” means to forsake entirely, or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal by its owner or the owner's agent. Abandonment constitutes the relinquishment of all rights and claims by the owner to the animal.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-116. Veterinary students

(1) All duties performed by a veterinary student must be under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. If the student does not conform to the following requirements, the licensed veterinarian is in violation of this article 315. A veterinary student may:

(a) Administer drugs only under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian; and

(b) Perform surgery, only if the student is competent and has the necessary training and experience, under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

(2) It is unlawful for a veterinary student to participate in the operation of a branch office, clinic, or allied establishment unless the veterinary student is under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-117. Emergency care or treatment

A licensed veterinarian who in good faith administers emergency care or treatment, or euthanasia for humane reasons, to an animal, without compensation, either voluntarily or at the request of a state or local governmental officer or employee, is not liable for civil damages for good-faith acts in the administration of the care or treatment. This immunity does not apply in the event of a wanton or reckless disregard of the rights of the owner of the animal.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-118. Repeal of article--subject to review

This article 315 is repealed, effective September 1, 2022. Before the repeal, the board is scheduled for review in accordance with section 24-34-104.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-119. Veterinary records in custody of animal care providers--definition--rules

(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “animal care provider” means any veterinary practice or veterinary hospital, including the veterinary teaching hospital at Colorado state university, that provides veterinary care or treatment to animals.

(2) Animal care providers shall make available the veterinary records in their custody as follows:

(a) The owner of an animal or the owner's designated representative shall have reasonable access to the animal's records for inspection;

(b) The owner or the owner's designated representative may obtain a summary of the animal's records upon request, following termination of care or treatment; and

(c) Copies of veterinary records, including digital records, digital images, diagnostic quality X rays, CT SCANs, MRIs, or other films, shall be furnished to:

(I) The owner or the owner's designated representative upon payment of reasonable costs; and

(II) Local law enforcement authorities and the bureau of animal protection in the department of agriculture in connection with an investigation of animal cruelty pursuant to section 18-9-202 or animal fighting pursuant to section 18-9-204.

(3)(a) Records concerning an animal's care are available to the public unless a veterinary-patient-client privilege exists with respect to the animal, as provided in section 24-72-204(3)(a)(XIV).

(b) All practicing veterinarians in this state shall maintain accurate records for every new or existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship. In the animal patient records, the licensed veterinarian shall justify and describe the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment administered or prescribed and all medications and dosages prescribed in a legible, written, printed, or electronically prepared document that is unalterable. The licensed veterinarian shall prepare the records in a manner that allows any subsequent evaluation of the same animal patient record to yield comprehensive medical, patient, and veterinarian identifying information. Licensed veterinarians shall maintain animal patient records for a minimum of three years after the animal patient's last medical examination.

(c) The board shall promulgate rules including, but not limited to, rules setting forth criteria by which animal patient records may be adapted in the case of herds, flocks, litters, large volume, or specialty veterinary practices and that identify exceptions to subsection (3)(a) of this section, if necessary, for veterinarians rendering emergency care or treatment.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-120. Reporting requirements--immunity for reporting--veterinary-patient-client privilege inapplicable

(1) A licensed veterinarian who, during the course of attending or treating an animal, has reasonable cause to know or suspect that the animal has been subjected to cruelty in violation of section 18-9-202, or subjected to animal fighting in violation of section 18-9-204, shall report or cause a report to be made of the animal cruelty or animal fighting to a local law enforcement agency or the bureau of animal protection.

(2) A licensed veterinarian shall not knowingly make a false report of animal cruelty or animal fighting to a local law enforcement agency or to the bureau of animal protection.

<Text of (3) effective until March 1, 2022>

(3) A licensed veterinarian who willfully violates the provisions of subsection (1) or (2) of this section commits a class 1 petty offense, punishable as provided in section 18-1.3-503.

<Text of (3) effective March 1, 2022>

(3) A licensed veterinarian who willfully violates the provisions of subsection (1) or (2) of this section commits a petty offense, punishable as provided in section 18-1.3-503.

(4) A licensed veterinarian who in good faith reports a suspected incident of animal cruelty or animal fighting to the proper authorities in accordance with subsection (1) of this section shall be immune from liability in any civil or criminal action brought against the veterinarian for reporting the incident. In any civil or criminal proceeding in which the liability of a veterinarian for reporting an incident described in subsection (1) of this section is at issue, the good faith of the veterinarian shall be presumed.

(5) The veterinary-patient-client privilege described in section 24-72-204(3)(a)(XIV) may not be asserted for the purpose of excluding or refusing evidence or testimony in a prosecution for an act of animal cruelty under section 18-9-202 or for an act of animal fighting under section 18-9-204.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019. Amended by Laws 2021, Ch. 462, § 153, eff. March 1, 2022.

 

§ 12-315-121. Corporate structure for the practice of veterinary medicine--definitions

(1) A licensed veterinarian shall not practice veterinary medicine in or through a corporation except in accordance with this section.

(2) One or more persons may form or own shares in a corporation for the practice of veterinary medicine if the corporation is organized and operated in accordance with this section. A corporation formed pursuant to this section may exercise the powers and privileges conferred upon corporations by the laws of Colorado.

(3) The practice of veterinary medicine by a corporation pursuant to this section must be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Lay directors, officers, and shareholders of the corporation shall not exercise any authority whatsoever over the independent medical judgment of licensed veterinarians performing or supervising the practice of veterinary medicine by or on behalf of the corporation.

(4) The corporation shall not engage in any act or omission that, if engaged in by a licensed veterinarian employed by the corporation, would violate section 12-315-112(1). A violation of section 12-315-112(1) is grounds for the board to discipline a licensee pursuant to section 12-315-112.

(5) Nothing in this section diminishes or changes the obligation of each licensed veterinarian employed by the corporation to conduct the licensee's practice so as not to violate section 12-315-112(1). A licensed veterinarian who, by act or omission, causes the corporation to act or fail to act in a way that violates section 12-315-112(1) or any provision of this section is personally responsible for the act or omission and is subject to discipline for the act or omission.

(6) Nothing in this section modifies the veterinarian-patient-client privilege specified in section 24-72-204(3)(a)(XIV).

(7) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Corporation” means a domestic entity, as defined in section 7-90-102(13), a foreign entity, as defined in section 7-90-102(23), registered to do business in Colorado, or a sole proprietorship.

(b) “Director” and “officer” of a corporation includes a member and a manager of a limited liability company and a partner in a registered limited liability partnership.

(c) “Shareholder” includes a member of a limited liability company and a partner in a registered limited liability partnership.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-122. Veterinary premises--licensed veterinarian responsible for veterinary medical decisions

(1) At all times when a patient is present on a veterinary premises, a licensed veterinarian must be designated as responsible for the veterinary medical decisions and care provided to the patient.

(2) At all times when a patient is present on a veterinary premises, a licensed veterinarian must be designated as responsible for the premises. The board may fine a corporation organized and operated in accordance with section 12-315-121 that owns or operates a veterinary premises up to one thousand dollars per day for each day the corporation fails to have a licensed veterinarian designated as responsible for the veterinary premises.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-123. Veterinarian peer health assistance program--fees--administration--rules

(1)(a) As a condition of licensure and renewal in this state, every veterinarian applying for a new license or to renew the veterinarian's license shall pay to the board, for use by the administering entity selected by the board pursuant to this subsection (1), an amount not to exceed forty dollars per year, which maximum amount may be adjusted on January 1, 2012, and annually thereafter by the board to reflect changes in the United States bureau of statistics consumer price index for Denver-Aurora-Lakewood for all urban consumers or goods, or its successor index. The board shall forward the fee to the chosen administering entity for use in supporting designated providers selected by the board to provide assistance to veterinarians needing help in dealing with physical, emotional, or psychological conditions that may be detrimental to their ability to practice veterinary medicine.

(b) The board shall select one or more peer health assistance programs as designated providers. To be eligible for designation by the board, a peer health assistance program must:

(I) Provide for the education of veterinarians with respect to the recognition and prevention of physical, emotional, and psychological conditions and provide for intervention when necessary or under circumstances established by the board by rule;

(II) Offer assistance to a veterinarian in identifying physical, emotional, or psychological conditions;

(III) Evaluate the extent of physical, emotional, or psychological conditions and refer the veterinarian for appropriate treatment;

(IV) Monitor the status of a veterinarian who has been referred for treatment;

(V) Provide counseling and support for the veterinarian and for the family of any veterinarian referred for treatment;

(VI) Agree to receive referrals from the board; and

(VII) Agree to make its services available to all licensed Colorado veterinarians.

(c) The board may select an entity to administer the veterinarian peer health assistance program. An administering entity must be a nonprofit private foundation that is qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended, and that is dedicated to providing support for charitable, benevolent, educational, and scientific purposes that are related to veterinary medicine, veterinary medical education, veterinary medical research and science, and other veterinary medical charitable purposes.

(d) The administering entity shall:

(I) Distribute the money collected by the board, less expenses, to the designated provider, as directed by the board;

(II) Provide an annual accounting to the board of all amounts collected, expenses incurred, and amounts disbursed; and

(III) Post a surety performance bond in an amount specified by the board to secure performance under the requirements of this section. The administering entity may recover the actual administrative costs incurred in performing its duties under this section in an amount not to exceed ten percent of the total amount collected.

(e) The board shall collect the required annual payments payable to the administering entity for the benefit of the administering entity and shall transfer all the payments to the administering entity. All required annual payments collected or due to the board for each fiscal year are custodial funds that are not subject to appropriation by the general assembly, and the distribution of payments to the administering entity or expenditure of the payments by the administering entity does not constitute state fiscal year spending for purposes of section 20 of article X of the state constitution.

(2)(a) Upon receipt of a signed complaint by a complainant, the board may require any veterinarian to participate in a peer health assistance program and to enter into a stipulation with the board pursuant to section 12-20-405(3) before participating in the program. The agreement must contain specific requirements and goals to be met by the participant, including the conditions under which the program will be successfully completed or terminated, and a provision that a failure to comply with the requirements and goals are to be promptly reported to the board and that failure will result in disciplinary action by the board.

(b) Notwithstanding sections 12-315-112 and 24-4-104, the board may immediately suspend the license of any veterinarian who is referred to a peer health assistance program by the board and who fails to attend or to complete the program. If the veterinarian objects to the suspension, the veterinarian may submit a written request to the board for a formal hearing on the suspension within ten days after receiving notice of the suspension, and the board shall grant the request. In the hearing, the veterinarian bears the burden of proving that the veterinarian's license should not be suspended.

(c) Any veterinarian who self-refers and is accepted into a peer health assistance program shall affirm that, to the best of the veterinarian's knowledge, information, and belief, the veterinarian knows of no instance in which he or she has violated this article 315 or the rules of the board, except in those instances affected by the veterinarian's physical, emotional, or psychological conditions.

(3) Nothing in this section creates any liability on the board or the state of Colorado for the actions of the board in making grants to peer health assistance programs, and no civil action may be brought or maintained against the board or the state for an injury alleged to have been the result of the activities of any state-funded peer health assistance program or the result of an act or omission of a veterinarian participating in or referred by a state-funded peer health assistance program. However, the state remains liable under the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act”, article 10 of title 24, if an injury alleged to have been the result of an act or omission of a veterinarian participating in or referred by a state-funded peer health assistance program occurred while the veterinarian was performing duties as an employee of the state.

(4) The board may promulgate rules necessary to implement this section.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-124. Mental health and substance use disorder evaluations of licensees

(1)(a)(I) If, upon receipt of a signed complaint by a complainant, the board has reasonable cause to believe that a licensed veterinarian is unable to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients or clients due to a behavioral, mental health, or substance use disorder, the board may require in writing that the licensed veterinarian submit to an examination to evaluate:

(A) The existence and extent of the behavioral, mental health, or substance use disorder; and

(B) Any impact the behavioral, mental health, or substance use disorder has on the licensed veterinarian's ability to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients and clients.

(II) A qualified professional employed by or contracting with a veterinarian peer health assistance program that the board has selected as a designated provider under section 12-315-123 shall conduct an examination required by subsection (1)(a)(I) of this section.

(b) If a licensed veterinarian fails to submit to an examination required under subsection (1)(a) of this section, the board may suspend the licensed veterinarian's license to practice veterinary medicine until the licensed veterinarian submits to the examination; however, if the licensed veterinarian demonstrates to the satisfaction of the board that the failure to submit to the examination is due to circumstances beyond the licensed veterinarian's control, the board shall not suspend the licensed veterinarian's license.

(2) Every person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state is deemed, by practicing or applying for a renewal of the person's license, to have:

(a) Given consent to submit to an examination that the board may require under subsection (1) of this section; and

(b) Waived an objection to the admissibility of the examining professional's testimony or examination reports at a board hearing on grounds that the testimony or reports are privileged communications.

(3)(a) A person shall not use the results of an examination ordered under subsection (1) of this section as evidence in any proceeding other than a proceeding before the board.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (3)(a) of this section, any examination results, the fact that the examination was administered, and the complaint that prompted the examination shall be kept confidential. They are not public records and are not available to the public.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-125. Confidential agreement to limit practice

Section 12-30-108 concerning confidential agreements to limit practice applies to this article 315.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

§ 12-315-126. Prescriptions--limitations

A veterinarian is subject to the limitations on prescriptions specified in section 12-30-109.

Credits
Relocated and amended by Laws 2019, Ch. 136 (H.B. 19-1172), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019. Amended by Laws 2021, (H.B. 21-1276), § 14, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

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