Last week the House passed its version of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (H.R. 1528) and Wednesday (July 16) the Senate unanimously passed the same version. The bill now heads to the President where he is expected to sign the bill.
The Senate had unanimously approved its version – S. 1171 – in January, but legislative procedures require bills to be passed out of both chambers with the same bill number.
Introduced by two House members who are veterinarians themselves – Rep. Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fla.) – the bill clarifies that it is legal for veterinarians to transport and use controlled substances beyond their registered places of business. It also allows licensed veterinarians to register in multiple states, regardless of where their principal place of business is located.
Since November 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration has informed the veterinary profession that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not permit registrants to take controlled substances such as medication to provide pain management, anesthesia or euthanasia beyond their registered locations, such as a clinic or home in a veterinarian’s case.
This narrow interpretation of the law is problematic for those veterinarians who care for animals in a variety of settings and also for those who live on a state border, therefore providing care in two states, but only having registered in one state. The DEA has indicated in the past that without a statutory change to the law, some veterinarians may be practicing outside the confines of the law.
The American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AMVA) has done extensive outreach and engagement in support of this legislation. Dr. Ashley Morgan, assistant director of AMVA’s governmental relations division, said she hopes to see “swift action by the president” with his signature.