March 9, 2006

The Board of Registration of Veterinary Medicine ("the Board") voted today to adopt the following Policy Guideline. The guideline set forth below is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. It does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of veterinary medicine.

Policy No. 06-01

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance regarding the ability of licensed, out-of-state veterinarians who are not licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Massachusetts to provide care to animals in the Commonwealth during an emergency or disaster.

Policy:

Under normal circumstances, an individual must hold a license issued by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Veterinary Medicine to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth. However, the Board recognizes that there may be a need for out-of-state veterinarians to assist in the provision of veterinary care to Massachusetts animals during a disaster or a time of emergency.

It is Board policy that a veterinarian who does not hold a current license to practice veterinary medicine in Massachusetts may provide gratuitous aid or relief, as described in M.G.L. Chapter 112, Section 58(4), to animals in the Commonwealth without a Massachusetts license during a time of disaster or emergency. See also M.G.L. 112, section 58A and M.G.L. Chapter 112, section 60. The out-of-state veterinarian providing the gratuitous aid or relief must hold a valid current license to practice veterinary medicine in another state and may not represent himself, temporarily or otherwise, as a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Massachusetts. Additionally, the out-of-state veterinarian must comply with all federal, state and local laws governing the practice of veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth for the duration of time that the veterinarian provides gratuitous aid or relief. See M.G.L. Chapter 112, section 58. The ability of the out-of-state veterinarian to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without a license is limited to the duration of the crisis or emergency. An emergency or crisis is defined as an official state of emergency declared by the Governor of the Commonwealth or as declared by the Board.



Authority: M.G.L. Chapter 112, Section 58;
M.G.L. Chapter 112, section 60, and 256 CMR 1.00 et seq.