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Delaware Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

In Delaware, Delaware Veterinary Practice Act deals with regulation and licensing of veterinarians.  Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3303, license or a valid temporary permit is required to practice veterinary medicine. However, the following persons are exempted:

1) An employee of the federal, state or local government performing official duties;
2) A person who is a regular student in a veterinary school or veterinary technician program performing duties or actions assigned by instructors, or working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian during the school vacation period;
3) A person advising with respect to or performing acts which the Board rule has or has not prescribed as accepted livestock management practices;
4) A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this State;
5) Any merchant or manufacturer selling at the merchant’s or manufacturer’s regular place of business medicines, feed, appliances or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases;
6) The owner of an animal and the owner’s employee caring for and treating the animal belonging to such owner, except where the ownership of the animal was transferred for purposes of circumventing this chapter;
7) A member of the faculty of a veterinary school performing regular functions, or a person lecturing or giving instructions or demonstrations at a veterinary school or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar;
8. Any person selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide or herbicide;
9) Any person engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals;
10) Any person from performing support activities under the supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities shall not include diagnosing, prognosing, prescribing, inducing anesthesia, performing surgery or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.
11) A licensed veterinary technician from performing support activities under the supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities shall not include diagnosing, prognosing, prescribing, performing surgery or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3304, a State Board of Veterinary Medicine shall consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor: 3 professional members who shall be licensed veterinarians; 2 professional members who shall be licensed veterinary technicians appointed so that the terms of the 2 newly appointed veterinary technicians do not expire in the same year; and 2 public members. To serve on the Board, a public member shall not be nor ever have been a veterinarian or veterinary technician, nor a member of the immediate family of a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have been employed by a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have had a material financial interest in the providing of goods and services to veterinarian or veterinary technicians nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to veterinary medicine or veterinary technicians. Such public member shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

Powers and Duties of Board of Veterinary Medicine

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3306, the Board of Veterinary Medicine has authority to:

1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected, where such notice can reasonably be given; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29] of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter;
2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and process all applications; however, no application form shall require a picture of the applicant, nor require information relating to citizenship, place or date of birth, length of state residency, marital status, professional association memberships, moral character or require personal or professional references;
3) Designate the written national examinations for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, prepared by either the applicable national professional association or by a recognized legitimate national testing service, and determine whether applicants are qualified to take such examinations.

4) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician in Delaware in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter;
5) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses;
6) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal;
7) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;
8. Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed veterinarians or veterinary technicians, or concerning practices of the Board or of the professions, to the Division for investigation pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29; and, assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;
9) Conduct hearings and issue orders;
10) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed.

The Board may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and production of papers, records or other documentary evidence[ii].

Issuance and Renewal of License

The Board shall issue a license to each applicant, who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a veterinarian or as a veterinary technician, and who pays the fee established under § 3308 of this title. Each license shall be renewed biennially upon submission of a renewal application provided by the Board along with the evidence of continuing education courses, unless waived by the board, as may be required by the rules and regulations set forth by the Board and payment of the renewal fee as determined by the Division of Professional Regulation. The Board shall, in its rules and regulations, determine the period of time within which a practitioner may still renew the license, notwithstanding the fact that such practitioner has failed to renew on or before the renewal date; provided, however, that such period shall not exceed 1 year. At the expiration of the period designated by the Board, the license shall be deemed to be lapsed and not renewable, unless the former licensee reapplies under the same conditions which govern reciprocity.

24 Del. C. § 3309 provides that a licensee, upon written request, may be placed in an inactive status. The renewal fee of such person shall be prorated in accordance with the amount of time such person was inactive. Such person may reenter practice upon written notification to the Board of the intent to do so and completion of continuing education as required in the Board’s rules and regulations.

Complaints

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3310, anyone desiring to file a complaint against any person practicing veterinary medicine shall file a written complaint with the Division of Professional Regulation. All complaints shall be received and investigated by the Division of Professional Regulation in accordance with § 8735 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and the Division shall be responsible for issuing a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3311, if a complaint is filed with the Board pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29, alleging violation of § 3316 or § 3321 of this title, the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall be given and the hearing conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.   If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board takes such action permitted under this chapter, as it deems necessary.  The Board’s decision must be in writing and must include its reasons for such decision.  Where the licensee is in disagreement with the action of the Board, the licensee may appeal the Board’s decision to the Superior Court.  Upon such appeal the Court shall hear the evidence on the record.  Stays will be granted in accordance with § 10144 of Title 29.

Reinstatement of a Suspended License

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3312, as a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the prescribed corrective actions and otherwise satisfied all of the conditions of the suspension and/or the probation. A new license to replace any license lost, destroyed or mutilated may be issued subject to the rules of the Board. A charge set by the Division shall be made for such issuance.

Qualifications of Applicant

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3313, an applicant who is applying for licensure as a veterinarian must submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person:

(1) Has received a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or its equivalent from a school or college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or if the applicant’s degree is not from an AVMA-accredited school or college, possess a certificate issued by a certifying Commission approved by the Delaware Board;
2) Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized examination for veterinarians designated by the Board pursuant to § 3306 of this title.
3) Has not had that applicant’s United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) privileges restricted or revoked; or
4) Shall not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol that would limit the applicant’s ability to undertake the practice of veterinary medicine in a manner consistent with the safety of a patient or the public;
5) Shall not have a criminal conviction record, or pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of veterinary medicine. Applicants who have criminal conviction records or pending criminal charges shall require appropriate authorities to provide information about the record or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination whether the record or charge is substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine; however, after a hearing or review of documentation demonstrating that the applicant meets the specified criteria for a waiver, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (a)(5), if it finds all of the following:

a. More than 5 years have elapsed since the applicant has fully discharged all imposed sentences.
b. The applicant is capable of practicing veterinary medicine in a competent and professional manner.
c. The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.

6) Shall not have engaged in any of the acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this subchapter and has no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against the applicant in any jurisdiction where the applicant has previously been or currently is licensed as a veterinarian.

24 Del. C. § 3313 provides that in the event the applicantis the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding that applicant’s practice of veterinary medicine, the applicant shall furnish all information regarding such penalties and/or agreements to the Board.  The Board may, after a hearing, determine that such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.  In the event the applicant has not taken the national examination designated by the Board, the applicant must sit for the latest examination at such times as determined by the testing service.

Reciprocity

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3314, upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant, who shall present proof of current licensure in “good standing ” in another state, the District of Columbia, or territory of the United States. The applicant has passed the national examination designated by the Board   Applicants who are not graduates of schools of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association must possess a certificate issued by a certifying commission approved by the Board. The Board must grant a license to an applicant, who was previously licensed as a veterinarian in this State, and who has let that applicant’s license lapse, subject to the applicant’s meeting the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, and continuing education requirements. In the event that a disciplinary proceeding or unresolved complaint is pending, the applicant shall not be licensed in this State until the proceeding or complaint has been resolved[iii].

Temporary License and Permit

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3315, upon payment of the appropriate fee and on submission of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall issue a temporary license to a person who has applied for licensure as a veterinarian under this subsection and who either is being considered for licensure under the reciprocity provision of this subchapter, or, is eligible to take the examination provided for in this subchapter. Such temporary license will be available to an applicant only with respect to the first application for licensure, and the applicant shall use the temporary license only while under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. In all cases, such temporary license shall expire automatically if the applicant fails the examination or fails to sit for the same at the earliest opportunity.

24 Del. C. § 3315 provides that the Board may issue, without examination, a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine in this State, to any nonresident veterinarian validly licensed in another state, territory, district of the United States or foreign country if such veterinarian pays a fee equivalent to 1/2 of the biennial fee for license renewal paid by licensed Delaware veterinarians; provided, however, that such temporary permit shall be issued for a period of not more than 1 year; provided also, that applicants meet the provisions of § 3314 of this title for reciprocity applicants.

Grounds for Discipline

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3316, a veterinarian is subject to disciplinary sanctions if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the veterinarian has:

1) Been found guilty of unprofessional conduct as defined in the Board’s rules and regulations;
2) Employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license as a veterinarian; has impersonated another person holding a license, or allowed another person to use that practitioner’s license, or aided or abetted a person not licensed as a veterinarian to represent himself or herself as a veterinarian;
3) Illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced veterinary medicine;
4) Been convicted of any crime that is substantially related to the practice veterinary medicine or any offense that would limit the ability of the licensee to carry out the licensee’s professional duties with due regard for the health and safety of animals. A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction shall be conclusive evidence therefor;

5) Excessively used or abused drugs; excessive use or abuse of drugs shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances, or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs the licensee’s ability to perform the work of a veterinarian;
6) Engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception; engaged in the restraint of competition; or participated in price-fixing activities;

7) Wilfully violated any privileged communication;
8) Been fraudulent or dishonest in the application or reporting of any test for disease in animals;
9) Failed to keep that applicant’s veterinary premises and equipment in clean and sanitary condition;
10) Failed to report, as required by law, or has made a false report of any contagious or infectious disease;
11) Been dishonest or negligent in the inspection of foodstuffs, or in the issuance of health or inspection certificates;
12) Been cruel to animals;

13) Violated a lawful provision of this chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder;
14) Had that applicant’s license as a veterinarian suspended or revoked, or other disciplinary action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for such action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record; and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate authority in the other jurisdiction constitute 1 or more of the acts defined in this chapter. Every person licensed as a veterinarian in this State shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of this information by the Board of Veterinarians or other comparable agencies in another jurisdiction and to waive all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of such acts or offenses;

15) Failed to notify the Board that the applicant’s license as a veterinarian in another State has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, surrender, suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3317,the Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it finds that 1 of the conditions or violations set forth in § 3316 of this title applies to a licensee regulated by this chapter:

1) Issue a letter of reprimand;
2) Censure a licensee;
3) Place a licensee on probationary status, and require the licensee to:

a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters which are the basis of the probation;
b. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board; and/or
c. Continue or renew professional education until the required degree of skill has been attained in those areas which are the basis of the probation;

4) Suspend any licensee’s license; or
5) Revoke a licensee’s license.

The Board may temporarily suspend a licensee’s license in advance of a final adjudication, or during the appeals process; but only in cases where there is a clear and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public if the licensee is allowed to continue to practice.  Such suspension may be appealed.  Where a license has been suspended due to a disability of the licensee, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.

Penalties for Practicing Without a License

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3318, where the Board has reason to believe that a person is practicing veterinary medicine within this State without having lawfully obtained a license, or that a person previously licensed under this chapter is engaged in a practice regulated by this chapter, notwithstanding that the person’s license has been suspended or revoked, or that a person not licensed under this chapter is using any name, title, description or designation, either orally or in writing, that will lead to the belief that such person is licensed to practice veterinary medicine as defined in this chapter, the Board shall submit a written complaint to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation. If the investigation confirms such unlawful practice, the Board shall make a formal complaint to the Attorney General who may issue a cease and desist order. A person not currently licensed as a veterinarian under this chapter, when guilty of engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine, or using in connection with the licensee’s own name, or otherwise assuming or using any title or description conveying, or tending to convey the impression that the licensee is qualified to practice veterinary medicine, such offender upon the first offense, shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, and the offender shall pay all costs. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The Court shall order all fees received for unlawful service to be refunded. Justice of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this chapter.

Veterinary Technicians

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3319, an applicant who is applying for licensure as a veterinary technician must submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person:

1) Has received a degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”) or from a foreign veterinary program approved by the AVMA or, for a period not to exceed 7 years provided that the Board may by regulation, for reasons stated, shorten the time, has submitted evidence to the Board of one of the following:

a. A degree from a nonaccredited veterinary technician program or other program as defined by the Board’s rules and regulations, combined with practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for the period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations, or

b. Practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for a period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations;

(2) Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized national examination designated by the Board pursuant to § 3306 of this title;
3) Shall not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol that would limit the applicant’s ability to practice as a veterinary technician in a manner consistent with the safety of a patient or the public;
4) Shall not have a criminal conviction record, or pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to practice as a veterinary technician.

5) Shall not have engaged in any of the acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and has no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against that applicant in any jurisdiction where the applicant has previously been or currently is licensed as a veterinary technician.

24 Del. C. § 3319 provides that in the event the applicant shall have been the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding that applicant’s practice as a veterinary technician, including but not limited to fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocation (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has entered into any “consent agreements” which contain conditions placed by a Board on that applicant’s professional conduct and practice, including any voluntary surrender of a license, the applicant shall furnish all information regarding such penalties and/or agreements to the Board. The Board may, after a hearing, determine that such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure. In the event the applicant has not taken the national examination designated by the Board pursuant to § 3306 of this title, the applicant shall sit for the latest examination at such times as are determined by the testing service.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3320,upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant, who shall present proof of current licensure in “good standing” in another state, the District of Columbia, or territory of the United States. The applicant has received a degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”) or from a foreign veterinary program approved by the AVMA or, for a period not to exceed 7 years provided that the Board may by regulation, for reasons stated, shorten the time, has submitted evidence to the Board of one of the following:

1)A degree from a nonaccredited veterinary technician program or other program as defined by the Board’s rules and regulations, combined with practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for the period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations, or practical experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for a period of time specified in the Board’s rules and regulations; and

2)Has achieved the passing score on the written standardized national examination designated by the Board pursuant to § 3306 of this title, provided that this requirement does not apply to any applicant under this section who has continuously maintained a license in another state and graduated from an AVMA accredited school prior to 1990.

24 Del. C. § 3320 provides that upon payment of the appropriate fee and on submission of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board may issue a temporary license to a person who has applied for original or reciprocity licensure as a veterinary technician under this subchapter. Such temporary license will be available to an applicant only with respect to the first application for licensure, and the applicant shall use the temporary license only while under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. In all cases such temporary license shall expire automatically if application for permanent licensure is denied. Upon expiration, the temporary license shall be surrendered to the Board.

In the event that a disciplinary proceeding or unresolved complaint is pending, the applicant shall not be licensed in this State until the proceeding or complaint has been resolved[vi].

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3321, a veterinary technician is subject to disciplinary actions if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the veterinary technician:

1) Has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct as defined in the Board’s rules and regulations;
2) Has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license as a veterinary technician; has impersonated another person holding a license, or allowed another person to use that veterinary technician’s license, or aided or abetted a person not licensed as a veterinary technician to represent himself or herself as a veterinary technician;

(3) Has illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced as a veterinary technician;
(4) Has been convicted of any crime that is substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine as determined by the Board or any offense that would limit the ability of the licensee to carry out the licensee’s professional duties with due regard for the health and safety of animals.

5) Has expressively used or abused drugs; excessive use or abuse of drugs shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances, or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs the licensee’s ability to perform the work of a veterinary technician;
6) Has engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception; engaged in the restraint of competition; or participated in price-fixing activities;
7) Has wilfully violated any privileged communication;
(8) Has been cruel to animals;
(9) Has violated a lawful provision of this chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder;
10) Has had that veterinary technician’s license as a veterinary technician suspended or revoked, or other disciplinary action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction;
11) Has failed to notify the Board that the veterinary technician’s license as a veterinary technician in another State has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended or revoked.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3322, the Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it finds that 1 of the conditions or violations set forth in § 3321 of this title applies to a licensee regulated by this subchapter:

1) Issue a letter of reprimand;
2) Censure of a licensee;
3) Place a licensee on probationary status, and require the licensee to:

a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters which are the basis of the probation;
b. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board; and/or
c. Continue or renew professional education until the required degree of skill has been attained in those areas which are the basis of the probation;

4) Suspend a veterinary technician’s license; or
5) Revoke a veterinary technician’s license.

24 Del. C. § 3322 provides that the Board may temporarily suspend a veterinary technician’s license in advance of a final adjudication, or during the appeals process; but only in cases where there is a clear and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public if the licensee is allowed to continue to practice. Such suspension may be appealed.  Where a license has been suspended due to a disability of the licensee, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.  As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may impose such disciplinary or corrective measures as are authorized under this chapter.  Where the Board has placed a licensee on probationary status under certain restrictions or conditions, and the Board has determined that such restrictions are being or have been violated by the licensee, the Board, after a hearing on the matter, may suspend or revoke the licensee’s license.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 3323, if the Board has reason to believe that a person is practicing as a veterinary technician within Delaware without having lawfully obtained a license, or that a person previously licensed is engaged in a practice regulated by this chapter, notwithstanding that the person’s license has been suspended or revoked, or that a person not licensed under this chapter is using any name, title, description or designation, either orally or in writing, that will lead to the belief that such person is licensed to practice as a veterinary technician, the Board must submit a written complaint to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation.  If the investigation confirms such unlawful practice, the Board makes a formal complaint to the Attorney General who may issue a cease and desist order.

24 Del. C. § 3323 provides that a person not currently licensed as a veterinary technician, when guilty of practicing as a veterinary technician, or using in connection with the licensee’s own name, or otherwise assuming or using any title or description conveying, or tending to convey the impression that the licensee is qualified to practice as a veterinary technician, such offender upon the first offense, will be fined not less than $ 200 nor more than $ 400 for each offense, and the offender shall pay all costs.  Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.  Justice of the Peace Court has jurisdiction over any violation of this subchapter.

[i] 24 Del. C. § 3303.

[ii] 24 Del. C. § 3306..

[iii] 24 Del. C. § 3314.

[iv] 24 Del. C. § 3317.

[v] 24 Del. C. § 3318.

[vi] 24 Del. C. § 3320.


Inside Delaware Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians