Discipline, ch 10
VETERINARY MEDICINE BOARD
Notice of Intended Action
Proposing rulemaking related to discipline
and providing an opportunity for public comment
The Board of Veterinary Medicine hereby proposes to rescind Chapter 10, "Discipline," Iowa Administrative Code, and to adopt a new chapter with the same title.
Legal Authority for Rulemaking
This rulemaking is proposed under the authority provided in Iowa Code section 169.5.
State or Federal Law Implemented
This rulemaking implements, in whole or in part, Iowa Code chapters 169 and 272C.
Purpose and Summary
This proposed rulemaking updates the Board's discipline rules by removing outdated or redundant provisions that are covered by statute. Previously, contested case rules were included in this chapter, but those rules are proposed to be moved to a new Chapter 16 as part of a separate rulemaking (ARC 7570C, IAB 1/24/24).
Additionally, the proposed rules also make conforming updates to reflect changes made by 2023 Iowa Acts, House File 670.
This rulemaking has no fiscal impact to the State of Iowa.
After analysis and review of this rulemaking, no impact on jobs has been found.
Any person who believes that the application of the discretionary provisions of this rulemaking would result in hardship or injustice to that person may petition the Board for a waiver of the discretionary provisions, if any, pursuant to 811—Chapter 14.
Any interested person may submit written or oral comments concerning this proposed rulemaking. Written or oral comments in response to this rulemaking must be received by the Board no later than 4:30 p.m. on March 29, 2024. Comments should be directed to:
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Wallace State Office Building
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Public hearings at which persons may present their views orally or in writing will be held as follows:
February 29, 2024
Second Floor Boardroom
Wallace State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa
March 8, 2024
Second Floor Boardroom
Wallace State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa
Persons who wish to make oral comments at a public hearing may be asked to state their names for the record and to confine their remarks to the subject of this proposed rulemaking.
Any persons who intend to attend a public hearing and have special requirements, such as those related to hearing or mobility impairments, should contact the Board and advise of specific needs.
Review by Administrative Rules Review Committee
The Administrative Rules Review Committee, a bipartisan legislative committee which oversees rulemaking by executive branch agencies, may, on its own motion or on written request by any individual or group, review this rulemaking at its regular monthly meeting or at a special meeting. The Committee's meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may be heard as provided in Iowa Code section 17A.8(6).
The following rulemaking action is proposed:
Item 1. Rescind 811—Chapter 10 and adopt the following new chapter in lieu thereof:
811—10.2(17A,169,272C) Complaints and investigations.
10.2(1) Complaints are allegations of wrongful acts or omissions relating to the ethical or professional conduct of a credential holder.
10.2(2) The executive secretary or authorized designee investigates complaints in order to determine the probability that a violation of law or rule has occurred.
811—10.3(17A,169,272C) Investigatory subpoena powers. The board has the authority to issue an investigatory subpoena in accordance with the provisions of Iowa Code section 17A.13.
10.3(1) A subpoena which requires production of real evidence that is necessary to an investigation may be issued upon the authority of the executive secretary or a designee.
10.3(2) Any person who is aggrieved or adversely affected by compliance with the subpoena and who desires to challenge the subpoena has 14 days after the service of the subpoena, or before the time specified for compliance if such time is less than 14 days, to file with the board a motion to quash or modify the subpoena. The motion will describe legal reasons why the subpoena should be quashed or modified and may be accompanied by legal briefs or factual affidavits.
10.3(3) Iowa Code section 272C.6(3)"a"(3) contains information regarding what happens in the event obedience to a subpoena is refused.
811—10.4(17A,169,272C) Board action. The board will review investigative conclusions and take one of the following actions:
1.Close the investigative case without action.
2.Request further inquiry.
3.Appoint a peer review committee to assist with the investigation.
4.Determine the existence of sufficient probable cause and order a disciplinary hearing to be held in compliance with Iowa Code section 272C.6.
811—10.5(17A,169,272C) Peer review committee. The board may establish a peer review committee to assist with the investigative process when deemed necessary.
10.5(1) The committee will determine if the conduct of the credential holder conforms to minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of veterinary medicine or other applicable standards and submit a report of its findings to the board.
10.5(2) The board will review the committee's findings and proceed with action available under rule 811—10.4(17A,169,272C).
10.5(3) The confidentiality requirements imposed by Iowa Code section 272C.6 apply to the peer review committee.
811—10.6(17A,169,272C) Grounds for discipline and principles of veterinary medical ethics. The provisions of Iowa Code sections 272C.10 and 169.13 are incorporated by reference. The board has established grounds for discipline and principles of ethics for veterinary medicine. Without regard as to whether the board has determined that an injury has occurred, the board may impose any of the disciplinary sanctions set forth in rule 811—10.7(17A,169,272C), including civil penalties in an amount not to exceed $10,000, when the board determines that the credential holder is guilty of any of the following acts or offenses:
10.6(1) Grounds applicable to all credential holders.
a. Fraud in procuring a credential, which includes but is not limited to an intentional perversion of the truth in making application for a credential to practice any of the professions or activities regulated by the board in this state and includes false representations of a material fact, whether by word or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed when making application for a credential in this state, or attempting to file or filing with the board or the Iowa department of agriculture and land stewardship any false or forged diploma, certificate, affidavit, identification, or qualification in making an application for a credential in this state.
b. Professional incompetency of a credential holder may be established by:
(1)A substantial lack of knowledge or ability to discharge professional obligations within the scope of the credential holder's practice.
(2)A substantial deviation by the credential holder from the standards of learning or skill ordinarily possessed and applied by other credential holders acting in the same or similar circumstances.
(3)A willful or repeated departure from or the failure to conform to the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of credential holders.
(4)Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in the practice of the profession or engaging in unethical conduct or practice harmful or detrimental to the public.
1.Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in the practice of the profession includes, but is not limited to, an intentional perversion of the truth, either orally or in writing, and includes any representation contrary to legal or equitable duty, trust or confidence and is deemed by the board to be contrary to good conscience, prejudicial to the public welfare or may operate to the injury of another.
2.Practice harmful or detrimental to the public includes, but is not limited to, the failure of a credential holder to possess and exercise that degree of skill, learning and care expected of a reasonable, prudent credential holder acting in the same or similar circumstances, including for a veterinarian a violation of the standards of practice as set out in 811—Chapter 12, or when a credential holder is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety on a client's animals as a result of a mental or physical impairment or chemical abuse.
c. Habitual intoxication or addiction to the use of drugs means the same as Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"h." The board may mandate a credential holder's completion of a treatment program as a condition of probation or suspension and will consider the credential holder's willingness to complete a treatment program when determining the appropriate degree of disciplinary sanction.
d. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor, which includes, but is not limited to, the conviction of a public offense in the practice of the credential holder's profession and is defined or classified as a felony under state or federal law, or violation of a statute or law designated as a felony in this state, another state, or the United States, which statute or law directly relates to the credential holder's profession or ability to practice within the profession.
e. Fraud in representations as to skill or ability, which includes but is not limited to a credential holder's having made misleading, deceptive or untrue representations as to the credential holder's competency to perform professional services for which the credential holder is not qualified to perform by training or experience.
f. Use of untruthful or improbable statements in advertisements, which includes but is not limited to an action by a credential holder in making information or intention known to the public which is false, deceptive, misleading or promoted through fraud or misrepresentation and includes statements which may consist of, but not be limited to:
(1)Inflated or unjustified expectations of favorable results;
(2)Self-laudatory claims that imply that the credential holder engaged in a field or specialty of practice for which the credential holder is not qualified. A veterinarian is not qualified to claim or imply specialization unless the veterinarian is a member in good standing of the respective specialty board or college recognized by the AVMA;
(3)Representations that are likely to cause the average person to misunderstand; or
(4)Extravagant claims or claims of extraordinary skills not recognized by the credential holder's profession.
h. Failure to report a license, certificate, permit, or other credential revocation, suspension or other disciplinary action taken by a licensing or regulating authority of another state, territory or country within 30 days of the final action by such licensing or regulating authority. A stay by an appellate court cannot negate this requirement; however, if such disciplinary action is overturned or reversed by a court of last resort, such report is expunged from the records of the board.
i. Failure of a credential holder or an applicant for a credential in this state to report, within 30 days, any settlement agreement or voluntary agreement to limit the practice of veterinary medicine or other applicable activities entered into in another state, district, territory or country or those included in Iowa Code section 272C.9 or 169.13.
j. Knowingly submitting a false report of continuing education or failure to submit the triennial report of continuing education.
k. Failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the board.
l. Willful or gross negligence.
m. Obtaining any fee by fraud or misrepresentation.
n. Violating any of the grounds for the revocation or suspension of a credential as listed in Iowa Code section 169.13 or these rules.
o. A violation of Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"d"; having the person's certificate, license, permit, or other credential revoked or suspended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); or having the veterinarian's USDA accreditation revoked, suspended or other disciplinary action taken against the accreditation.
p. Failing to comply with a lawful child support order as provided in 811—Chapter 13.
q. Failing to pay any hearing fees and costs within the time specified in the board's decision.
r. Failure to satisfy the continuing education requirements of rule 811—8.10(169,272C).
The board cannot suspend or revoke a license issued by the board to a person who is in circumstances outlined by Iowa Code section 272C.4(10).
10.6(2) Grounds applicable to licensed veterinarians only. In addition to the grounds set out in subrule 10.6(1), without regard as to whether the board has determined that injury has occurred, a licensed veterinarian is subject to disciplinary action for the violation of any of the following:
a. Engaging in unethical conduct which includes, but is not limited to, a violation of the standards of practice as set out in 811—Chapter 12, and which may include acts or offenses in violation of Iowa's principles of veterinary medical ethics, as adopted in subrule 10.6(3).
b. Engaging in practice harmful or detrimental to the public which includes, but is not limited to, either of the following:
(1)The use of a rubber stamp to affix a signature to a prescription. A licensee who is unable, due to a physical disability, to make a written signature or mark may substitute in lieu of a signature a rubber stamp which is adopted by the disabled person for all purposes requiring a signature and which is affixed by the disabled person or affixed by another person upon the request of the disabled person and in the licensee's presence.
(2)The practice of maintaining any presigned prescription which is intended to be completed and issued at a later time.
c. Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"g."
d. Indiscriminately or promiscuously prescribing, administering or dispensing any drug; or prescribing, administering or dispensing any drug for other than a lawful purpose.
e. Permitting or directing any veterinary auxiliary personnel or any other person who does not hold the proper credentials to perform veterinary duties involving diagnosis, prescription or surgery, except as allowed pursuant to subrule 8.7(4).
f. Permitting or directing any veterinary auxiliary personnel or any other person to perform any act that would be a legal or ethical violation if committed by a veterinarian.
g. Negligently failing to exercise due care in the delegation of veterinary services to or in supervision of veterinary auxiliary personnel, whether or not injury results.
10.6(3) Principles of veterinary medical ethics. All Iowa-licensed veterinarians are expected to adhere to these principles of veterinary medical ethics listed below and adopted by the board.
a. General ethics principles.
(1)A veterinarian may only be influenced by the welfare of the patient, the needs of the client, the safety of the public, and the need to uphold the public trust vested in the veterinary profession and shall avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.
(2)A veterinarian shall provide competent veterinary medical care under the terms of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), with compassion and respect for animal welfare and human health.
(3)A veterinarian shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and report veterinarians who are deficient in character or competence to the appropriate entities.
(4)A veterinarian shall not willfully violate the provisions of Iowa Code chapters 169 and 272C and rules promulgated thereunder by the board, or other law of this state, another state, or the United States, which relates to the practice of veterinary medicine.
(5)A veterinarian shall respect the rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals and safeguard medical information within the confines of the law.
(6)A veterinarian shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge; maintain a commitment to veterinary medical education; make relevant information available to clients, colleagues, and the public; and obtain consultation or referral when indicated.
(7)A veterinarian shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide veterinary medical care.
(8)A veterinarian shall not advertise a specialty or claim to be a specialist when not a diplomate of a veterinary specialty organization recognized by the AVMA.
b. Veterinarian-client-patient relationship ethics. A veterinarian shall not engage in the practice of veterinary medicine without a valid VCPR as defined in these rules.
c. Veterinarian-client communication; documentation of informed consent.
(1)A veterinarian shall explain to clients how any diagnostic tests offered would help diagnose a patient's medical condition.
(2)A veterinarian is responsible for professional communication directly with the client regarding diagnosis, options for treatment(s), expected cost of treatment(s), expected outcome of treatment(s), and the potential risks associated with each treatment regimen, as well as the client's ability to decline treatment(s). Client consent for the treatment(s) shall be documented in the patient's medical records. Veterinary auxiliary personnel may communicate the information listed in this subparagraph to the client under the supervision of an Iowa-licensed veterinarian.
(3)If a veterinarian does not have the expertise or the necessary equipment and facilities to adequately diagnose or treat a patient, the veterinarian shall offer a referral to another veterinarian where the diagnosis or treatment can be performed.
d. Veterinary medical records.
(1)Complete, accurate and legible medical records that are considered to meet the prevailing standard of the practice of veterinary medicine are set by the board.
(2)Any controlled substances administered to a patient must be written into the patient's medical record, which shall include the drug name, the date the drug was administered, the amount of drug administered, the frequency of drug administration, and the prescribing (and administering, if different) veterinarian's name, pursuant to rules 811—12.2(169) to 811—12.4(169). This requirement is in addition to regulations and requirements promulgated by the Iowa board of pharmacy, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and any other applicable governmental agency. Violating or failing to comply with a state or federal law or regulation relating to the storing, labeling, prescribing, or dispensing of controlled substances is unethical.
(3)Humane euthanasia of animals is an ethical veterinary procedure. A veterinarian can refuse to perform euthanasia.
e. Client and patient privacy rights.
(1)A veterinarian shall protect and respect the privacy rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals. A veterinarian shall not reveal confidential medical records or other medical information unless authorized to do so by law.
(2)It is unethical to place photographs or information regarding a patient, a client, or a client's premises on social media or other public platforms without the consent of the owner, unless the patient, client, or client's premises cannot be identified by its marking and unless all personally identifying information has been removed from the photograph. Use of photographs and information for didactic purposes is permitted with client consent or after removal of any information that would identify the client or patient.
f. Professional behavior.
(1)A veterinarian shall be honest in all professional interactions while respecting the rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals. A veterinarian must be honest and fair in relations with others, and a veterinarian shall not engage in fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, including by material omission, in accordance with Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"a."
(2)A veterinarian must not defame or injure the professional standing or reputation of another veterinarian in a false or misleading manner. Any complaints about behavior of a veterinarian that may violate the principles of veterinary medical ethics should be addressed through the board in an appropriate and timely manner.
(3)A veterinarian who is impaired due to substance abuse or mental health or physical conditions as set forth in Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"h" must not act in the capacity of a veterinarian and shall seek medical treatment from qualified organizations or individuals.
10.6(4) Recommended practices for veterinarians.
a. A veterinarian is encouraged to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health. The responsibilities of the veterinary profession extend beyond individual patients and clients to society in general.
b. A veterinarian is encouraged to participate in the political process to seek changes to laws and regulations that are contrary to the best interests of the patient, the client and public health.
c. A veterinarian is encouraged to make the veterinarian's knowledge available to the community and to provide the veterinarian's services for activities that protect public health.
d. A veterinarian is encouraged to view, evaluate, and treat all individual persons in any professional activity or circumstance in which the veterinarian may be involved solely as individuals on the basis of the person's personal abilities, qualifications and character.
811—10.7(17A,169,272C) Sanctions. The board has authority to impose disciplinary sanctions in circumstances allowed by Iowa Code section 272C.3(2)"a" through "f."
811—10.8(17A,169,272C) Panel of specialists. The board may appoint a panel of veterinarians who are specialists to ascertain the facts of a case pursuant to Iowa Code section 272C.6(2). The board chairperson or designee appoints the presiding officer.
10.8(1) The executive secretary sets the date, time, and location of the hearing and makes proper notification to all parties.
10.8(2) The panel of specialists shall:
a. Enter into the record the names of the presiding officer, members of the panel, the parties and their representatives.
b. Enter into the record the notice and evidence of service, order for hearing, statement of charges, answer, if available, and any other pleadings, motions or orders.
c. Receive opening statements from the parties.
d. Receive evidence, in accordance with Iowa Code section 17A.14, on behalf of the state of Iowa and on behalf of the credential holder.
e. Question the witnesses.
f. Receive closing statements from the parties.
g. Determine the findings of fact by a majority vote and make a written report of its findings to the board within a reasonable period.
811—10.9(17A,169,272C) Informal settlement. Pursuant to the provisions of Iowa Code sections 17A.12 and 272C.3, the board may consider resolution of disciplinary matters through informal settlement prior to commencement of contested case proceedings. The secretary or designee may negotiate with the credential holder regarding a proposed disposition of the controversy. Upon consent of both parties, the board will review the proposal for action.
811—10.10(17A,169,272C) Voluntary surrender. A voluntary surrender of credentials may be submitted to the board as resolution of a contested case or in lieu of continued compliance with a disciplinary decision of the board.
811—10.11(17A,169,272C) Application for reinstatement. A person whose credential has been suspended, revoked, or voluntarily surrendered may apply to the board for reinstatement in accordance with the terms and conditions of the order.
10.11(1) If the credential was voluntarily surrendered, or if the order for suspension or revocation did not establish terms and conditions for reinstatement, an initial application cannot be made until one year has elapsed from the date of the order.
10.11(2) The application alleges facts and circumstances which will enable the board to determine that the basis for the sanction or voluntary surrender no longer exists and that it is in the public interest to reinstate the credential. The burden of proof to establish these facts rests with the petitioner.
10.11(3) The hearing in an application for reinstatement is a contested case within the meaning of Iowa Code section 17A.12.
10.11(4) The order to grant or deny reinstatement incorporates findings of fact and conclusions of law. If reinstatement is granted, terms and conditions for reinstating the credential may be imposed.