Thursday, December 18, 2014
Bill File: Veterinary Practice Act Amendment
At the end of last year's session, I was contacted by a local veterinarian who was concerned about Utah's laws governing the business. His problem was that his business had grown and he needed to bring on a partner in the business to continue growing. The partner they selected was not a licensed veterinarian but had skills that helped their business tremendously. As they met with their attorney to discuss the way forward, it came to their attention that state law forbid organizing their business in such a way.
Even more disturbing, however, was to discover that not only did law forbid this from occurring, but that the State had essentially turned a blind eye to enforcing any of these statutes. When I called the Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) to discuss this issue, they were caught a bit flat footed. What we discovered was that there was significant veterinary industry reform in 2009 that was supposed to address this issue. That was the legislative intent, at least. But, the devil is always in the details. The specific language was somehow overlooked, and while the legislature desired a less rigid form of business model regulation in the veterinary industry, it didn't get written into the law. Since that time, DOPL has been honoring the legislative intent of those reforms by essentially ignoring the existing code.
This discrepancy poses a problem for law abiding folks who want to follow the rules. Without understanding the politics behind the law, any attorney would advise his or her client to follow the statute. That is exactly what happened to this local veterinarian. Fortunately, they were able to identify the problem and we have drafted a bill to correct it. Here is the language of our proposal:
It is my hope that this will open up a lot of opportunity for aspiring veterinarians. It should provide a means for capital to flow into the industry and help grow existing businesses where there is the desire to do so.