|Duties of LVTs and Unlicensed Personnel|
This information has been provided by Barbara J. Ahern, Esq., NYSVMS Executive Board Counsel
New York State Education Law and Education Department regulations contain information on the limitations of the work that may be done by licensed veterinary technicians and unlicensed staff employed in a veterinary hospital.
The definition of the profession of veterinary technology establishes the general scope of practice for the licensed veterinary technician:
Education Law § 6708. Definition of practice of veterinary technology.
1. The practice of the profession of veterinary technology is defined as the performance of services within the field of veterinary medicine by a person who, for compensation or personal profit, is employed by or under the supervision of a veterinarian to perform such duties as are required in carrying out medical orders as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian requiring an understanding of veterinary science, but not requiring professional service as set forth in section sixty-seven hundred one of this article [containing the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine].
2. The commissioner shall promulgate regulations defining the functions an veterinary technician may perform that are consistent with the training and qualifications for a license as an veterinary technician. The commissioner may further require that a licensee may practice within an area of specialization only upon the successful completion of an examination established for the purpose of establishing competence in a specific area of practice in the field of veterinary technology.
Regulations promulgated pursuant to this section of law list broad areas of duties that may only be performed by a licensed veterinary technician (or a licensed veterinarian):
8 NYCRR Part 62.7 Practice of veterinary technology.
Functions. The functions of a veterinary technician may include, but shall not be limited to:
1. collecting of appropriate specimens and performing laboratory procedures in clinical pathology and histopathology;
2. exposing radiographic film;
3. preparing and administering medications on medical orders of the supervising veterinarian;
4. assisting in medical procedures;
5. inducing and maintaining anesthesia under the onsite supervision of the licensed veterinarian; and
6. assisting in surgical procedures in the physical presence of the licensed veterinarian.
Supervision.The functions of a veterinary technician shall be performed pursuant to the direction and under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Such general supervision shall not be construed to require the physical presence of the supervising veterinarian at the time and place where such services are performed except as required by this Part.
Section 6713 of the Education Law addresses the types of duties that may be performed by unlicensed staff:
Education Law § 6713. Special provisions.
1. An unlicensed person may provide supportive services to a veterinarian, including but not limited to administering oral or topical medications, incidental to and/or concurrent with such veterinarian personally performing a service or procedure, provided such supportive services do not require a knowledge of veterinary science.
The licensed veterinarian supervising other staff is responsible for the proper delegation of duties to them. If a veterinarian has staff performing duties that are not permitted by the provisions of the laws and regulations cited above, the veterinarian may be charged with professional misconduct based on a charge of "delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified, by training, by experience or by licensure, to perform them.” [8 NYCRR Part 29(b)(10)
The New York State Education Law clearly defines the microchipping of an animal as the practice of veterinary medicine:
Education Law 6701. Definition of the practice of veterinary medicine
The practice of the profession of veterinary medicine is defined as diagnosing, treating, operating, or prescribing for any animal disease, pain, injury, deformity, or physical condition, or the subcutaneous insertion of a microchip intended to be used to identify an animal. "Animal" includes every living creature except a human being.
Any task which is defined as the practice of veterinary medicine may be performed only by a veterinarian or a licensed veterinary technician acting at the direction and under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
For microchipping, the following exception to this rule applies:
Education Law 6705 Exempt Persons
The following persons under the following limitations may practice veterinary medicine within the state without a license...
10. Any employee of a non-for-profit pound, shelter, duly incorporated Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, humane society, or dog or cat protective association may insert a microchip for the purposes of identification of any animal being held for adoption by such organization.
The exception permits a lay person who is an employee of a not-for-profit pound, shelter, SPCA, or dog or cat protective association to microchip animals owned by the shelter; this exemption does not allow such person to engage in the microchipping of animals that are not owned by the shelter (i.e., that are privately owned).
There has apparently been some confusion over microchipping because rules in other states allow lay persons to microchip animals. The New York rule is, however, more restrictive, and microchipping in this state on privately-owned animals may only be done by a veterinarian or an LVT.
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