STAND. COM. REP. NO. 771-22
RE: H.B. No. 1598
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2022
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce, to which was referred H.B. No. 1598 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VETERINARY MEDICINE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
(1) Authorize the Hawaii Board of Veterinary Medicine to grant temporary courtesy permits and relief permits for out-of-state veterinarians;
(2) Specify the conditions under which licensed veterinarians may practice veterinary telemedicine;
(3) Clarify when persons licensed to practice veterinary medicine in other jurisdictions may practice in the State; and
(4) Authorize international veterinary school graduates to qualify for the licensure examination.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, Hawaiian Humane Society, Animal Interfaith Alliance in Britain, Veterinary Emergency + Referral Center, The Humane Society of the United States, and numerous individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Your Committee finds that there is a shortage of veterinarian specialists and practitioners in the State, which has made it exceedingly difficult for animal welfare organizations and veterinary practices to fill vacant positions. This has prevented veterinary emergency hospitals from operating on an around-the-clock basis and prevented other practices from providing the level of service needed in the community. As a result, owners and their pets may experience delays in care as long as several months.
Your Committee further finds that, in 2020, the practice where an out-of-state veterinarian could work under the sponsorship of an in-state veterinarian was invalidated by the Board of Veterinary Medicine. While this practice was commonly employed for many years by nonprofit organizations to meet their acute needs, this practice was determined to have rested on an incorrect interpretation of the law. This measure is the result of a collaborative effort to authorize various avenues for out-of-state veterinarians to fill the gaps in the State's veterinary needs.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Amending the language within the telemedicine provisions and the definition of "veterinarian-client-patient relationship" for consistency with federal law;
(2) Clarifying that the telemedicine provisions are not intended to override federal or state requirements and standards for issuing certificates of veterinary inspection or health certificates, rather than specifying that these certificates must be done by physical examinations and not through telemedicine;
(3) Specifying that emergency responses include human-caused disasters;
(4) Clarifying that for licensure purposes, a veterinarian college must meet the standards established by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education;
(5) Changing the effective date to January 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and
(6) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1598, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1598, H.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce,
AARON LING JOHANSON, Chair