STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2987
RE: S.B. No. 2798
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2022
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which was referred S.B. No. 2798 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VETERINARY MEDICINE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Authorize the Hawai‘i Board of Veterinary Medicine to grant temporary courtesy and relief permits for out-of-state veterinarians;
(2) Permit licensed veterinarians to practice veterinarian telemedicine; and
(3) Allow for international veterinary school graduates to qualify for the licensure examination.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Veterinary Medical Association, Hawaiian Humane Society, Veterinary Emergency + Referral Center, Animal Interfaith Alliance in Britain, Neighborhood Cats, Aloha Animal Advocates, Hui Pono Holoholona, and twenty-seven individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawai‘i Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Your Committee finds that the State is currently experiencing a shortage of veterinary specialists and practitioners. This measure reflects collaborative stakeholder efforts to allow the Hawai‘i Board of Veterinary Medicine to grant temporary permits to assist local pet owners and the veterinary community, and to ensure that all qualified veterinarians are allowed to sit for the State licensing exam. Additionally, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic increased consumer demand for telehealth in the field of veterinary medicine. However, existing law does not provide appropriate safeguards to prevent the misuse of veterinary telehealth. Accordingly, this measure establishes veterinary telehealth definitions and parameters to assist the Hawai‘i Board of Veterinary Medicine in ensuring consumers in the State receive proper and licensed veterinary telemedicine services that meet required standards.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that courtesy permits shall not exceed sixty total days in any twelve-month period, provided that a courtesy permittee's request for more than two courtesy permits within a two-year period shall constitute prima facie evidence that the courtesy permittee is engaged in the active practice of veterinary medicine in the State and a license issued under section 471-9, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, shall be required;
(2) Clarifying that a courtesy permittee shall practice under the level of supervision determined by the sponsor, either directly or indirectly;
(3) Specifying that no individual shall be issued a courtesy permit and a relief permit in the same twelve-month period;
(4) Clarifying that relief permits shall be valid for a period of thirty days, rather than thirty calendar days, and may be renewed once in any twelve-month period, provided that any relief permit issued and renewed shall not exceed sixty total days;
(5) Establishing that a veterinarian shall practice veterinary telemedicine within the context of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship between medically necessary examinations of an animal patient or medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal patient is kept;
(6) Inserting language to specify that nothing in the measure shall be construed to alter federal or state requirements and standards for the issuance of Certificates of Veterinary Inspection or health certificates;
(7) Amending the definitions of "emergency response", "jurisdiction", "veterinarian-client-patient relationship", and "veterinary teleadvice";
(8) Deleting the definition for "veterinary teleconsulting";
(9) Specifying that a veterinarian licensed in another jurisdiction is not prohibited from practicing in the State under the direct supervision of a Hawai‘i-licensed veterinarian as part of an enforcement action under chapter 711, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes;
(10) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2024; and
(11) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2798, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2798, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection,
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair