Authored by Assembly Member Kansen Chu (AD25), Assembly Bill 3013 would have created a legal basis for licensed physical therapists to provide physical therapy services to animals without veterinary supervision. Today the Veterinary Practice Act only allows physical therapists to treat an animal patient if they are directly supervised by a licensed veterinarian. AB 3013 sought to remove that barrier. According to Assembly member Chu’s office, the motivation behind the bill was twofold: 1) to provide additional choices to consumers seeking animal physical therapy services, and 2) to allow ‘small business’ physical therapy practices to dabble in animal physical therapy without needing to hire a veterinarian to comply with the supervisory requirements.
AB 3013 was vehemently opposed by many veterinary organizations, including the California Veterinary Medical Association (“CVMA”) and the Veterinary Medical Board (“VMB”). When opposing the bill Valerie Fenstermaker, Executive Director of CVMA, said “[AB 3013 would allow] for a veterinarian to refer a patient to a physical therapist who owned an independent animal rehabilitation practice with no veterinarian present and without re-establishing the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.” Furthermore, the VMB contended that “direct supervision allows for collaboration on the total medical picture with the veterinarian who has established the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and has the ultimate responsibility for the patient.”
Before adjourning for the year, the California Assembled considered AB 3013, but did not pass the bill.