In California, the Veterinary Medical Board has a right to inspect “at any time” any “premises in which veterinary medicine, veterinary dentistry, or veterinary surgery is being practiced.” The Board regularly carries out two kinds of inspections – routine inspections and inspections following a complaint to the Board. Violations found by the Board during an inspection can lead to disciplinary action, and even the revocation of one’s license. To make matters worse, the Board is allowed to perform an inspection unannounced and the veterinarian will have to comply.
It is clear, then, that veterinary hospitals must be prepared at all times for an inspection. However, given the hectic day to day nature of the practice of veterinary medicine and the commotion caused by a hospital or clinic full of sick animals, it can be easy to lose track of whether one is complying with all the necessary requirements.
With this issue in mind, the Board has developed and released the Hospital Standards Self-Evaluation Checklist in order to allow hospitals to remain in compliance and avoid the accelerated heartbeat and sweaty palms that can often accompany notice of an inspection and – more importantly – the costly and time consuming disciplinary proceedings which may follow.
The checklist is available in a downloadable PDF format at the Board’s website. The list contains sections on the following areas of compliance:
- Dangerous Drugs/Controlled Substances
- Practice Management
Each section contains a listing of specific requirements, the law that orders it, and provides suggested methods of compliance. For example, item number 11 – Foor & Beverage reads as follows:
- All drugs and biologicals shall be maintained, administered, dispensed, and prescribed in compliance with State and Federal laws.
- No human food or beverages shall be stored near any drug or biologicals.
- Human food or beverages are stored and consumed in designated areas only; away from animal and laboratory areas.
Example(s) of Compliance
- No human food or beverages located in refrigerators, treatment areas, pharmacy, or laboratory.
- Separate refrigerators for human food must be marked.
(f) The veterinary premises shall meet the following standards:
(6) All drugs and biologicals shall be maintained, administered, dispensed, and prescribed in compliance with state and federal laws
Title 8, CCR 3368 (a) and (b)
(a) Application. This Section shall apply only where employees are permitted to consume food or beverages, or both, on the premises.
(b) Prohibited Areas. Food and beverages shall not be stored or consumed in a toilet room or in an area where they may be contaminated by any toxic material.
Given the vital importance of complying with all the Board’s requirements before an inspection comes along and the easy availability of this new resource, it would be wise for all veterinary hospitals to make a regular habit of performing self inspections at least quarterly.