AVMA News

VCPR requirements fuel state legislative activity

Many veterinary organizations remain in favor of a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship established in person


By Malinda Larkin and R. Scott Nolen
Published: 21 November 2023


The issue of whether to establish a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) through an in-person examination or solely electronic means has recently come before state legislatures and veterinary medical boards.

And while there is vast agreement that there’s a future in veterinary medicine for telehealth, what that should look like is up for debate.

Proponents of a virtual VCPR claim that being able to establish that relationship electronically would improve access to care. But many veterinarians don’t believe that is the case because, more often than not, the care most animals need is preventive care that is tailored to the animal’s specific circumstances and requires an in-person visit.

Animals that don’t regularly see a veterinarian are more likely to have issues that require a complete physical examination to diagnose and treat. That’s not possible through telemedicine. On the other hand, once a relationship has been established with a hands-on examination and engagement with the client, telemedicine can be a great tool to supplement ongoing, in-person care.

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