Sunday, July 17, 2011

Will You Please Fill My Prescription?

More than a request.
As a Veterinary Emergency practice we often receive phone calls from clients who have run out of a prescription requesting that we either refill the medication ourselves or call the request into a Pharmacy.  The request seems innocent and simple enough, but there is more to the story.  Unless a veterinarian has examined the patient and prescribed the medication for the current condition we would not be able to say "yes" to the client's request.  Why?  It has to do with federal and state laws surrounding the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship or VCPR.

The Creation of the VCPR.
The American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA, is made up of medically educated and licensed veterinarians who care deeply about the current practice and future well being of veterinary medicine as a profession.  Formed in 1863 and renamed to the AVMA in 1889 the association has helped form much of the foundation on which the profession operates.  Part of that foundation includes the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA originally approved by the House of Delegates in 1867 as the AVMA Code of Ethics.  The code of ethics includes the definition of the relationship between a veterinarian, their clients, and patients.  The state of Colorado has also defined the VCPR in the Veterinary Practice Act that governs the ability of veterinarians to dispense medications.

Establishing and Maintaining a VCPR
The VCPR is defined by the AVMA as a "relationship that exists when your veterinarian knows your pet well enough to be able to diagnose and treat any medical conditions your animal develops."  A VCPR is established when your veterinarian has the opportunity to examine your animal in person and continues only as long as regular visits with your veterinarian are maintained.  Once the VCPR expires, your pet would need to be reexamined by the veterinarian before any diagnoses or dispensing of medication could take place.  As stated by the AVMA "a valid VCPR cannot be established online, via email, or over the phone."

Ethical, Legal and Medical Basis
For those reasons the veterinarians at Central Veterinary Emergency Services have to deny the request to fill medication prescriptions for any animals they have not examined on an ethical, legal, and medical basis.  We truly want the best for your pet.  Our veterinarians have on average 8+ years of training and internships that give them the basis of knowledge by which they can examine, diagnose and treat your pets condition.  To be certain the best care is provided to your pet a personal examination is necessary in order to establish the relationship with you and your pet.  It couldn't be said better than as stated by the AVMA "a hands-on physical examination is incredibly valuable to your pet and can't be replaced by a phone conversation, web-based conversation, or e-mail description".

For more information about the VCPR visit the AVMA and Colorado's Practice Act websites

1 comment:

Pike Head said...

Thank you VRCC for posting this we will share it on out face book as well. We explain this to CLients everyday and are often met with frustration when we have to tell them NO.