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VEB Docket No. 17–VER-01             November 20, 2017  
           
WISCONSIN VETERINARY EXAMINING BOARD
EMERGENCY RULE
The Wisconsin veterinary examining board hereby proposes the following emergency rule to create ch. VE 11, relating to a veterinary professional assistance program and affecting small business.
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Analysis Prepared by the Veterinary Examining Board
The statement of scope for this rule, SS 115-17, was approved by the Governor on October 17, 2017, published in Register 742A4, on October 23, 2017, and approved by the VEB on November 13, 2017. The Governor approved this emergency rule on November 20, 2017.  
This emergency rule creates ch. VE 11, “Veterinary Professional Assistance Program, to implement s. 89.03(3), Stats., created by the Legislature in 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the Budget Bill (1)   The new statutory s. 89.03 (3), Stats., states that the veterinary examining board (“VEB”) shall promulgate rules specifying a procedure for addressing allegations that a person licensed or certified by the VEB under this chapter has practiced as a veterinarian or veterinary technician while impaired by alcohol or other drugs or that his or her ability to practice is impaired by alcohol or other drugs, and for assisting a person licensed by the VEB under this chapter who requests to participate in the procedure or who requests assistance in obtaining mental health services. In promulgating rules under this subsection, the VEB shall seek to facilitate early identification of chemically dependent veterinarians or veterinary technicians and encourage their rehabilitation. The rules promulgated under this subsection may be used in conjunction with the formal disciplinary process under this chapter. The VEB may contract with another entity to administer the procedure specified under the rules promulgated under this subsection.
Pursuant to section 9102 of the non-statutory language in 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the VEB may use the procedure under s. 227.24, Stats., to promulgate rules under s. 89.03 (3), Stats., for the period before the effective date of the permanent rule promulgated under s. 89.03 (3), Stats. If the VEB uses this procedure to promulgate these rules, the VEB shall promulgate the rules no later than the 60th day after the effective date of the Budget Bill, which was September 22, 2017. Notwithstanding section 227.24 (1) (a), (2) (b), and (3) of the statutes, the VEB is not required to provide evidence that promulgating a rule under this subsection, as an emergency rule, is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, or welfare and is not required to provide a finding of emergency for a rule promulgated under this subsection.
The VEB is proposing a permanent rule, which will be posted for economic impact analysis, be approved by the VEB for hearing, and have several hearings for comments in conjunction with this emergency rule.
Statutes Interpreted
Statutes Interpreted: 89.03, Stats.,Rules.
Statutory Authority
Statutory Authority:   s. 89.03 (3), Stats.
Explanation of Statutory Authority
The VEB has been given specific authority, pursuant to 89.03 (3) to adopt rules specifying a procedure for addressing allegations that a person licensed or certified by the VEB under this chapter has practiced as a veterinarian or veterinary technician while impaired by alcohol or other drugs or that his or her ability to practice is impaired by alcohol or other drugs, and for assisting a person licensed by the VEB under this chapter who requests to participate in the procedure or who requests assistance in obtaining mental health services. In promulgating rules under this subsection, the VEB shall seek to facilitate early identification of chemically dependent veterinarians or veterinary technicians and encourage their rehabilitation. The rules promulgated under this subsection may be used in conjunction with the formal disciplinary process under this chapter.
Related Statutes and Rules
Since the transfer of the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) limited purposes authority over the VEB in January 2016 to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (“DATCP”), the VEB has utilized ch. 89, Stat., and chs. VE 1-10, Wis. Adm. Code, to oversee the operations of the VEB.
Plain Language Analysis
When the VEB was transferred from DSPS to DATCP, the specific administrative code chapters that pertained to its operations were transferred. However, none of the general DSPS administrative code chapters pertaining to all the credentialing boards were made a part of the VE rules, including SPS 7, Professional Assistance Procedure.
To correct this, 2017 Wisconsin Act 59 included an amendment to the statute, relating to the authority of the VEB to write rules, to require the VEB to write rules for a procedure for addressing allegations that a person licensed or certified by the VEB under this chapter has practiced as a veterinarian or veterinary technician while impaired by alcohol or other drugs or that his or her ability to practice is impaired by alcohol or other drugs, and for assisting a person licensed by the VEB under this chapter who requests to participate in the procedure or who requests assistance in obtaining mental health services. In promulgating rules under this subsection, the VEB shall seek to facilitate early identification of chemically dependent veterinarians or veterinary technicians and encourage their rehabilitation. The rules promulgated under this subsection may be used in conjunction with the formal disciplinary process under this chapter. The VEB may contract with another entity to administer the procedure specified under the rules promulgated under this subsection.
Federal and Surrounding State Programs
Federal Programs
There are no federal regulations governing professional assistance programs for veterinary professionals.
Surrounding State Programs
In Illinois, a veterinarian who has been determined by a qualified health care professional to be impaired shall enter into an agreement with the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation-Division of Professional Regulation (“Division”), in which the veterinarian agrees to participate in a program designed to provide care and treatment specifically for health care professionals and which has been approved by the Division. The agreement may include, but not be limited to, the length of the program, the status of the licensee while in a treatment program, and a termination clause whereby both parties may terminate the agreement at any time.
There is nothing specific in the Iowa Veterinary Practice Act regarding a veterinary professional assistance program. However, the Act does allow the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine to have a licensee submit to a physical or mental examination by a designated physician.
There is nothing in the Michigan Veterinary Practice Act regarding a specific veterinary professional assistance program. However, Michigan has a Health Professional Recovery Committee that includes veterinarians. The purpose of this committee is to establish the general components of the health professional recovery program and a mechanism for monitoring health professionals who may be impaired.
There is nothing in the Minnesota Veterinary Practice Act regarding a specific veterinary professional assistance program. However, the Board has the authority to issue an order directing the regulated person to submit to a mental or physical examination or chemical dependency evaluation. Veterinarians may participate in the state's Health Professionals Services Program. 
Data and Analytical Methodologies
The VEB looked at the rules already in place at DSPS and also at other states that have professional assistance programs.
Effect on Small Business
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Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.