Colorado Veterinary Practice Act Enters Sunset Review

Written by Erin Henninger, BA, CVT, CVT (ECC)

This year, the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act will be opened to undergo a “Sunset Review”. The sunset review process for regulated professions was introduced in Colorado in the 1970s to ensure problems are addressed and transparency in government is achieved. Per DORA, a “sunset review is a periodic assessment of state boards, programs, and functions to determine whether or not they should be continued by the legislature. Sunset reviews focus on creating the least restrictive form of regulation consistent with protecting the public. In formulating recommendations, sunset reviews consider the public's right to consistent, high quality professional or occupational services and the ability of businesses to exist and thrive in a competitive market, free from unnecessary regulation”. The Veterinary Practice Act (VPA) was last reviewed in 2010 and an eleven year timeframe was set for the next review….so here we are!

To recap, the notable changes affecting CVTs resulting from the 2010 sunset review recommendations were:

• The definition of veterinary technician was removed

• Levels of supervision were further defined within the VPA and the Rules and Regulations

• DVMs can now be held responsible for proper supervision of staff

In preparation and in conjunction with the sunrise review application, CACVT’s Veterinary Practice Act Task Force has been identifying issues of consumer protection and animal safety that could be bolstered by including CVTs in the VPA or providing more guidance in the levels of supervision. DORA has very specific criteria that must be met to recommend a change to the VPA, which can be found HERE. The overarching focus is consumer protection and ensuring the regulations do not unfairly disqualify interested individuals from entering the profession. To understand how the VPA impacts professional practice, DORA will interview veterinary stakeholders to guide their final congressional recommendations. They also review the state board of veterinary medicine actions to determine whether there is public protection or professional self-interest. The process takes almost a full year, which began the end of 2020 and will culminate in a final report presented to the Colorado legislature in October 2021. 

DORA welcomes public input on any review that is currently happening, or will be happening in the future. It is helpful for them to hear from different perspectives to learn as much as possible regarding the issues facing the industry. The important thing for us to remember, as members of the profession, is the regulatory focus. Ultimately, CVTs have the best interest of animals at heart, which aligns with the regulatory focus. It is imperative in the effort to advance our profession that we connect our issues to those of DORA. We are most powerful when we share a common message from many different perspectives!

Please visit DORA’s COPRRR website for more information on sunset and sunrise reviews.