June 4, 2020 – CA Telemedicine Victory as DCA Waives Restrictions –
California veterinarians now have another tool available to them to help keep pets and people healthy. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) temporarily waived certain restrictions on the use of telemedicine for pets in California and extended the time to refill prescriptions, effective June 4, 2020. In short:
- Telemedicine for New or Different Medical Conditions: As long as the other VCPR requirements have been met, including an initial in-person examination of the animal patient, a veterinarian is now temporarily authorized to use telemedicine to diagnose and treat an animal patient for a new or different medical condition. This waiver expires 60 days after the director’s order was issued.
- Prescription Refills: A prescription issued following an in-person examination last performed between June 1, 2019, and August 1, 2019, is temporarily authorized to be refilled by a veterinarian, without another in-person examination, for up to 18 months from the date of the last examination and issuance of prescription. This effectively extends the time to refill a prescription by six months.
DCA has the sole authority to extend these waivers during the declaration of emergency, in accordance with its standard 60-day review cycle.
Shelter PALS worked hard alongside other advocates for these changes because they will protect human and animal lives. Thank you to everyone who joined us in speaking up about the importance of veterinary telemedicine and securing this important victory for pets and people.