CA 4829.5 “LIZZY’S LAW” WENT INTO EFFECT ON JANUARY 1, 2019:
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Who Does CA 4829.5 Apply To?
CA 4829.5 Applies to Every Veterinarian
What does CA 4829.5 Require?
CA 4829.5 requires veterinarians to comply with the following new consultation requirements when initially prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing a drug in an outpatient setting:
- The veterinarian must offer a consultation the first time they prescribe or dispense the “dangerous drug” to a client or to the client’s agent.
- A “dangerous drug” is any drug as defined in Section 4022 of the CA Code.
When is a Consultation “Optional”?
The following scenarios would not require a consultation under CA 4829.5:
- When administering drugs to admitted patients.
- Drugs given during appointments.
- When administering, dispensing, or furnishing a Non-Prescription Drug.
What is required for the consultation?
The consultation must include at least the following information:
- The name and description of the dangerous drug.
- Route of administration, dosage form, dosage, duration of drug therapy, the duration of the effects of the drug, and the common severe adverse effects associated with the use of a short-acting or long-acting drug.
- Any special directions for proper use and storage.
- Actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose.
- If available, precautions and relevant warnings provided by the drug’s manufacturer, including common severe adverse effects of the drug.
What if a client requests written drug documentation?
If a client requests written drug documentation about the drug, the veterinarian must provide it if the documentation is available. Thus, it is advisable that veterinarians subscribe to a paid service such as Plumbs, VeterinaryPartner.com, or Veterinary Pharmacy Reference (VPR) so that they can quickly print off required information.
Can veterinary technicians or assistants provide the consultation? Yes.
A veterinarian may delegate to a registered veterinary technician or veterinary assistant the task of providing the consultation and requested drug documentation required by CA 4829.5.
Should veterinarians (or team members) document the consultation? YES!
The Most Important Requirement is documentation, as failure to document whether you had the required consultation (or if it was declined) can cause the lack thereof to be used against you in a malpractice case. Thus, veterinarians (or their team) must document in the patient medical record whether the consultation is provided or declined by the client (or their agent). As a best practice, you should include the name of the client or client’s agent in the record, as well as the name, initials, or identifier of the person making the recommended medical record entry.
- Establish a routine for ensuring compliance with CA 4829.5. Consider the following options, although you may find alternatives that help you ensure compliance:
- Supplying the consultation to all OTC and Non-OTC drugs so that you do not forget the consultation
- Designating one or more team members to do the required consultants, and ensuring they are appropriately trained on the requirements of the law.
- Using chart stickers that include required information under the statute to help you document the consultation, if your hospital is not paperless. (See our website for samples.)
- Using medical note templates with fill-in spaces to ensure that your Electronic Medical Record contains all required information.
- Invest in an easy-to-search drug database so that you can easily print required handouts when requested by clients.
- Consider investing in your Practice Management Software’s drug database add-on. For example, many software programs are compatible with the “Built In” Drug database called Veterinary Pharmacy Reference that can be activated for a nominal fee, and which automatically prints out required handouts when drugs are prescribed.
If you have specific questions about this law, or any other law affecting your veterinary practice, please reach out to your attorney.
|Jeffrey H. Schick, CVPM, ESQ
Animal Health Attorney
Animal Health Coach