Veterinarian Telemedicine Practices Raises Legal Concerns

Veterinarian Telemedicine Practices Raises Legal ConcernsAs we move toward digitalizing every professional field, we are bound to experience a grey area between the law and the nature of the operation. In recent news, Texas veterinarian Ron Hines is under scrutiny for offering medical advice via his website. What was seemingly harmless, his professional advice is now getting enough attention to land his case in the Supreme Court. In the wake of these telemedicine legal battles, it’s advised to ensure your Veterinary Liability Insurance is in place.

Although Hines is licensed with a lengthy career in veterinary medicine, the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners requires that the veterinarian meet with the client face to face, establish a patient relationship, and perform a physical exam before being able to treat an animal.  This law has been established to prevent bogus diagnoses and uninformed advice from being distributed online. Hines’ license was suspended in 2013 and he was fined $1,000 for these accusations. Although he initially won the appeal, the ruling was overturned this past March.

On the other hand, lawyer Jess Rowes argues that Hines’ first amendment rights are being challenged and that his professional opinion is not moot simply because the animal is not physically present when offering recommendations. Hines also presses the issue of being able to offer informed advice remotely to clients with limited veterinary services available.

Statewide, the laws for what constitutes a veterinarian-pet relationship are very strict. However, Rowes disputes that Hines was simply having a discussion with a pet owner where there were restricted limited vet services; reminding the counsel that Hines is beyond qualified to supplement this advice. As of now, the issue has not been resolved.

Due to recent developments with Telemedicine and the inevitable legal complications, don’t wait until it’s too late to implement a Philadelphia professional liability policy. At GMG Insurance Agency, we have a complete understanding of the veterinary industry and the unique liabilities associated with it. We strive to provide the best comprehensive coverage to protect you and your business. To learn more about our offerings, contact one of our specialists today at (855) 407-4450.