|SUMMARY OF:||A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Board of Veterinary Examiners, October 29, 2004.|
Purpose of the Report
In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes, we have reviewed the activities of the Board of Veterinary Examiners (BVE). As required by state law, the legislative committees of reference are to consider this report when considering whether to extend the termination date for BVE. Currently under AS 08.03.010(c)(21), the board will terminate on June 30, 2005. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, BVE will have one year to conclude its administrative operations.
In our opinion, the termination date for the Board of Veterinary Examiners (BVE) should be extended. The board is operating in the public interest by effectively regulating the individuals who hold themselves out to the public as practitioners of veterinary medicine. BVE serves a public purpose and has demonstrated an ability to conduct its business in a satisfactory manner. The board continues to propose changes to regulations improving access to licensure without compromising the competency of practice. Alaska Statute 08.03.010(c)(21) requires the Board of Veterinary Examiners be terminated on June 30, 2005. If not extended, under law the board would have a one-year period to administratively conclude its affairs. We recommend the legislature extend the board’s termination date to June 30, 2009.
Findings and Recommendations
Recommendation No. 1
BVE should ensure the completeness and timeliness of its required annual reports.
Under AS 08.01.070(10), BVE is required to submit “… an annual performance report to the department [Commerce, Community, and Economic Development] stating the board’s accomplishments, activities, and needs.”
Annual reports for FY 01, FY 02, and FY 03 were submitted on time to the department. However, pertinent standard information was not included in several of the reports. Noted omissions included budget reports, investigative reports, continuing education enforcement reports, and perhaps most importantly, BVE’s operating goals and objectives for the upcoming year(s). Text stating that these items were to be “added later” was included for the omitted sections, but the reports were never updated.
The FY 04 annual report does include all the essential elements. Accordingly, we recommend BVE take steps to ensure that each annual report is complete and timely, in order to meet the intended purpose of both the general licensing reporting statute and the board’s specific reporting statute.
Analysis of Public Need
The board has served the public through its examination and licensing of qualified applicants. As recommended in the prior sunset audit report1, the board adopted regulations that clarified what serves as a passing score on the national examination. The change resolved our concerns about the ambiguity in the previous regulatory language.
The board also provided for easier access to licensure by examination, expanding the nature and type of transcripts it would accept as part of the license application. In addition, the board is reviewing regulations pertaining to licensing of veterinary technicians that would permit individuals who trained in Canada to be more readily licensed in Alaska.
In the previous sunset review we reported BVE’s operations had been impeded by a delay in the distribution of a handbook to veterinarians regarding how to handle various public health threats. The delay was attributable to a policy difference with the Department of Health and Social Services related to the appropriate handling and disposal of rabid animals. The board worked with the Division of Public Health in order to ensure its policy was consistent with guidance issued by the national veterinary organizations. Subsequently, this handbook has been distributed to all interested parties and is available upon request.