Colorado, like much of the country, is experiencing a severe shortage of veterinary professionals. A recent study by Colorado State University’s Center for Animal-Humane Policy It found that 71% of veterinary practice owners and managers said they turn away clients at least weekly because they can’t fit them into their schedule or address their pet’s condition in a timely manner. can
This survey – with a national the study 75 million pets in the U.S. could be without veterinary care by 2030 – indicating an urgent need for Colorado to update its veterinary practice laws to expand access to life-saving services, including veterinary telemedicine. could
Unfortunately, a regressive state bill proposed by Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Boulder, would have the opposite effect. Bill E would ban telemedicine for new patients or those who haven’t seen a doctor in a while, making it harder for pet owners to get veterinary care for their pets while those tools Unnecessarily limiting what veterinarians can use to provide treatment.
Telemedicine — when doctors diagnose a condition or prescribe treatment based on a video consultation — is an option that human health care providers have long relied on to connect patients with medical professionals. do
Similarly, Veterinary telemedicine It has been shown to provide safer and easier care for more pets to treat a wide range of ailments and simplify routine preventive services. Veterinary telemedicine holds great promise for expanding much-needed access to care. Telemedicine can reduce animal suffering, remove financial and logistical barriers, keep pets in their own homes, and increase the capacity of animal shelters and veterinary clinics to serve animals. .
Pets that are older, afraid of visits to the vet or have difficulty with transportation benefit greatly from better access to virtual care. And, it can be a lifeline for pet owners, expanding care across geographic and economic lines to accommodate those who live in rural or underserved areas without access to veterinary services. are
With many pet owners in Colorado already struggling to access veterinary care, Rep. McCormick’s bill would exacerbate that crisis by limiting a safe and effective tool that pet owners strongly support. are According to A second CSU study73% of pet owners reported that they would feel comfortable seeing a veterinarian through a telemedicine appointment, and of those respondents, 74% said they would feel comfortable seeing a veterinarian through a telemedicine visit for the first time. A visit to the vet will also make you feel at ease.
Rep. McCormick’s bill would prohibit veterinarians from using their professional judgment to determine when it is appropriate to offer practical care to new or lapsed patients, and when an in-person exam is actually necessary. need of Some veterinarians are still unfamiliar with telemedicine, while others may have unfounded concerns that the increased use of telehealth could affect their income.
The barriers the bill would create are not currently in Colorado law, making the proposal a dangerous step back. This also contrasts with the responses of professionals in the CSU study who said establishing a veterinary relationship through telemedicine would increase the care they could provide to underserved populations.
By proposing legislation that would add to state law that in-person visits are the only way to establish a new relationship with clients, Rep. McCormick’s bill would have many Colorado pet owners and pets looking treats those who might not otherwise be able to see a veterinarian. Clinics, including those who need weekend or night care, or new pet owners who can’t get an appointment in a timely manner.
Last year, Arizona (SB 1053) and California (AB 1399New laws were passed to remove restrictions on telemedicine. This gives veterinarians the power to determine whether an animal should be seen in person or can be safely treated through virtual care. Colorado should follow their lead to ensure that veterinary telemedicine is available to all families and Colorado-licensed veterinarians.
Elise Gingrich, DVM, is a veterinarian who lives in Fort Collins and is the senior director of shelter medicine for the ASPCA.
The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of the columnists and editorial writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newsroom. For more on The Sun’s opinion policy, read our ethics policy. learn Submit a column. Reach out to an opinion editor. Rae@coloradosun.com.
Follow the Colorado Sun opinion. Facebook.
Story Type: Opinion
Advocates ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.