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Veterinarian License DefenseIn our previous post, we wrote about ways your clinic can cope with the changes caused by Covid-19. Here are some additional thoughts about understaffing and client satisfaction during the pandemic.

Question: How can my veterinary clinic navigate issues of understaffing caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Understaffing in Veterinary care was a common issue prior to the pandemic. The pandemic only worsens this divide. Following CDC guidelines, an employee who is exposed to Covid-19 must quarantine until they receive their test results, and even if they are negative, the length of the quarantine is 7 days from the test. If it is positive, the quarantine period is at least 14-days, and they cannot return until they acquire a negative test. This can create large, unexpected gaps in staffing if even one employee is following quarantine protocol. This issue can become exacerbated if multiple employees were exposed and require quarantine. We recommend to have a plan and prepare for these possible scenarios. It will still be challenging, but you will be prepared for the unexpected.

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Veterinary License DefenseThe veterinary field is highly varied and there are different types of certification and licensing that an individual interested in pursuing the field can obtain. One may choose a particular path dependent on needs, time, salary, and how they would like to put their certification or licensing to use. They also may be limited by their current education or funds. If you end up going the licensed path, we can assist in any matters that may arise.

Veterinary Assistants

If you are interested in pursuing a specialized veterinary route but do not want to commit to licensing or certification and their accompanying fees and time spent, then the Assistant path may be a route to research. Veterinary Assistants do not have any official licensing or certification, and only a high school education or GED is considered necessary to obtain the position. Assistants will often be the go-to person for most tasks in the veterinary office setting. The clinic must be kept sanitary, and assistants will maintain these standards. Besides the important task of clinic upkeep, assistants will help the vet or certified technicians in exams of patients. An assistant may be needed to restrain the animals, comfort them during procedures, and generally assist in any necessary aspect of the exam and appointment. This differs greatly from a general vet receptionist or kennel assistant, who are often unable to interact with animals. This path might be the right route for someone who wants to be involved in animal care, but does not want to/cannot obtain certification.

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Chicago Pharmacist AttorneyDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, patients in rural areas face difficulties already present in obtaining care, including poverty, inconsistent virus information, and lack of transportation. Pharmacies serving these populations are working extra-hard to ensure the best care in their communities.

One way community pharmacies can help is with mobile clinic options. A mobile clinic can provide clinical and education services to those with transportation challenges. In addition to offering a telephone service to patients who cannot come to the pharmacy, mobile clinics can be at the disposal of area health agencies as the pandemic expands. While it may seem that patient outreach services can and will be affected by COVID-19 just as other non-health related business, pharmacies are able to adjust as more info about the virus comes online. Some pharmacies have adopted best practices including working with county health departments, senior centers, and school districts to assist the community with support, medication and needed supplies.

Requests for delivery have risen dramatically, for obvious reasons, and some pharmacies have developed a way to coordinate deliveries with patients that limits in-person contact. It is important to remember that pharmacists must be available for follow-up care to those patients. Some pharmacies are pushing state Medicaid programs to issue waiver requests for reimbursements on home delivery, which is critical due to the small margins that community pharmacies already endure.

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Chicago Pharmacist LawyerDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been included in legislation creating a tax holiday for health professionals and first responders who continue to serve. The “Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations” (HEROES) Act of 2020 did not originally include pharmacists as beneficiaries, but they have since been added.

The original bill only applied to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, hospital and medical facility support staff, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, corrections officers, and law enforcement officers. The hope is that the legislation will be added to the next congressional COVID-19 legislative package so pharmacists have peace of mind.

What does the federal tax holiday mean? It would suspend federal tax withholding for four months and give the government the authority to extend withholding for an additional three months. It applies to all income up to $150,000 annually.

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Chicago Primary Care Physician LawyerDo I have to disclose my criminal record to IDFPR? Can my criminal record impact my medical license?

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can and will find out about your criminal record, whether you are about to submit an application for physician licensure by endorsement or examination, or about to renew your existing medical license, or recently convicted and unsure of your next steps.

Will IDFPR and the Illinois Medical Licensing Board or the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board revoke your license? Will you have any lesser impact of discipline on your license? The answers depend on what you were or are charged with, what the eventual charge to which you pleaded guilty was (or found guilty by a judge or jury), and what kind of sentence was imposed by the criminal court.

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Illinois Prescription Monitoring ProgramYou may have heard that as of January 1, 2018, Illinois veterinarians were required to register with the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The obligation to register is mandatory and you can expect your professional license to practice veterinary medicine to be publicly disciplined if you fail to do so. In addition to registering, the law now requires a veterinarian to also consult the PMP “to assess patient access to controlled substances” whenever an initial script is written for any Schedule II narcotic.

You should know that this law does not apply to narcotic prescriptions for cancer treatment, palliative care, or a seven day or less supply provided by a hospital emergency department when treating an acute, traumatic medical condition.

Accordingly, you are required to check the controlled substance patient record in the PMP. You are probably also required to check the controlled substance record of the owner as well, but there is not yet any clear authority on which to rely. Although veterinarians have no clinical training in assessment or diagnosis of human addiction, you would be expected to exercise clinical judgement as to whether it is appropriate to write a Schedule II prescription.

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