What is a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship?

Last month in this publication Justin Kieffer shared the details of The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and the Beef Producer. In that article Dr. Kieffer shared the need for a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship in order to comply with the requirements of FDA’s VFD Program which become effective January 1, 2017. Some have asked exactly what’s required in maintaining a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship? Here’s the answer as explained by OSU Extension Program Coordinator Jeff Workman in a recent Ohio Veterinary Newsletter:

A veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal. A VCPR means that all of the following are required.

1.     The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the patient and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarians’ instructions.

2.     The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient.  This means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of  the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the veterinarian, or medically appropriate and timely visits by the veterinarian to the operation where the patient is managed.

3.     The veterinarian is readily available for follow-up evaluation or has arranged for the following: veterinary emergency coverage, and continuing care and treatment.

4.     The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment, compliance, and outcome.

5.     Patient records are maintained.

The practical explanation is that it is a formal relationship that you have with a veterinarian who serves as your primary contact for all veterinary services and is familiar with you, your livestock/animals, and your farm operation.  This veterinarian is referred to as your  Veterinarian of Record (VoR), and both the VoR and the client should sign a form to document this relationship.  You can download a VCPR template developed by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association Drug Use Task Force at: https://vet.osu.edu/extension/general-food-fiber-animal-resources.

This can be thought of as similar to having a primary “family doctor” where that individual is the one whom you consult with regarding prescription needs, changes in health status, or specialized services. Because the VoR somewhat regularly provides veterinary services to you, they may be able to approve prescriptions and provide consultation over the telephone.  Having an established VCPR is important to help protect consumers and avoid residues in meat and milk.  This becomes even more crucial to a farm operation with the changes regarding the purchase of antibiotics and the veterinary feed directive (VFD). http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm071807.htm.