How many vet techs can be at a clinic?

You’d think the answer is easy… but it’s not. In some cases it requires some interesting math and definitional choices. And in a recent leap in Columbus, GA, I answered a question.. if not completely wrong, mostly so. I said “four vet techs per practice maximum, which is not even remotely correct.” Thank goodness I have this blog to post my errors and failings to the world!

The answer is that it is based upon the ratio of vets to vet techs, as well as whether your practice includes certified specialists. It is a variable number that involves math, never a lawyer’s strong suit. For our clinic, with two full time vets and two part time vets… I think the answer is either 4 vet techs or 8, depending upon whether regular practice of veterinary medicine includes vets that work less than 40 hours a week.

So here we go with my more comprehensive, but still confused answer:

First, there can be no more than four vet techs under the supervision of 1 veterinarian at any one time.

OCC 43-50-55 (c)(1) “No licensed veterinarian shall have more than four veterinary technicians on duty under his or her supervision at any one time.”

But, that’s not all folks… You cannot have more than 2 techs for every regular vet working at your clinic. So to have four veterinary technicians under one vet, you need to have at least 2 regular (not relief) vets in your practice.

OCC 43-50-55 (c) (2) No licensed veterinarian shall practice veterinary medicine at a veterinary facility when the number of veterinary technicians employed at such veterinary facility exceeds the number of licensed veterinarians regularly engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine at such veterinary facility by a ratio of more than 2:1.

Now if you are a specialty clinic, you can have 5 vet techs per vet…

OCC 43-50-55 (c) (3) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall not apply to any licensed veterinarian engaged in a specialty practice if he or she is certified for such specialty practice by a college approved for such purpose by the American Veterinary Medical Association or its successor organization; provided, however, that no such licensed veterinarian shall engage in such specialty practice at a veterinary facility when the number of veterinary technicians employed at such veterinary facility exceeds the number of licensed veterinarians regularly engaged in a specialty practice of veterinary medicine at such veterinary facility by a ratio of more than 5:1.

Secondly, under the statute, there is a clear requirement that to be a specialty practice, you need a certification from a college approved for the certification from the AVMA.

This brings up some weird math problems… such as… if you have six veterinarians that are not engaged in a specialty practice, and one that is… how many techs can you have at the practice?  Is it 3*2 (regular) = 6 techs  + 5 techs (specialty) = 11 techs… or is it the higher of 6 or 5 techs = 6 techs?

And what exactly is “regularly engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine?” Does 20 hours a week work? 30 hours? 10 hours?

Let me know your thoughts on this, it’s unclear to me.. I think I am stumped.

Until next time, let’s get better together.

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