Audit: Lax oversight of NC veterinarians

Posted October 29, 2014

A state audit released Wednesday says the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board doesn't adequately follow up on inspection violations or licensing requirements.

— A state audit released Wednesday says the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board doesn't adequately follow up on inspection violations or licensing requirements.

The board is in charge of inspecting the state's more than 1,200 veterinary practices, licensing more than 4,000 veterinarians and 1,100 vet techs and investigating complaints filed against veterinarians by the public. 

The NCVMB inspects practices every two years to check radiation safety, security of controlled substances, completeness of record-keeping, cleanliness and whether drugs on the practice's shelves are in-date. Practice owners must submit a written account of what they did to correct any  violations.

However, the audit found that the inspections don't take into account the severity of violations found, and there are no criteria for re-inspections to verify the corrections were made. Instead, it's a subjective decision by the board members. 

NCVMB Executive Director Thomas Mickey responded that the board agreed with the auditor's recommendation that it adopt a formal assessment procedure for inspections similar to those used in other states and said it would do so by 2015. 

Additionally, the audit found that the board doesn't check to see whether veterinarians are telling the truth when they report continuing education credits required annually for re-licensure. 

Veterinarians are required to take a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education courses every year to keep their licenses. That's meant to ensure that they're up to date on the latest animal health problems, treatments and surgical methods. The courses required generally cost several hundred dollars a year for most vets. 

According to the audit, the board's December 2013 newsletter acknowledged some vets might be reporting more continuing education than they actually attended and warned it would begin conducting random audits. However, no official audit process had been put in place by the time of the state audit. 

Mickey said he wrote to 30 randomly selected veterinarians in May 2014, asking them for documentation of the continuing education hours they had reported. He said the board also agreed with the auditor's recommendation that the board adopt a process to audit and verify the hours and would put one in place by 2015. 

The audit also said the board should make it easier for the public to look up a veterinarian's license, including any disciplinary actions taken. That information is not required by law to be available online, and it currently isn't, so consumers have to call or write to the board to get it.

Mickey said the board would evaluate that recommendation.


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  • miseem Oct 31, 2014

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    Accord to the state general statutes, expenses of the board cannot be paid from state funds. Therefore, it appears expenses are covered by fees to veterinarians. And board members are political appointees and do not get salaries.

  • iopsyc Oct 30, 2014

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    People SHOULD ask the price before the procedure.

    As with any service, ask all your questions up front and recognize that services providers will differ in both the cost and quality of what they are providing (so maybe you want to shop around).

  • Lee Bennett Oct 30, 2014
    user avatar

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    Neither the state nor the NCVMB have any legal authority to regulate pricing decisions made by individual veterinary practices, so that's why pricing is not considered in the audits.

  • lessismore Oct 30, 2014

    Why aren't pricing guidelines to spay or neuter dogs/cats taken into the audits?

    To spay a dog runs anywhere from $45 to $300. Why the great difference? I understand people can ask the price before the procedure but the difference is staggering.

  • lewiskr45 Oct 30, 2014

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    He is NCVMB Executive Director, it says so right in the article.

  • Dolly Butler Oct 29, 2014
    user avatar

    Who is Thomas Mickey and how did he get his job?

  • jimcricket15 Oct 29, 2014

    Well from the sound of it they are going to need a pretty large bunch of people to do all this work. I expect it will run the same as most government agencies, ineffective and inefficient.