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Guide Dogs for the Blind Position on California Telemedicine Regulations

Tuesday May 04, 2021

A young black Lab puppy is examined by the veterinary staff in the GDB clinic. Two staff members are seen wearing sterile gloves while performing their exam.

Dr. Kate Kuzminski, Medical Director at Guide Dogs for the Blind, is one of several individuals who are part of a lawsuit challenging the regulations of the California Veterinary Medical Board that explicitly restrict veterinarians from providing advice or care via telemedicine for an owner’s animal until the veterinarian examines the animal in person.

Guide Dogs for the Blind supports Dr. Kuzminski in this lawsuit because GDB believes that these regulations endanger animals, violate freedom of speech, add barriers to care for millions, and cause unnecessary harm to veterinarians in providing quality care in a timely manner for their clients.

We support our veterinary partners who provide care for our thousands of guide dogs and puppies, and we believe that telemedicine should be another tool in their toolbox for providing care, with discretion to determine whether telemedicine is appropriate to individual cases.

GDB also believes these restrictions hurt the communities we serve, because they restrict access to veterinary care in rural areas, remote urban neighborhoods, and lower-income zip code areas. They also limit access to care for our clients who are blind or visually impaired, most of whom rely on their guide dogs to move through the world more safely and confidently. Many face transportation barriers to travel to veterinary clinics, a problem exacerbated by the Pandemic. The restrictions also negatively affect our thousands of puppy raisers across the state who care for guide dogs in training until they are 15 months old. Lifting the current restrictions could open the door for increased inclusion and access to veterinary care in California and eventually throughout the U.S.

GDB envisions a world with greater inclusion for everyone. To that end, we advocate for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness, because when everyone is empowered and included, our communities are stronger.

Categories: Advocacy, Dog Care & Health, GDB Community