1.1. Scope. -- This establishes the procedures for the investigation and resolution of complaints against licensees.
1.2. Authority. -- W. Va. Code §30-10-1 et seq. and §30-1-1 et seq.
1.3. Filing Date. -- November 24, 2010.
1.4. Effective Date. -- January 1, 2011.
This rule applies to all licensees under the regulatory authority of the board.
The following words and phrases as used in this rule have the following meanings, unless the context otherwise requires:
3.1. "Board" means the West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine.
3.2. “License” means a veterinary license, temporary permit,
registration of a veterinary technician or certification of an animal
euthanasia technician issued by the Board pursuant to W. Va. Code
§30-10-1 et seq.
3.3. “Licensee” means an individual who holds a license as specified in 3.2 of this section.
3.4. "Investigator" means a person hired by the Board for the
purpose of reviewing and investigating complaints against licensees.
4.1. The Board may place a licensee on probation, limit,
restrict, suspend or revoke any license issued by the Board, upon
sufficient proof that a licensee has been convicted of a felony, or is,
in his or her professional capacity, engaged in conduct, practices or
acts constituting professional negligence, malpractice or a willful
departure from accepted standards of professional conduct in violation
of West Virginia Code §30-10-1 et seq. or the rules of the Board.
5.1. Any person, firm, corporation, member of the Board, or
public officer may make a complaint to the Board which charges a
licensee with a violation of West Virginia Code §30-10-1 et seq. or of
the rules of the Board. The Board may provide a form for that purpose,
but a complaint may be filed in any written form, accompanied by a
notarized statement from the complainant. In addition to describing the
alleged violation that prompted the complaint, the complaint shall
contain the following:
5.1.1. The name and address of the licensee against whom the complaint is lodged;
5.1.2. The dates of care;
5.1.3. The identity of any person who may have treated the animal after the alleged incident; and,
5.2. A complaint against a licensee shall allege that such
person has been convicted of a felony or is, in his or her professional
capacity, engaging in conduct, practices or acts constituting
professional negligence, malpractice or a willful departure from
accepted standards of professional conduct in violation of West Virginia
Code §30-10-1 et. seq. or the rules of the Board.
5.3. Complainants are immune from liability for the
allegations contained in their complaints filed with the Board unless
the complaint is filed in bad faith or for a malicious purpose.
5.4. The Board shall maintain a complaint log which records
the receipt of each complaint, its nature and its disposition.
5.5. The Board shall maintain a separate file on each
complaint received, and each file shall have a number assigned to it.
5.6. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Board shall issue one of the following acknowledgments to the complaint.
5.6.1. That the matter will be reviewed by the Board.
5.6.2. That the complaint is outside the jurisdiction of
the Board, with suggestions as to how the complainant might best obtain
a resolution of his or her problem; or,
5.6.3. That more information will be required in order to adequately review the individual complaint.
5.7. The Board shall send a copy of the complaint, including
any supporting documentation, by certified mail to the licensee in
question for his or her written response, and he or she shall submit a
written response to the Board within 30 days of the date of the Board's
correspondence or shall in writing waive the right to do so.
5.8. Requests for comment on complaints sent to licensees
shall be considered properly served when sent to their last known
address. It is the responsibility of the licensee to keep the Board
informed of his or her last known address.
5.9. Upon receipt of a licensee's comments in response to a
complaint, the Board shall promptly send a copy of the same, including
any supporting documentation, to the complainant.
5.10. After receipt and review of a complaint, unless the
complaint is determined to fall within the provisions of sub-division
5.6.2 of this rule, the Board shall cause to be conducted any reasonable
inquiry or investigation it considers necessary to determine the truth
and validity of the allegations set forth in the complaint. The review
of complaints or investigations thereof may, at the discretion of the
Board, be assigned to a committee of the Board.
5.11. At any point in its investigation of a complaint, the
investigation committee of the Board may, at its discretion, assign the
matter to an investigator for review and investigation.
5.12. Upon receipt of a complaint from the Board, the
investigator shall, within 60 days, unless the Board specifies another
time period, review and investigate the same and provide the Board with a
written report. The report shall contain a statement of the
allegations, a statement of facts, and an analysis of the complaint,
including a description of the care provided, the records reviewed,
persons interviewed and a statement of the investigator's findings. The
investigator shall, upon request, be afforded an opportunity to have an
investigation interview with the licensee in question, or other involved
parties, a report of which shall be placed in the investigation file at
the office of the Board.
5.13. To facilitate the disposition of a complaint, the Board
or the committee of the Board may request any person to attend an
informal conference, or to appear at a regular meeting of the Board, at
any time prior to the Board entering any order with respect to the
complaint. The Board shall give notice of the conference, which notice
shall include a statement of issues to be informally discussed.
Statements made at a conference may not be introduced at any subsequent
hearing on the merits without the consent of all parties to the hearing.
No prejudice shall attach for failure to attend a conference pursuant
to a request.
5.14. The Board investigating committee or chairperson, or the
executive director may issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum to
complete the Board's investigation and to determine the truth or
validity of complaints. The investigator may request the Board or its
investigation committee to issue a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum. A
brief written statement specifying the necessity for the same shall
accompany any such request.
5.15. At any point in the course of the investigation or
inquiry into a complaint, the Board may determine that there is not and
will not be sufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings, or that
the complaint fails to allege misconduct for which a licensee may be
sanctioned by the Board: Provided, that in the event the review and
investigation of a complaint is assigned to the committee or
investigator, the committee or investigator shall make their respective
findings and recommendations to the Board prior to the Board dismissing
6.1. The Board may suspend a license or refuse to renew a
license if it determines there is probable cause to believe that the
licensee’s conduct, practices or acts constitute an immediate danger to