Gregory M. Dennis, JD
Kent T. Perry & Co., LC, Overland Park, KS, USA
Some states have statutes requiring veterinarians to maintain as privileged and confidential veterinarian-client-patient information and records. Many other states have veterinary board regulations imposing such a duty on veterinarians. Additionally, the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics (P.V.M.E.) recognizes that veterinarians are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
State veterinary practice acts and board regulations make it grounds for disciplinary action for a veterinarian to violate provisions of the practice act, regulations and, in some states, even the P.V.M.E. A summary of when it is legally and ethically permissible for veterinarians to discuss or disclose to a third party or the public, information and records on a patient or client and when it is not will be detailed in this presentation. Also, what liability, if any, might arise for a veterinarian who wrongfully discloses privileged or confidential information and records or fails to disclose such information when required by law to do so.