COVID-19 and NJ Veterinary Practices

COVID-19 and NJ Veterinary Practices


Separation Anxiety Is Real

August 13, 2020

NJVMA Treasurer Dr. Adam Christman was featured in an interview with NJ101.5 about pet separation anxiety.

"The big thing is self-destruction, so if they're self-mutilating, whether they're actually licking themselves, they could be licking their arms, licking their knees," Christman said, "they're basically having a temper tantrum and saying, listen, this isn't cool. I don't like the fact that you're gone, and I need you now."

Click here for the full article.



Can Employers Require Employees to Take A Vaccine?

July 29, 2020

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has taken the position that employers can require employees to take influenza vaccines, for example, but emphasizes that employees “need to be properly informed of the benefits of vaccinations.” OSHA also explains that “an employee who refuses vaccination because of a reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death (such as a serious reaction to the vaccine) may be protected under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 pertaining to whistleblower rights.”

Click here for the full article.



Members-Only Webinar: State Issues Health & Safety Requirements for Veterinarians

June 24, 2020 | Replay is Now Available!

NJVMA President Matt Edson, DVM, was joined by expert HR/Labor attorneys Mark Kluger and Bill Healey as they help you navigate the new Administrative Order 2020-10, effective June 18, 2020.

This event is for NJVMA members only. Click here for more details.



State Issues Health & Safety Requirements for Veterinarians

June 19, 2020

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has issued Administrative Order 2020-10, effective June 18, 2020, clarifying that veterinarians may provide the full scope of veterinary services including spays and neuters, and establishing protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This Administrative Order recognizes that veterinarians have been limiting their practices in response to the pandemic.

To ensure safer provision of the full scope of veterinary medical services, the Administrative Order establishes minimum safety standards and considerations in the following areas:

  • Avoid person-to-person contact
  • Facilitate social distancing within the office
  • Adopt enhanced office cleaning and disinfection
  • Establish rigorous protections for staff
  • Stay informed about developments and obligations

Questions about the Administrative Order may be directed to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.



CDS Licensing During COVID-19

June 18, 2020

Staff is currently working remotely with limited access to phone and mail. Following these instructions, CDS applicants should email their application along with the Attestation to CDS@dca.lps.state.nj.us and continue to mail the application fee to the Drug Control Unit office. All general CDS inquiries should be emailed to CDS@dca.lps.state.nj.us.



NJ Department of Agriculture Issues Guidance Document on Testing Domestic Companion Animals and Livestock for COVID-19

May 22, 2020

Although there have been limited reports of domestic companion animals testing positive for COVID-19, the risk of transmission from animals to humans is thought to be low. Routine COVID-19 testing is not recommended.

Click here for full details of the Guidance Document.



New Info From SBA on Forgiveness Aspects of PPP

May 20, 2020

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released additional information on the forgiveness aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program and the application that will be utilized – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application. It includes a detailed worksheet and guidance to calculate eligible expenses for forgiveness.

The PPP loan forgiveness application clarifies many of the common questions from borrowers, while providing details on additional requirements for loan forgiveness. Highlights include:

  • Borrowers have the option to pick and choose which non-payroll costs to submit for forgiveness.
  • Worksheets are provided to calculate total loan forgiveness amount. Loan forgiveness amount will not be reduced if an employer is unable to rehire workers who have rejected a good-faith written offer to return, were fired for cause, or parted voluntarily.
  • Details for calculating average full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs) are available in the application, including options for determining the appropriate covered period.
  • There is a safe harbor for borrowers that would not decrease forgiveness for full time equivalent employees (FTE) and salaries/wages that were reduced between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020, but restored by June 30, 2020.
  • The application includes documentation requirements that borrowers must submit with the forgiveness application.
  • The SBA requires that borrowers retain records for six years following forgiveness or full loan repayment.

The SBA has indicated additional guidance on loan forgiveness will be forthcoming. Under current law, PPP loan repayment is deferred for six months.

Because policy discussions about PPP and the loan forgiveness criteria are ongoing, retroactive changes by Congress or the Administration are possible. Therefore, it may be advantageous to use the repayment deferral and apply for forgiveness at a later date. Veterinarians should review the forgiveness application and consult with appropriate advisors regarding loan forgiveness.



UPDATED: Guidance on Veterinary Procedures During the Pandemic

May 11, 2020

NJVMA supports the AVMA position that resuming non-urgent/elective veterinary services is appropriate and that veterinary practices should continue to use strategies that conserve PPE and support social distancing as appropriate and practical.

NJ Executive Order 109 does not specifically mention veterinarians and to date there has not been a directive from the State prohibiting the provision of any veterinary services. NJ veterinarians have been postponing non-urgent/elective procedures to keep with the spirit of the Executive Order to preserve PPE and maintain safe work environments.

At this time, it is the position of the NJVMA that veterinarians may resume elective procedures and wellness visits as long as PPE supply exceeds demand, and social distancing guidelines continue to be strictly maintained.

Please click here to view the AVMA’s Talking Points on Resuming Non-Urgent/Elective Services.



NJVMA Town Hall: Licensing During COVID-19

Friday, May 8, 2020 | Replay is Now Available!

Many of you have reached out with questions about licensing for new graduates during the pandemic. The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SBVME) is working remotely and ready for incoming applications. Join SBVME Executive Director, Jonathan Eisenmenger, for an overview of the application process and tips to making this as smooth as possible.

The NJVMA is providing this webinar to everyone in the veterinary community for free.

Click here to access the replay.



Animal Rabies Vaccinations and Animal Licensing Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 1, 2020

The Communicable Disease Service (CDS) has received several questions concerning animal rabies vaccination in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Rabies vaccination of pets is an essential component to rabies prevention and is a necessary step to ensure the protection of the citizens of New Jersey from potential rabies exposures from their pets. During this State of Emergency, it is vital to provide rabies vaccinations to pets in a manner that is safe to pet owners or handlers and the veterinarians administering the vaccine as well as any other individuals involved in the process.

Please refer to "Essential Animal Rabies Vaccinations and Animal Licensing Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic and State of Emergency" posted on the CDS rabies webpage and also on the Veterinary Public Health webpage under Additional Resources.



Free Online CE Six-Pack

April 30, 2020

With all the changes in our lives due to COVID-19, these are stressful times for us all. Obtaining CE to renew your credentials shouldn’t be another source of stress. To help, Ethos Veterinary Health, VetBloom and the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association are bringing you six RACE approved on-demand course free of charge for NJVMA members. This represents a $300 savings!

Click here for the voucher code for FREE access to six RACE approved lectures.



Webinar: From Surviving to Thriving: Staying Resilient in Turbulent Times

April 29, 2020 | Replay is Now Available!

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, not only on our businesses, but on our personal lives as well. We’re all under tremendous pressure to deal with this “new normal” and keep our heads above water.

Stressful periods like this can either enhance our abilities to adapt and cope, or demonstrate our vulnerabilities. This is true not only for each of us individually, but also for our families and work teams. That’s why it is more important than ever that you, as a leader in your practice and your family, make sure you take care of yourself and adopt the mantra that self-care is not negotiable. But how do you do that? How do you make time for yourself so that you can take care of the others that depend on you, and so that you all can not only survive, but begin to thrive?

Your first step can be to join your NJVMA friends and family in listening to a replay of the webinar, originally hosted on Wednesday, April 29.

This event is for NJVMA members only. Click here for more details.



COVID-19 Testing for Pets

April 23, 2020

Information regarding COVID-19 and animals is evolving. Routine testing of domestic animals for COVID-19 is not currently being recommended by the AVMA, CDC, USDA, AAVLD or NASPHV. Public health and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals following specific criteria.

The decision to test should be made collaboratively between the attending veterinarian and local, state, and/or federal public health and animal health officials. We have compiled information to assist NJ veterinarians in the rare cases where testing and animal is being considered and communicating with clients about COVID-19 and pets.

Click here for more information.



NJVMA Town Hall Meeting

April 17, 2020 | Video/Teleconference | Replay is Now Available!

NJVMA President Matt Edson, DVM, will host the session and take your questions. This was a “no agenda” town hall meeting, so your questions drove the conversation.

In these turbulent times, it is more important than ever to make sure you are making decisions based on sound information, and NJVMA can help you. Just as important, it is equally valuable during these times to maintain a sense of connection with your fellow veterinarians who are facing the same issues as you every day. Don’t miss this opportunity!

This event is for NJVMA members only. Click here for more details and to listen to the audio track.



Healthcare Professionals Called To Serve

April 1, 2020

NJ is in need of help from qualified health, mental health, and related professionals to supplement the healthcare capacity on a temporary basis. If you are willing and able to support the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please click on the link below to provide your information. By submitting your information, you are not committing to deployment; the NJ Department of Health will reach out with more details if your skillset can help in response to COVID-19.

Click here to volunteer.



Guidance on Veterinary Procedures During the Pandemic

April 1, 2020

To reduce the burden on NJ’s health care system and protect frontline medical responders given the foreseen dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment, Executive Order No. 109 mandates the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults after 5 p.m. on March 27. EO 109 applies to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist.

While veterinarians are not mentioned in name in EO 109, the NJVMA strongly encourages all NJ veterinarians to suspend elective surgeries, non-emergency procedures, and well visits in order to abide by the spirit of the order to limit exposure risk and conserve needed personal protective equipment.

Click here for more details.

For non-elective cases that typically require the use of protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, please review the latest from the AVMA on conservation of these supplies: AVMA Tools.



Helping You Comply

April 1, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act goes into effect April 1, 2020, requiring certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

Here are two documents to help with your compliance:

  1. COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Available – Describes various scenarios for employees being out of work and which benefits apply to them in
    each scenario.
  2. Employee Rights Poster – Required to be posted in a conspicuous place in your place of work.



What You Need to Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Video/Teleconference | Replay is Now Available!

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which goes in to effect Wednesday, April 1, 2020, will require significant changes to your policies for dealing with employees who need or want time off from work during the Pandemic.

To ensure you know about and understand the new rules, NJVMA hosted a members-only video/teleconference on Friday, March 27, with expert HR/Labor attorneys Mark Kluger and Bill Healey. The session focused on the new law and answered questions about:

  1. Covered Employers
  2. Eligible Employees
  3. Amount of Leave
  4. Reasons for Leave
  5. Exemptions
  6. Compensation

This event is for NJVMA Members only. Click here for more details and to view the recording.

This webinar was presented by the law firm of Kluger-Healey, experts in HR and labor law. Kluger-Healey has not been retained by NJVMA to provide services to either NJMVA or its members. The firm is pleased to provide consultative services at a discounted rate. To contact the firm, or to sign up for their complimentary weekly employment law alerts, please email info@klugerhealey.com.



Personal Protective and Medical Equipment Intake Form

March 26, 2020

As we previously announced, on Tuesday, March 24, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 109, which requires any business, non-hospital health care facility, or institution of higher learning in possession of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines not required for the provision of critical health care services to undertake an inventory of these supplies and send that information to the State by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27.

This information should be submitted via the new website at covid19.nj.gov/ppereport. This site allows for the collection of both inventories required under E.O. 109 and also has a section that allows for the submission of PPE that is available for donation to facilities in need.

This required PPE/anesthesia equipment submission must be completed by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27.

We recommend members retain copies of their inventory lists and ensure they have model/serial numbers and photographs of any equipment they include on the list. The state has not yet released plans to actually procure any of these supplies/this equipment. In the event that does occur the NJVMA is actively pursuing what, if any, reimbursement options members may have for their property.



Telemedicine

The NJVMA agrees with the AVMA position that telemedicine is a useful adjunct for providing care to patients that already have a physically-established VCPR. New Jersey Veterinarians may look at the state’s proposed telemedicine rules which, although not adopted yet, have been approved for adoption by the state Board. Veterinarians should comply with the specifics in the unadopted regulations, but generally, veterinarians should determine if they can provide services through telemedicine to the same standard of care as they would if those services were provided in person. If they cannot do so in their professional judgment, they should not provide services through telemedicine. NJVMA Veterinarians interested in providing this service should review the telemedicine rules here.

The FDA temporarily has temporarily suspended enforcement of a portion of federal VCPR requirements during COVID-19 outbreak. It is important to note the suspension only applies to relevant to FDA regulations governing extra-label drug use in animals and veterinary feed directives (VFD). This rule revision should not be interpreted as allowing veterinarians to freely use telemedicine as this is dependent upon the provisions of each individual state's practice act to see new cases. View the new guidance document for full details.



NJ Mandates PPE and Anesthesia Equipment Inventory, Suspends Elective Surgeries

March 23, 2020, 4:30 pm

NJ Governor Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order No. 109 requiring any business or non-hospital health care facility, including but not limited to dental facilities, construction facilities, research facilities, office-based healthcare or veterinary practices, and institutions of higher learning, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services to undertake an inventory of such supplies and send that information to the State by no later than 5 pm Friday, March 27, 2020. The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will establish a process by which entities subject to this provision can submit this information.

This information should be submitted via covid19.nj.gov/ppereport. This must be completed by any business with this equipment by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27.

Executive Order 109 also mandates the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that are scheduled to take place after 5 p.m. on March 27. The order applies to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist. While veterinarians are not mentioned in name in this respect, the NJVMA strongly encourages all NJ veterinarians to suspend elective surgeries, non-emergency procedures, and well visits in order to limit exposure risk and conserve needed personal protective equipment.

Executive Order 109 is intended to reduce the burden on NJ’s health care system and protect frontline medical responders given the foreseen dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment.

We will continue to provide updates to our members as they become available. Members are encouraged to reach out to the NJVMA office, or email us at njvmacovid@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.



NJ Governor Murphy Has Issued A “Stay-at-Home” Mandate, Effective 9 pm Saturday, March 21, 2020

March 21, 2020, 1:45 pm

NJ Governor Murphy has issued a “stay-at-home” mandate, effective 9 pm Saturday, March 21, 2020 until further notice. All gatherings, regardless of their size, must be cancelled, including weddings, parties, meetings, etc. In addition, all retail businesses are required to be closed until further notice. All non-retail businesses are required to implement work-from-home protocols for all employees, as able.

Veterinary service locations have been specifically named as one of the “certain essential businesses and facilities considered exempt from these closures” and are thus permitted to stay open during this mandate. Social distancing guidelines must be followed for facilities that continue operation.

The NJVMA agrees with AVMA recommendations that routine wellness appointments and elective surgeries should be suspended at this time.

Businesses are encouraged to give each employee a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.
Click here for a template letter for this use.

Please visit https://covid19.nj.gov for significant important information for employers and individuals. Employees can also visit nj.gov/labor for information about workplace benefits.



NJVMA Facebook Live Town Hall Meeting

March 21, 2020

View the replay by accessing the NJVMA Facebook Page.

Download the Town Hall meeting notes here.

The management staff and Board of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association have been working around the clock to address the many concerns of our industry constituents, including working with governmental entities involved in the regulation of our services to ensure the stability of our profession in the face of this pandemic.

During this session, we:

  • Provided updates on how the NJVMA has been working behind the scenes in support of our profession
  • Discussed pertinent legislative and regulatory topics related to COVID-19
  • Addressed questions from participants

Valuable resources mentioned in the NJVMA Townhall meeting: