A California vet has his license revoked, along with his premises license to operate. The practice is still open, and he’s still working there. What can you or the vet board do?
In Mountain View, veterinarian Tejpaul Ghumman finally had his license revoked following the adjudication of more complaints from clients, including falsifying his records, inhumane treatment, and administering excessive doses of medication. Ghumman, who is a co-owner of his practice, also had his premises license revoked for Alta View Animal Hospital.
According to The Mountain View Voice, Ghumman is continuing to work in the building (though his attorney told the paper he is working in ‘a back office’) and the building has remained open for business. Michelle Cave, a spokesperson for California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the Veterinary Medical Board (the VMB oversees the licensing of veterinarians and veterinary practices in the state) confirmed that the building’s license had been re-registered to License #38355, Michael J. Sterns, who is Ghumman’s business partner.
“What the [VMB] has at their disposal is either to send out an inspector or, at the Department of Consumer Affairs, we have our own law enforcement unit.”
Asked about the enforcement process and how the Board implements its orders, Cave explained, “Because California is a huge state, the [VMB] can’t be everywhere at all times.” Cave added that if a person is aware of a veterinarian who is operating on a revoked license, that person should file a complaint as a way of alerting the [Vet Board] to the possible violation. “And, then, what the Board has at their disposal is either to send out an inspector or, at the Department of Consumer Affairs, we have our own law enforcement unit. They’re called the Division of Investigation (DOI). They’re actually peace officers, but they’re under DCA.” Cave says these officers are able to set up undercover sting operations depending on the severity. “If the board is tipped off, then they definitely move on those quickly.”
Cave underscored that although Ghumman’s license as a veterinarian has been revoked, he can still work as a veterinary assistant. “If he is still working, he might be working in the capacity of an assistant,” Cave said, adding that the department’s investigators would need to determine the capacity in which he is now working. As for the facility, Cave made the analogy to a fast food restaurant that is shut down for health code violations. If the building changes franchisees, it can reopen, she explained.
Veterinary licensing boards have come under more scrutiny in recent years as pet ownership in the United States has surged and egregious examples of oversight failures such as the case of veterinarian Daniel Koller have attracted national media attention.