Report from AVMA’s Winter Meeting and Veterinary Leadership Conference

  |   Professional News

Washington was well represented at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference and Winter HOD session.  Drs. Sandy Willis and Diana Thomé attended the HOD meetings.  Drs. Paul DeMaris and Jean Gulbransen from the WSVMA Board of Directors attended a weekend of leadership training, that included sessions on wellness, telehealth, and stress management.  The WSVMA also had emerging leader Dr. Lindsey Hornickel and WSU freshman veterinary student Kathryn Sussman present for the leadership training.  Despite being a small state, Washington is a leader in the veterinary profession.  Dr. Tom Meyer was present at the meeting as the immediate past president of the AVMA with his wife Dr. Jean Meyer, and Dr. Deb Sellon the director of WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital was present as an HOD delegate for the AAVMC.

Drs. Thomé and Willis wanted to brief you on result of the Winter 2018 House of Delegates meeting including the Veterinary Information Forum (VIF), which took place January 5-6, 2018 in chilly Chicago. From the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), to veterinary consolidation and subsidized medicine, members of the AVMA House of Delegates tackled some of today’s weightiest topics in veterinary medicine during their recent winter meeting.

Thank you to those who reached out to us through our AVMA email and provided your thoughts, many of which we shared with our colleagues in the House of Delegates. Your input is important and we read everything you share with us. Please feel free to contact us at any time.

The following summary of our VIF was taken from the [email protected] blog:

Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship: The topic of the VCPR was framed around one fundamental question: Should species, practice type, and location impact how the VCPR is defined? After deliberation both in front of the entire House of Delegates and during smaller, group meetings, the consensus was that the definition of the VCPR should not be changed so that it continues to provide the proper flexibility and protection for veterinarians, their patients, and their clients. House members voted overwhelmingly that current VCPR language should be maintained as it presently exists.

Consolidation: When it came to discussions around veterinary consolidation, delegates focused on the impact nationalization could have on national, state, and allied veterinary associations. A common theme throughout the discussion was what effect discounted membership rates for national chains could have on organized veterinary medicine, and whether such discounts leave private practitioners and their associates paying more for the same services. While some state veterinary medical associations offer group discounts, other states have not, concerned about what it could mean to their revenues and the level of services and products they can provide to their members. In the end, delegates unanimously agreed to recommend that the AVMA Board of Directors study membership models based on practice size and ownership, including a financial impact study on member services, and report back to the House of Delegates with an update at the 2018 Annual Session this July.

Not-for-profit entities: The delivery of care by not-for-profit entities sparked discussion about the opportunities and challenges presented by the delivery of subsidized veterinary care, and whether this type of service impacts the public perception of veterinary medicine. While delegates shared their opinions on who should provide and who should receive these services, the need for this type of care wasn’t questioned. Ultimately, the House recommended that the AVMA Board direct staff to work with AVMA volunteer leadership and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) to develop best practices for collaboration between veterinary hospitals and animal welfare organizations, as well as educational resources for the public about the benefits of various models of care. Delegates also asked the AVMA to collect information from state associations, their foundations, and general membership on models that provide veterinary care to underserved populations.

Telehealth was a topic previously discussed the House of Delegates during VIF. During a session on telehealth at the VLC, the AVMA announced a new “Telehealth Resource Center” for members. This can be found on the AVMA website.  In addition, the AVMA just published a resource on cannabis, another topic driven by a discussion at a previous VIF. Veterinarians cannot legally prescribe cannabis at this time but the publication “Cannibis: What Veterinarians Need to Know” should be helpful in answering questions.

The House also unanimously approved the AVMA’s Definition of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Principles of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine. Their adoption is an important first step in fulfillment of the association’s commitment to provide resources and tools for veterinarians that support conscientious decision-making in the use of antimicrobials.

In other HOD session news, delegates referred to the AVMA Board a proposed revision to the “AVMA Policy on Animal Abuse and Neglect.” The delegates asked that the Board and AVMA staff provide guidance on how the policy can best address mandatory reporting with immunity for those who report it.

More detailed descriptions of the activities of the House are published on [email protected] blog. AVMA members can opt in to automatically receive this blog.

Finally, the House elected Dr. Scott Dee to the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, and delegates also recognized Mr. Jeffrey Olivarez, the Student AVMA Delegate whose term in the House is expiring. There will be other council and committee positions available shortly. We will send out a separate notice on those volunteer opportunities.

Other news from the AVMA:

Two corner stones of the AVMA family, AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT, announced they are unifying efforts under an umbrella trust. The formation of the umbrella trust was a collaborative process and one which will continue to evolve toward full unification. Each entity provided thoughtful input, review and deliberation into the restructured entity. Seven trustees will be appointed to the new umbrella trust and these same seven will serve as the trustees on the Board of AVMA LIFE and the Board of AVMA PLIT. Of these seven, two will be current trustees from AVMA LIFE, two will be current trustees of AVMA PLIT, and three will be new appointees.

It is not known at this point whether changes to health insurance in the US will result in any changes to policies offered by AVMA LIFE.

Beginning January 1, 2018, the AVMA began providing association management services to the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). Mr. Ralph Johnson, VMAE Chief Executive Officer, joined the AVMA on January 1 as Director of Special Projects. Johnson will remain CEO of VMAE, overseeing the association management services the AVMA will now provide to VMAE, and as Director of Special Projects he will assist the AVMA with initiatives focused on delivering high quality products and services to AVMA members.


Posted January 12, 2018