The Veterinary Board of Governors (VBOG) has drafted language to consider adopting health equity continuing education (CE) model rules. The language complies with Substitute Senate Bill 5229 passed by the Legislature in 2021. The law requires each health profession to draft rules that will require a minimum of two hours every four years in topics that address structural factors such as bias, racism, poverty that manifest as health inequities. VBOG’s draft rules for veterinarians and veterinary technicians mirror the model rules WAC 246-12-800 through 246-12-830 based on RCW 43.70.613.
What is health equity?
The Washington State Department of Health states that “health equity exists when all people can attain their full health potential. That means people aren’t disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of the color of their skin, ancestry, level of education, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic status, the job they have, the neighborhood they live in, or whether they have a disability.”
Potential course topics include, but are not limited to, strategies for recognizing patterns of health care disparities, intercultural communication skills training, implicit bias training, ensuring equity and antiracism while delivering medical care or therapies, structural competency training, and cultural safety training.
These skills include intervention and self-reflection to assess how a veterinarian’s or technician’s social position can influence their relationship to veterinary clients and will enable them to care effectively for animals of clients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities, varying in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, ability, and socioeconomic status and other categories of identity.
The health equity rulemaking process must be completed by January, 1, 2024. The WSVMA is in the process of planning educational opportunities to help veterinarians and technicians satisfy the new requirements. Stay tuned for more information.
Please provide comments to Loralei Walker by Friday, April 14, 2023.