2018 Winter Session AVMA House of Delegates Report

2018 Winter Session AVMA House of Delegates Report

By AVMA Delegate – Dr. Gary Lewis

The Winter Session of the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) was held in conjunction with the AVMA Leadership Conference. The meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago on January 5th and 6th, 2018.

The Plenary and Informational Meeting provided updates from the Political Action Committee and the Governmental Relations Division, as well as, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.  Reports were given by the AVMA Treasurer and the Professional Liability Insurance Trust.  We also heard candidate speeches for the upcoming elections for the offices of AVMA President-Elect and Vice President.

One bylaw amendment was proposed and approved.  This bylaw was in reference to the House Advisory Committees duties and referred to an edit of one section to now read as follows: Review non-confidential minutes from the AVMA councils and committees and make recommendations as appropriate to the House of Delegates on such minutes.

The first of two resolutions that we considered was referred to the AVMA Board as a proposed revision to the AVMA Policy on Animal Abuse and Neglect. The delegates asked that the Board and AVMA staff to provide guidance on how the policy can best address mandatory reporting with immunity for those who report it, and to add clarity in the policy with regard to educating clients by retaining the phrase, “Regarding humane care and treatment of animals.”

In the second resolution, the HOD unanimously approved the AVMA’s Definition of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Principles of Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Medicine. This 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.

We also held another successful Veterinary Information Forum (VIF).  The first topic dealt with veterinary consolidation.  Delegates focused on the impact that 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.

The second topic for discussion was the delivery of care by not-for-profit entities.  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 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.

A third topic, which dealt with 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.

The House elected Dr. Scott Dee to the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, and delegates also recognized Mr. Jeff Olivarez, the Student AVMA delegate whose term in the House is expiring.

The next meeting of the House of Delegates will be the Regular Annual Session to be held in Denver, CO on July 12th and 13th, 2018.  This meeting is held in conjunction with the AVMA 2018 Convention.