The AVMA Executive Board at its meeting June 11 approved two task forces requested by the State Advocacy Committee.
The first recommendation called for a task force to review and revise the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act as needed. The estimated cost of one meeting of 12 members in early 2011 at AVMA headquarters is $13,800. The Model Veterinary Practice Act Review Task Force is expected to submit revisions to the Executive Board by June 2011.
"I think (maintaining the model practice act) is one of the most important things we do as an association," Dr. Theodore Cohn, District IX Executive Board representative, said.
The Model Veterinary Practice Act was first approved by the House of Delegates in 1964 and subsequently revised in 1997 and 2003. It is intended to serve as a model set of guiding principles for states that are revising or are contemplating revising their state veterinary practice acts. Each previous revision process included the creation of a task force to review the model act and suggest changes to the board. A specific goal for the 2010 revision is to address issues that the AVMA identifies as having changed in the veterinary profession.
"There are several examples, such as how to deal with Internet prescribing and scope of practice of paraprofessionals," said Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director of state legislative and regulatory affairs in the AVMA Communications Division. "It's not just one big issue."
Hochstadt thinks a revision of the model practice act would be influential with veterinarians and legislators.
"It could potentially have a great impact. There are a lot of significant issues in the profession, and we expect a vigorous debate on a lot of very important issues that have become center stage, so to speak, in the last couple years," Hochstadt said. "I think it's going to be a big job to do this right."
The second State Advocacy Committee recommendation requested a task force to determine the necessity and feasibility of compiling and maintaining a national database of veterinary products that contain hazardous materials. One meeting for eight people at AVMA headquarters in 2010 was approved at $7,320. The National Hazardous Waste Product Database Task Force plans to report its findings and recommendations to the Executive Board by November 2010.
Hochstadt does not expect the task force to start creating the database. The task force will examine the problem and get feedback from veterinarians and nonveterinarians who would be affected.
"They're going to be looking at a problem," Hochstadt said. "I would expect them to make some recommendations to the Executive Board but not actually create a database."
In 2008, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment asked the Colorado VMA to create a list of hazardous products that veterinarians use, but it was difficult to identify and record those products. Because of this, no list was created.
According to the state agency, veterinarians are classified as waste generators, and, therefore, are ultimately responsible for tracking and properly disposing of any hazardous products they use. The SAC concluded that hazardous waste disposal issues could likely spread nationwide, since many state agencies are trying to more closely enforce environmental laws. A comprehensive list would be useful for reference by veterinary practices and regulatory agencies.