About 60,000 veterinarians are participating in the new veterinary accreditation program from the Department of Agriculture. The department's accreditation of veterinarians under its previous program expired Oct. 1.
Department of Agriculture begins accrediting private practice veterinarians to help federal veterinarians control animal disease.
National Veterinary Accreditation Program is established.
APHIS proposes creating two accreditation categories, requiring supplemental training and renewals, and providing specialized training.
APHIS announces new program will replace existing NVAP. Agency estimates 71,000 are accredited under existing program.
More than 10,000 veterinarians have opted to participate in the new NVAP.
First four NVAP supplemental training courses made available.
Old NVAP accreditation expires.
Participating veterinarians need to renew their accreditation for the first time.
Participation in the National Veterinary Accreditation Program allows veterinarians to perform some regulatory duties, such as issuing travel documentation for animals, for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Those participants are divided into two categories of accreditation on the basis of the amount of training required between renewals and the species they can work on or examine for APHIS.
Under the old version of the NVAP, veterinarians who received one-time accreditation were eligible to perform regulatory duties on any species without renewals.
APHIS officials previously set an Aug. 2, 2010, deadline for accredited veterinarians to submit applications and avoid letting their accreditation expire. The agency announced in September 2010 that the deadline was extended to allow it extra time to process applications.
Those who let their accreditation expire will need to submit applications for reinstatment and complete supplemental training to gain renewal.
About 27,000 veterinarians have elected to participate in category I of accreditation, which requires three hours of continuing education every three years and allows them to perform work for USDA on a limited number of species, including many companion and laboratory animals. About 33,000 are in category II, which requires six hours of continuing education every three years and allows work on all animals.
Workabeba Yigzaw, a spokeswoman for APHIS, said most foreign animal disease incursions in the U.S. over the past decade have been discovered by accredited veterinarians. She said APHIS depends on accredited veterinarians for programs and services intended to protect public and animal health.
The changes implemented in switching to the new NVAP are similar to those called for in a 2002 report in JAVMA and in a 2006 proposal from APHIS. The JAVMA report, "New Directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program," was published in the May 15, 2002, issue by the AVMA-USDA Relations Committee and it supported a two-category accreditation system with supplemental training, specializations involving particular diseases, and renewals every three years.
In the article, the AVMA-USDA Relations Committee indicated trade, disease eradication, emergency preparedness, and increased involvement in integrated surveillance activities were among the many reasons to enhance the accreditation program.