With the emergence of complementary and alternative medicine, Internet medicine, e-commerce, and telemedicine, the time is right for the profession to come together to review the model veterinary practice act methodically and arrive at a single, contemporary document for use by state boards of veterinary medical examiners.
Since 1964 the AVMA has provided the model practice act that serves state licensing agencies, updating it as needed. In fact, the 1997 version published in the 2001 AVMA Directory & Resource Manual is currently being updated.
In May 2000 the AVMA had invited the American Association of Veterinary State Boards to join the task force that is now updating the AVMA model practice act.
The AAVSB declined to join forces with the AVMA on this common goal and announced last July it would develop a separate model practice act for distribution to state boards on its own.
This spring the AAVSB posted its draft practice act on its Web site and invited member state boards, veterinary organizations, credentialing groups, and accrediting bodies to comment by May 15.
In April the AVMA Executive Board authorized its chairman, Dr. Jan E. Bartels to appoint a task force to develop a studied response to the provisions of the AAVSB draft document and to incorporate the proposals of other key organizations and entities.
Grave reservations about specific provisions in the AAVSB draft model stimulated AVMA leaders to also develop an executive summary of the Association's comments. On April 27 a contingent led by AVMA task force chairman, Dr. Roger K. Mahr presented the executive summary to the AAVSB practice act task force at a special meeting in Kansas City, Mo. The AVMA representatives also elaborated on points outlined in the AVMA executive summary.
Subsequent to the meeting, the executive summary was distributed to members of all state boards of veterinary medical examiners and to others, including AVMA members in a special mailing. The summary also appears on page 1713 of this issue. In addition, specific section-by-section comments were prepared and sent to the AAVSB prior to the May 15 comment deadline.
The AVMA delegation proposed that the two organizations work together to develop a single, unified model practice act that would avoid confusion and truly protect public health, safety, and welfare—a commitment the AVMA and AAVSB share.
Extending the AAVSB deadline for comment would not, in itself, bring about the input and review from the profession and the public that is essential to producing a meaningful document, the AVMA officials said.
Despite assertions by the AVMA representatives that rushing the development process would compromise the quality of the resulting document, the AAVSB remained committed to putting its model practice act to a vote at the AAVSB Delegate Assembly this July.
Convinced that this fast-track approach could inadvertently threaten public protection, the AVMA has written to state veterinary regulatory board members. They are being asked to instruct their delegates to vote against adoption of the proposed act this July, and to urge the AAVSB to collaborate with the AVMA to develop a unified, single model practice act.