Enhancing utilization of veterinary technicians highlights House of Delegates meeting

Published on January 16, 2019

Members of the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) helped usher in an exciting start to the new year during their meeting last week in Chicago. It was a great way to start 2019, as the AVMA builds on what was a strong 2018 for members and the association.

Sharing good news

As part of the HOD’s Plenary Session, delegates heard good news about AVMA membership and other developments that will benefit members.

For starters, the House of Delegates heard that AVMA membership is stronger than ever, with the association’s official membership total setting a record at more than 93,400. Just as important, the AVMA retained a higher percentage of members to start the year. Three out of every four veterinarians are members of the AVMA, and to have three-fourths of all U.S. veterinarians standing side-by-side and representing the profession is critical to our success. Added to that, the House members also heard how AVMA early career members continue to renew their memberships at higher rates than ever before.

Based on the results of the AVMA’s most recent Brand Tracking Study, we’re also making fantastic strides in building stronger relationships with members. One way to gauge this is through a measurement called Net Promoter Score, which is one of the best ways to measure member satisfaction. Based on the latest results, our score has doubled since last year, which tells us that we are continuing to enhance the tangible value we provide to the profession.

AVMA, AVMF strengthen support of veterinarians

While it was officially announced in December, the HOD Plenary Session served as a perfect setting for AVMA CEO Dr. Janet Donlin and volunteer leaders of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) to celebrate formation of a new AVMF Board of Directors and AVMF Board of Advisors that brings even greater alignment between the association and its charitable arm.

“As the new AVMF Board of Directors focuses on setting the strategy to maximize the foundation's contribution to the profession, the AVMF Board of Advisors will provide them with thoughtful and actionable input, advice and guidance,” Dr. Donlin shared with House members. “Together they will advance the foundation’s mission, activities, services and programs.”

Said Dr. Karen Davis, AVMF Board of Advisors chair, “This evolution comes as both the AVMF and the AVMA looked for a stronger use of assets and a greater synergy among resources. Our commitment of helping veterinarians help animals by providing support for our programs remains strong and focused.”

A return of member health insurance

Also announced during the Plenary Session was news that association-provided health insurance, a core benefit of AVMA membership for nearly 60 years before regulatory changes forced an end to those plans in 2013, will once again be available to AVMA members in several states beginning in July.

Speaking at the Leadership Conference, Dr. Joe Kinnarney, chair of the AVMA LIFE Trust, announced that the Trust’s development of an association health plan (AHP) for AVMA members is currently underway. The AVMA Trust is developing an AHP program to provide affordable, competitive health insurance to AVMA members and their employees in several states. It is expected that the program will build over time.

Enhancing the utilization of veterinary technicians

During the House of Delegates business meeting, the HOD’s Veterinary Information Forum was devoted to the topic of enhancing the utilization of veterinary technicians. Prior to the forum, AVMA members were asked to provide their input on the topic to their House representatives, and more than 400 comments were received.

It was clear during the discussion that the value of veterinary technicians is unquestioned and that efforts need to be made across the profession to increase technician use and boost job satisfaction. This consensus among House members led them to recommend that the AVMA Board of Directors convene a task force to design a plan to improve veterinary technician utilization and that a progress report be shared with the HOD within a year.

Other technician-related news that was shared at the Leadership Conference included the announcement that the AVMA will continue to provide association management and other support services for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). NAVTA continues to operate as an independent organization, and the services agreement, while focused on providing association management, is also reflective of a commitment to continue and enhance the organizations’ long-term relationship. Together, the AVMA and NAVTA can work to achieve great things for the entire veterinary team and the veterinary profession. 

Other House Actions

HOD members also acted on several resolutions and bylaws amendments, including:

  • Approved a resolution submitted by the AVMA Board of Directors to increase annual membership dues $30 in 2020, and, if necessary, up to $10 in 2021 and 2022 for regular and affiliate memberships. Reduced dues memberships will be made equal to 50% of the annual dues of regular members.
  • Voted to refer to the AVMA Board of Directors for consideration a revised version of the Model Veterinary Practice Act that incorporates input from HOD deliberations conducted during the meeting.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment expanding the composition of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Services to include a credentialed veterinary technician.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment changing the name of the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine to the AVMA Council on Public Health.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment removing a statement of responsibility of the AVMA Council on Research.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment removing a statement of responsibility of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment that replaces the AVMA Judicial Council with an ad hoc hearing panel to adjudicate complaints of unethical conduct by AVMA members.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment related to the maintenance of House status for House of Delegates member organizations.
  • Approved a bylaw amendment expanding eligibility of membership on the AVMA Council on Public Health (formerly known as the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine).

Recognition of service

Those members retiring from the House of Delegates were also recognized. They include:

  • Ms. Sarah Neuser, representing the Student AVMA
  • Dr. Erik Torring, representing the Uniformed Services of the United States
  • Dr. Will Sander, representing the District of Columbia
  • Dr. Anne del Borgo, representing Maine


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