Board approves grant to advance NCVEI benchmarking initiative

Funds will promote overall usage of benchmarking and finalize equine tools
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Approval of a $100,000 AVMA grant to the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues paves the way for expansion of the NCVEI benchmarking program.

The AVMA Executive Board authorized the grant at its meeting Nov. 14-16, 2002, citing the program's importance to the entire profession and its enhancement of member services. AVMA President Joe M. Howell and President-Elect Jack O. Walther recommended the funding.

Dr. Howell said, "The NCVEI benchmarking program has already helped thousands of veterinarians reach new levels of performance by driving change through a structured search for superior practices. The creative interactive technique of the benchmarking program provides immediate feedback to veterinarians on how their practices rate with the rest of the profession."

Through the NCVEI Web site,, benchmarking tools are available at no cost to all veterinarians. Several thousand practices have already used the benchmarking and pricing tools to gain data and analytic help for their decision-making process.

The grant will be split two ways. Half will be used to promote greater awareness among all AVMA members about the availability of the NCVEI benchmarking program and the benefits of using the tools. This campaign will comprise advertising, direct mail, and educational presentations.

The other half will complete the development of benchmarking tools for equine practice. The initial focus of the NCVEI has been companion animal practice, but the analytic work for the equine benchmarking tools has also been completed. The grant will fund the engineering and copywriting necessary to put those tools on the Web site.

"We consider this grant an investment in the future for the entire profession," Dr. Walther commented. "It continues the important work begun by the NCVEI and provides the means of educating the profession and the public to the importance and value of veterinary medicine to society.

"This grant is essential to continuing the long-term commitment to economic improvement in veterinary medicine, which, in turn, is a commitment to our veterinary oath."

Following the board meeting, Howard Rubin, CEO of the NCVEI, reacted to the funding. "We're thrilled on a number of fronts. It's a tremendous vote of confidence by the AVMA on the work of the NCVEI so far. We're also really pleased because, although the NCVEI has primarily had a companion animal focus so far, we've always had a deep concern about veterinarians who are not companion animal practitioners. The funding of the final benchmarking tools for equine practice will allow us to start down the road toward delivering on the promise to these AVMA members."

Rubin continued, "With regard to the other piece of the AVMA grant, one key to the success of improving the economic base of the profession is getting lots of veterinarians involved in thinking differently about how they practice. To date, about 3,500 veterinary practices have used the NCVEI pricing and benchmarking tools. This grant will enable us to reach an even larger number of practices and as a result, enhance the quality of our benchmarking tools."

The NCVEI grant was one of two items funded from the AVMA reserves, or fund balance, each requiring a three-fourths majority vote. A news report on other actions taken by the Executive Board in November will be published in the Jan. 15 issue.