The AVMA GHLIT- Why wellness remains a top priority

Screenings at convention having an effect on veterinarians' health
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This month at the Annual Convention in Philadelphia, the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust will once again extend its annual invitation to AVMA and Student AVMA members and their spouses to participate in its Wellness Booth screening.

Every year, the GHLIT Wellness Booth grows in popularity, and last year in Denver was no exception. More than 1,400, or about 26 percent, of the veterinarians, students, and spouses in attendance at the convention participated in the wellness screening.

The GHLIT board of trustees has to make some difficult choices and decisions to ensure that benefit- and price-competitive life and health insurance plans are available. By making the decision to again offer the Wellness Booth, the GHLIT is seeking to help AVMA members achieve a healthier lifestyle. This should also translate into a better experience for the GHLIT, so it can continue to serve the membership well into the future.

The GHLIT encourages AVMA member veterinarians and students who have not had their rabies titer tested in the past two years to visit its booth. Last year, more than 600 conventioneers took advantage of the titer testing performed by Kansas State University. The staff at the university's rabies laboratory believe the GHLIT effort to make this testing available is having an effect on the participating veterinarians' health. The percentage of low titers has fallen every year, from a 22 percent result in 2000 down to 12 percent in 2001, 11 percent in 2002, and 9 percent in 2003.

The GHLIT trustees also believe this is a valuable screening, and so, will again offer it for a nominal, $10 charge. The balance of the cost of the rabies titer test, as well as the other tests offered, will once again be paid by the companies that together manage and operate the GHLIT program. The board of trustees is appreciative that its partners also recognize the value of those health screenings.

Additionally, the GHLIT will again offer, at no expense, a full blood chemistry profile and lipid panel, a prostate-specific antigen test for males over 40, and a hemoglobin test for females. Last year, 92.1 percent of all test results fell within the normal range. But, whether personal test results confirm the effectiveness of a healthy lifestyle, or they bring attention to issues that need to be addressed, the message that GHLIT hopes to impart is the importance of taking personal control to ensure a quality life.

The ability to live a long, healthy, and vigorous life gives veterinarians' own patients and clients the security of knowing they will be there for them. The GHLIT looks forward to seeing veterinarians, students, and spouses in Philadelphia at booth 1437.