Economics commission regroups

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The board of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues has decided how to restructure the NCVEI following the withdrawal of the American Animal Hospital Association, one of the commission's founding organizations.

The AVMA, AAHA, and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges founded the NCVEI in 2000 with a mission to improve the economic base of the veterinary profession. Each organization has held four of 12 seats on the commission's board.

Earlier this year, AAHA withdrew from the NCVEI, citing concerns about the commission's business model (see JAVMA, Nov. 15, 2010).

The NCVEI relies primarily on funding from corporate sponsors and the founding organizations. Attracting new sponsors has been difficult in the current economic climate, said Dr. Karen E. Felsted, the commission's chief executive officer.

At a meeting in late October, the NCVEI board decided to reduce its size to nine members. The AVMA and AAVMC each will appoint three members, and the board will appoint three at-large members for one-year terms.

With funding tight, the commission will move forward incrementally on a new partnership with the Kansas State University College of Business Administration, Dr. Felsted said. The NCVEI has been exploring the possibility of establishing a Center for Veterinary Economics at the college.

In the coming year, Dr. Felsted said, the NCVEI will focus on action items from a forthcoming study of the declining frequency of veterinary visits by cats and dogs.