The AVMA House of Delegates edited the organization's guidance on veterinary practice naming and free-roaming, owned cats; created another path for individuals to become members; clarified the roles of some volunteer leaders; and increased the independence of an accrediting body.
The delegates voted on the matters July 15 during the House's regular annual session, prior to the AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis.
The HOD edited the AVMA policy "Guidelines for Classifying Veterinary Facilities," which describes the types of services typically offered by veterinary facilities with names that include terms such as "hospital," "office," or "emergency." The document is intended to provide guidance for newly opened facilities while remaining flexible enough to accommodate practices that change business models.
The updates approved by the House of Delegates altered language in all definitions as well as separated the guidance for the terms "hospital," "clinic," and "center" and provided separate guidance for "referral facilities" and "specialty facilities."
For example, a veterinary or animal hospital typically includes inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and treatment, according to the updated guidelines. A clinic may include inpatient diagnosis and treatment. A center typically offers additional depth or scope of an area of practice, such as imaging or sports medicine.
The delegates also changed the AVMA policy "Free Roaming, Owned Cats" to stop encouraging cat owners in urban and suburban areas to keep their cats indoors, instead encouraging veterinarians to educate people about the dangers of allowing cats to roam freely outdoors. The updated policy notes that cats roaming outdoors can be injured or killed by a variety of hazards, exposed to disease, and allowed to harm wildlife.
Background information provided with the proposed change indicates risks to cats are similar across urban and rural environments, and the changes in the policy encourage education instead of discouraging some owners' practices.
The HOD also approved an AVMA Bylaws amendment that adds a new path to membership in the AVMA via endorsement by a veterinary specialty organization.
All members must receive an endorsement before joining the AVMA. The bylaws now specify four endorsement sources.
The Association may grant membership to a veterinarian who is a member in good standing of an organization represented in the House, who receives the endorsement of two voting members of the Association, who is a graduating student and a member in good standing of a student chapter of the AVMA, or who is a diplomate in good standing of a specialty organization.
The HOD approved another bylaws amendment clarifying participation of the president and president-elect in AVMA entities.
Previously, the bylaws stated that the president and president-elect each "shall be a member, without vote, of all councils, except the Judicial Council, and committees." The amendment revised the bylaws to reflect the fact that the president and president-elect are, in practice, "invited to participate, without vote, on all entities that report to the Executive Board, except the Judicial Council."
Also receiving House approval was a bylaws amendment excluding the president and president-elect from participation in the Council on Education, which accredits veterinary colleges, to strengthen the independence of the council from the board.
The HOD additionally approved bylaws amendments that update the charge of the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, clarify language on grounds for discipline of AVMA members, and clarify the handling of officer vacancies.