House of Delegates approves model practice act, other proposals

Members also debated whether to increase requirements for Board candidates
Published on September 11, 2019

The AVMA House of Delegates approved a new version of the Model Veterinary Practice Act and passed proposals regarding AVMA governance and pet health insurance as well as the Council on Research and the judicious therapeutic use of antimicrobials.

The HOD held its regular annual session Aug. 1-2 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2019.

The AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act, according to its introduction, "is intended to serve as a set of guiding principles for those who are now, or will be in the future, preparing or revising a practice act under the codes and laws of an individual state." The HOD approved the first model practice act in 1964.

The latest revision process began in 2016 and has involved many stakeholders. The AVMA Council on Veterinary Service submitted a draft to the AVMA Board of Directors in 2018, and the Board referred the draft to the HOD for consideration during the 2019 regular winter session. The HOD offered suggestions, which were addressed by the COVS in the latest revision, and the HOD approved the new version Aug. 2.

In other actions, the HOD approved an amendment to the AVMA Bylaws that requires more experience for candidates to serve as district representatives on the Board. Candidates must have been voting members of the AVMA for at least seven continuous years immediately prior to election, up from five. The amendment also adds the requirement that candidates must have served in certain volunteer leadership positions with the AVMA or have served as an officer in specified other types of veterinary organizations.

Dr. Crumley
Dr. Kate Crumley, alternate delegate for the American Animal Hospital Association, speaks about the pros and cons of an amendment to the AVMA Bylaws that requires more experience for candidates to serve as district representatives on the AVMA Board of Directors. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

Some delegates spoke in favor of the amendment, and others said the amendment seemed exclusionary. The original proposal was to increase the requirement for AVMA membership from five to 10 years, but the HOD compromised at seven years.

The North Carolina and Indiana VMAs submitted a late resolution requesting that the House Advisory Committee appoint a working group to review the election process for AVMA president-elect and vice president, both elected by the HOD. Some issues include what type of campaigning is appropriate and that the weighted votes for states in the HOD mean that the states with the largest number of AVMA members can determine the election results. Delegates passed the resolution.

The HOD also voted on whether to revise the AVMA policy "Pet Health Insurance" to add that the AVMA encourages veterinary health care teams to proactively educate their clients about the existence of pet health insurance. Some delegates expressed concern about including the word "proactively," saying it could be construed as a dictate for veterinarians to talk to clients about pet health insurance. Other delegates said they believe sharing information proactively could support pet owners pursuing treatment, rather than economic euthanasia, in the event of an accident or illness affecting their pet as well as provide some peace of mind for owners. Delegates ultimately approved the policy. The AVMA is preparing general information on pet health insurance for veterinary professionals and pet owners, for use in clinics and elsewhere.

Delegates also approved the following:

  • A bylaws amendment that made several revisions to the charge of the AVMA Council on Research.
  • Revisions to the AVMA policy "Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials" to provide clarity and reflect current thinking on efforts relating to antimicrobial resistance.
  • Revisions by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners to the policy "AABP-AVMA Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle."

Related JAVMA content:

HOD to discuss sexual harassment in profession (July 15, 2019)

Model practice act goes before HOD again (June 15, 2019)