Introduction to the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA) 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.
As a general rule, language in each Section is intended for use in state statute, whereas wording and/or ideas shared in the Commentary following each section are intended as clarification. Language found in the Commentary may be appropriate for promulgating rules by the state agency that has oversight of the veterinary practice act.
The AVMA is routinely requested to provide templates or standardized forms for veterinarians to utilize in their practice. As these forms often will become part of the official medical record, the AVMA recommends that individual state veterinary medical associations (VMAs) work with attorneys in their state who are familiar with the state's veterinary practice act to create needed templates or forms for their members that will comply with their state's veterinary practice act. Templates/forms developed with input from competent local legal counsel will be better suited to hold up in court.
The first AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act was developed by the Judicial Council of the AVMA, in cooperation with Professor N. William Hines of the University of Iowa College of Law, in the early 1960s. The AVMA House of Delegates approved this first MVPA in 1964, and since then, the MVPA has been revised several times to reflect professional, technological, and societal changes. A major revision occurred in 2003 and again in 2012.
The current revision process began in the fall of 2016 when the Council on Veterinary Service (CoVS), anticipating the mandatory every-five-year review of the MVPA, began identifying policies that are referenced in the MVPA and developed a process to determine whether any changes had been made to those policies that would impact the MVPA.
In the summer of 2017, the creation of an expanded working group was approved by the AVMA Board of Directors (BOD) and that group began meeting in the fall of 2017. The expanded working group comprised representatives from the following entities: CoVS, State Advocacy Committee (SAC), Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), AVMA/National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America Leadership Committee (AVMA/NAVTA), Student AVMA (SAVMA), Judicial Council (JC), Professional Liability Insurance Trust (PLIT), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), FDA/CVM, Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE), the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), and AVMA staff. Additional organizations were invited but were not able to participate.
The expanded working group held numerous videoconferences and conducted one in-person meeting during the fall and winter of 2017-2018. A draft MVPA was circulated for comment during the January 2018 meeting of the BOD and the winter 2018 meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD). An updated draft subsequently was posted online for a 60-day comment period, after which the expanded working group reviewed and reconciled all comments and provided an updated draft for review by the CoVS.
The CoVS considered the draft provided by the expanded working group during its spring 2018 in-person meeting and a draft version was approved. After further review by counsel, additional changes were approved by the CoVS in June 2018 and a draft was sent to the BOD for consideration at the BOD's June 2018 meeting. The BOD postponed discussion on the MVPA until their September 2018 meeting. In July 2018, the AAVSB sent their proposed changes to their Practice Act Model (PAM) to AVMA. As a result, the CoVS took one more look at the proposed MVPA in light of the document provided by AASVB. An updated recommendation was then sent to the BOD for their consideration at their September 2018 meeting.
The BOD referred the proposed MVPA to the HOD with a recommendation of approval. The HOD considered the proposal at its January 2019 winter meeting and referred the policy back to the BOD with some comments. The comments were considered and a newly revised MVPA was presented to the BOD for their consideration at their April 2019 meeting. The BOD again referred the proposed MVPA to the HOD with a recommendation of approval. The HOD reviewed the policy once more at their 2019 summer meeting and approved the revised policy.
Because the MVPA is intended to evolve as technology, the veterinary profession, and societal needs change, comments are welcomed and should be directed to the Council on Veterinary Service at the AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4360 or by e-mail to mvpaavma [dot] org (mvpa[at]avma[dot]org).
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