AVMA solicits public input on model veterinary practice act

Comment period begins in January

November 11, 2010 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

This article was amended to reflect additional information provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) wants the public and its members to weigh in on the principles designed to guide how veterinarians practice medicine.

On Tuesday, the AVMA put out a call for public comment as it gears up to revise its model practice act, last published in 2003. State veterinary medical associations often refer to the AVMA model act as a baseline or reference when guiding legislatures to write laws governing how veterinary medicine can and should be practiced. Now the AVMA wants the public to weigh in on ideas for changes to the 2003 version, which will serve as a reference while it's being redrafted.

The term "veterinary practice act" can be used to title specific pieces of legislation that govern the parameters of veterinary medicine. In some states, however, the veterinary practice act is the nomenclature for the body of laws that collectively govern the profession.

In Ohio, for example, those laws are laid out in the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code. Either way, veterinary practice acts usually includes definitions relevant to veterinary medicine, the licensing of practitioners, the educational requirements of licensees and many other topics that pertain to the profession.

The AVMA created its model veterinary practice act in 1960. This is the first time the AVMA has solicited stakeholder input on the front end, before changes from the association are proposed. All comments will be reviewed by the 12-member AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act Review Task Force, appointed last August.

Jack Advent, executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, applauds the AVMA’s attempt to reach out for new ideas.

“I think it’s very progressive and healthy for the AVMA to seek input,” Advent says. “It’s an important issue at all levels of the profession. Why not solicit comment from all corners?

“When we rewrote our practice act, we used the AVMA’s model extensively. It was a helpful resource tool,” he adds.

Specifically, the AVMA is seeking ideas on “how animals can receive the best care from veterinarians and other members of the veterinary healthcare team.”

Comments about the model practice act can be submitted to the AVMA via its website starting in January. A specific date was not announced. The comment period will last 30 days. 

In a news release, AVMA CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven noted that the association is giving advance notice of the public comment period due to widespread interest in the model practice act, which is lengthy and contains many provisions.

“Some organizations may even choose to meet and discuss the act in order to come to consensus on their comments, and we wanted to encourage and allow for these discussions about the future of veterinary medicine,” DeHaven says in a statement.




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