At the House of Delegates (HOD) 2012 Annual Meeting here in San Diego, the AVMA House of Delegates discussed and voted on 2 amendments and 8 resolutions.
First, a quick overview of the how the HOD meetings are conducted. The annual meeting takes place over 2 days. The first day consists of the informational meeting, the first session of the HOD where the resolutions are assigned to the reference committees, and the reference committee meetings. The informational meeting includes introductions, updates on AVMA initiatives and progress reports from task forces that were formed by HOD, and presentations from visiting groups and liaisons. The afternoon is spent in reference committee meetings, where the bylaws amendments and resolutions are discussed in depth by the relevant committee. On the second day, the HOD reassembles to review the recommendations of the reference committees and discuss the proposed amendments and resolutions on the floor of the House. Electronic votes are taken following the discussion of each amendment or resolution.
On to the outcomes:
Proposed bylaws amendment 3 would update the charge of the AVMA Council on Research to reflect current AVMA practices and policies. The new charge would include, among other things, advocating for importance of research; advancing education and training; and advising on AJVR. Those speaking in support of the change stated that the Council’s charge had not been updated for 10 years. This amendment was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
Proposed bylaws amendment 4 would eliminate the position of the AVMA Vice President and replace it with 6 Regional Veterinary Student Liaison positions. The goal would be to “…engage our veterinary students in a more effective and connected way” by focusing on more frequent interactions with veterinary schools and students and favoring electronic communication to reduce travel expenses while allowing for frequent interaction. The reference commitee recommended referring this to the Task Force on Governance and Member Participation, with no specific guidance. This referral passed, with a vote of 85% in support.
Resolution 4 addressed revisions to the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics to reflect input and revisions from the PLIT and Model Veterinary Practice Act task force. The revisions include language to limit veterinary liability; promote communication; clarifications in response to member requests; changes based on the revisions to the Model Veterinary Practice Act; and some language taken from rescinded policy on Guidelines for Referrals. This resolution was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
Resolution 5 addressed a proposed policy regarding the feeding of raw/undercooked animal-source protein to companion animals. This resolution is addressed in a separate blog enty to allow more in-depth coverage of the controversy, discussion and vote. This resolution was amended and the amended resolution passed with a vote of 90.9% in favor. See the specific blog post on Res 5 more info.
Resolution 6 addressed revisions to the definition of the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). Revisions to the Model Veterinary Practice Act were approved at the HOD’s winter meeting in January, but discussion of the VCPR definition led to the formation of a working group to further evaluate the revisions. The working group’s proposed definition was presented to the HOD at this meeting. In short, the criteria of the VCPR are that: the veterinarian assumes responsibility for the medical treatment of the animal patient; the client agrees to follow instructions; the veterinarian has knowledge of the patient, including timely examination; the veterinarian is available for follow-up emergency care, continuing care/treatment; and patient records are maintained. This resolution was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
Resolution 7 proposed that the AVMA endorse the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) diagnostic terms in electronic companion animal health records to standardize diagnostic nomenclature. The resolution was withdrawn, so no vote was necessary.
Resolution 8 would instruct the AVMA to engage proactively with pharmacy stakeholders to ensure health and welfare of animals receiving prescription drugs dispensed by licensed pharmacists. This includes clarification of the roles & responsibilities for counseling and educating clients when filling a vet prescription; and communicating with pharmacy orgs to promote best practices in dispensing to animal patients (including licensed pharmacist training in vet pharmacology and encouragement of individual pharmacist-veterinarian consultations). This resolution passed with a vote of 90.5% in support.
Resolution 9 addressed revisions to the AVMA policy providing guidance for veterinarians working with animal control & animal welfare organizations. The proposed revisions include the replacement of the term “pet” with “animal” to be more broadly applicable to diversity of animals cared for by these organizations; encouraging veterinarians to contribute their expertise, including promoting current principles of shelter medicine and humane population control; and acknowledgment that the welfare of individual animals, animal populations within the shelter, and animal populations within the community must all be considered and balanced in light of available resources. This resolution was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
Resolution 10 addressed revisions to the AVMA policy on animal fighting. The revisions more clearly encourage veterinarians to educate the public about the harm caused by animal fighting and to collaborate with law enforcement regarding enforcement of pertinent laws. This resolution was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
Resolution 11 addressed revisions to the AVMA policy on physical restraint. The revisions are more specific about the need for all persons involved in animal restraint to be sufficiently trained so that they are proficient in all of the techniques they may need to apply, for the benefit of the animal and their own safety. This resolution was placed on the consent agenda and passed.
For more in-depth coverage of the HOD meeting, look for the JAVMA News coverage in upcoming issues of JAVMA.