Executive Board Meeting Wrap-Up, June 2013

Note: this post was updated to correct an error – the final, approved versions of the compounding policies did NOT include a recommendation for approved lists. I apologize for my error on this. KAM

The Executive Board held their June meeting from June 6-8. Strategic discussions were held on June 6 and June 8, and the business meeting took place on June 7. The business meeting begins with reference committee meetings, where they have preliminary discussions about the items up for action. The reference committees review the items and make a preliminary recommendation for Board action. If the reference committee unanimously approves the item, it goes on the consent agenda. Unless it is removed from the consent agenda for further discussion by the Board as a whole (which can happen any time before the vote is made on the consent agenda), it may be approved in bulk with the other items when the Board approves the consent agenda. It may seem complicated, but it’s actually a very effective way to streamline the Board meeting.

The Executive Board approved revisions to the following policies:

  • The Elephant Guides and Tethers policy was revised to improve technical accuracy, emphasize critical statements, accommodate for restraint needs during medical evaluation, and recognize that different management techniques vary in their suitability for application.
  • The Swine Castration policy was revised to address new technology in immunocastration.
  • The Transport of Dogs in Open Cargo areas of Pickup Trucks policy was revised to widen the scope to address all motor vehicles (as opposed to only trucks), address safety and restraint. The policy was renamed as a result of the revisions.
  • The Model Rabies Control Ordinance was revised to improve its technical accuracy and make it more consistent in format and language with other AVMA model ordinances.

Four new policies were approved:

  • Transport, Sale Yard Practices and Humane Slaughter of Hoofstock and Poultry supersedes the existing policy titled Transport, Sale Yard Practices, and Humane Slaughter of Livestock and revises the policy to include poultry; address transport, biosecurity, health, safety, welfare, and the mixing of animals; and provide more guidance.
  • Veterinary Compounding addresses the need for veterinary compounding and recommends that veterinarians be able to keep sufficient quantities of meds for urgent/emergency use. It also recommends  clear labeling and oversight, such as USP standards.
  • Compounding from Unapproved (Bulk) Substances in Food Animals addresses the need for compounded medications for certain uses in food animals. It also emphasizes that a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) is required.
  • Compounding from Unapproved (Bulk) Substances in Non-Food Animals recognizes the medical necessity of compounded medications in certain situations emphasizes that a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) is required.

The new and revised policies will be posted on our website over the coming few weeks.

The Board referred the following items to the House of Delegates for consideration and action at their Annual Session in July:

  • Relocation of Pets for Adoption policy, which addresses proper planning to address health, welfare issues and emergencies when animals are transported from one area to another to facilitate adoption.
  • A resolution that the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA) be admitted to the House of Delegates as an allied constituent organization.

The policy on Compounding from Unapproved (Bulk) Substances was rescinded because it was superseded by a new policy.

The Board also took action on recommendations from the Legislative Advisory Committee regarding AVMA positions on federal legislation. The outcomes of these votes determine how the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division allots its resources and efforts during the year.

A big outcome of the meeting was the acceptance of the report from the Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation. The Task Force’s final report has been provided to the House of Delegates and will be discussed at their Annual Session in July. The report will be posted in its entirety on the AVMA website, and we’ll also convert it to e-reader-friendly formats in the near future. With the delivery of their report, the Task Force is officially sunset. A team will be appointed to strategize and develop a plan for the implementation of the new governance structure.

For more information about the Board meeting and decisions, look for upcoming JAVMA News articles.

17 thoughts on “Executive Board Meeting Wrap-Up, June 2013

  1. Hi all, I am not dodging the responses as I actually like the discussion. The timing just happens to be at a time where I haven’t had a chance to respond. A few things going on here, but will get back on line shortly. I can sense (rather clearly!) the discontent to put it mildly, however, I have a few other things taking priority at the moment – family related. Do any of you have things going on other than blogging or work, as it can be rather time consuming? I didn’t want my absence of responses misinterpreted as dodging the questions, or that Carl or Greg didn’t deserve answers. I also truly doubt I will be able to say anything that will satisfy the discontented, or change any opinions, but I do value the discussion, and do see great value in AVMA membership. Sorry, there is a very big picture here, as you know, and if AVMA had not existed or went away, we would be left as a profession drifting aimlessly without progress, and at the whim of other forces. More to follow….

    • Dr. Carlson,

      Thank you for your response. I do hope that your family concerns are resolved favorably.

      • Dr. Carlson,

        When time permits, I would rather you focus your efforts on answering Carl’s questions, as they are very important questions. I have asked you most of the questions that I have had issues with and we have done the cat and mouse routine enough to make it old. I would like to think that the long, meandering, semi-coherent answers are simply you being you, but when I see similar, deflective responses by other members of the board, I think it is more by tactic than anything else.

        It is likely that you feel there are just two or three unhappy members of the AVMA and we have nothing better to do that bust your chops all day. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a business, a staff of 14, a wife, a church community, children, and even a few hobbies that I would much rather spend my time on. If I could just relax knowing that my interests and those of my colleagues are being protected by the organization that we pay dues to, I would spend my time on more fruitful endeavors. However, I don’t feel that this is the case at all and recent decisions by the board have only strengthened this feeling.

        Instead of continuing to rationalize how complicated things are and how YOUR decisions are the best decisions for me, why not make it simple. Put it to a simple litmus test.

        Ask yourself-
        “Is there objective data to show that this decision is in the best interest of our members”

        Is there objective data to show that this decision will not have a negative impact on our members?

        Is there objective data to show that our membership actually supports this decision?

        Quite simple. If the AVMA exists for its members, then this should be easy. No roundabout explanations or rationalizations, just simple answers.
        If you can answer yes to these questions with regards to foreign accreditation, please share with me the information that you have gathered and I will accept this decision. If you cannot, you have done your members and our US profession a grave disservice.

    • Hi Dr Carlson,
      it has been almost 2 weeks since you last posted here.Hopefully you have had time to clear you schedule to address the questions I asked.if you are unable to respond please pass on my questions to someone who has the time to repsond.I am very frustrated that the leaders of AVMA are so unresponsive to my questions.How difficult is it to take a few minutes to answer questions? I think if our leaders cannot answer basic questions then we truly are drifting aimlessly.

  2. How many executive board members actually asked for membership input on any of these issues?
    I doubt very many. I can’t even get mine to answer my emails.

    Yes, we have a very member oriented association.

  3. Dan,
    When you say “kick the can down the road again” and that AVMA should “man-up”, does that mean you are hoping AVMA will initiate some major changes in governance? I hope so, because I think that is a process you will see to be forthcoming. You can be sure that a change in governance was a very high priority in our 2012-2015 Strategic Plan (I was on that committee) mostly based on member input. AVMA leadership agreed. We truly felt change was necessary to modernize the governance of AVMA for continued success in our next 150 years to meet the needs and wants of new and existing members. I would urge you to read the Task Force Report on Governance and Member Participation because it is really a very well done report. Funny, human nature seems to call for change many times, but then when change starts to be implemented, people get very nervous about changing away from what they know. This report makes the very good case for why it IS important we make some changes and some very good suggestions. I am happy to see your comments that imply you want AVMA to make some changes. You can be sure there will be a lot of communication in the weeks and months ahead that will inform members about the plans and proposal. We really (really!!) welcome your support and further comments. This will not work without member understanding and support, but I believe it will be a very very good thing for AVMA and our members. Thank you for your comment.

    • Dr. Carlson,
      If AVMA really (really!!) welcomes comments from its members, why hasn’t it done the simplest thing to show that it is listening? The new logo design and associated expenses have been strongly rejected by EVERY DVM that responded on Facebook, AVMA@work, and VIN. How simple would it be for AVMA leadership to say “oops, guess we misjudged that one,” and scrap the idea?
      How hard would it be for leaders to eat a little crow and admit that many policies, statements, lobbying campaigns that AVMA has championed in the past MAY have contributed to the current “excess capacity” of veterinarians. Take the heat and apologize for any damage that has been done. Admit that a change of course is necessary, and be willing to listen to ALL ideas to bring about such changes.

      • Ruth,
        I hope you are ready for my usual very “long-winded” responses! I thought my comments that AVMA does listen wholeheartedly to members by including the reassessment of our governance structure in our five primary strategic goals for AVMA, to better engage members of all groups, was good news.

        We may have to agree to disagree on this one. I truly believe we are listening and our voluntary and staff leadership at AVMA is exemplary. As far as the logo, that is not a done deal by any means as yet, although it was a Board decision that this was needed. We have had several focus groups and exciting responses. However, there is no question what one person sees as impressive, is not so impressive to another. When I started my practice, one of my highest priorities was an exciting, inspiring logo identity of who we were and what we stood for. In this day and age, contemporary “quick” identities are important for public perception. Our AVMA logo is definitely outdated by current standards, and that imparts that AVMA is “outdated” to the public. (I guess one could argue until we get our governance updated, we still appear outdated to our members! I will give you that one.)

        Most of the logo expense would be incurred in the implementation of the new logo if accepted and approved, such as for new signs, stationary, products, etc. This is our 150th year anniversary – if we need to modernize, what better time? This is not being done without a lot of member input with focus groups during the graphic design process, and feedback with more opportunities for input forthcoming. Pride in our professional association identity is important, necessary, and valuable.

        BTW, AVMA has on many occasions “scrapped ideas”. For instance, having the Convention in one location was discussed (which would give us much better negotiated rates on lodging, meeting venues, and meals), but members have consistently said, “we like traveling to new places”. We listened, and scrapped the idea of having one consistent location.

        As to AVMA decisions and advocacy being responsible for the “excess capacity” identified in the Workforce Study (which is defined more as “underemployment than unemployment” which does seem to be the case – an important distinction), previous workforce studies indicated a future potential shortage of veterinarians in certain segments of society (such as retiring USDA veterinarians and in academia). That prompted our lobbying for our educational institutions to have continued and increased government support for capacity for those potential shortages, such as for the Veterinary Services Investment Act. However, due to economic times, many of us are not retiring when anticipated, and declining government budgets limited some of those opportunities. The current Workforce Study confirmed those areas are still needed in society, so in essence we have an imbalance of where veterinarians are needed vs. where they are going. How can we improve that balance? In addition, circumstances change and people pursue different career paths than expected. We can’t dictate where DVMs end up in their professional work. We can help our members be prepared for and transition into these other areas.

        Many members believe AVMA has some control over the number of veterinary medical programs in the United States, or that AAVMC (the Association for American Veterinary Medical Colleges) has some control over class size. Neither is the case. Anyone can open a school for veterinary medicine if they feel it is sustainable , and universities can decide to increase their class sizes as they choose. It is no different than if a practitioner decides to open another bigger and better veterinary clinic even though there may be many veterinarians or other clinics in that area already. America gives citizens and businesses the opportunity and the right to expand as they wish (thank goodness!), and the market will tell the story of success or not. The AVMA or the AAVMC has NO authority or even ability to limit such expansion. What we do have is the ability to influence demand for our services. We are working very hard on that area.

        I am so proud of what is being accomplished at AVMA for our members. I will happily give a synopsis of the many accomplishments this past year in the effort to achieve our strategic priorities for members. We do appreciate and want member discussion. We do listen. Leadership listens, discusses all input at great length, and may or may not agree on some issues that affect the long term health of AVMA for its members and our profession. Let me tell you, member input helped us develop our AVMA policies on Compounding to help AVMA advocate for our needs at this critical time on Capitol Hill and has been very helpful.

        Despite a pothole in the road occasionally, AVMA is getting better and better, not worse and worse, IMHO….

        • Dr Carlson,
          based on my interactions on the NOAH boards I do not share your opinion that AVMA is listening.I do feel that most of my questions have been ignored and so far I have only had vague answer to my specific questions. I took a lot of time to review the foreign accreditation workforce report and the US workforce study and I hoped to engage with AVMA to better understand these reports.

          Anyway I am confused by some of your comments.
          You stated that when AVMA realized that there were going to be potential shortages in food safety and academia it lobbied the government for more financial support of schools to address the need for more veterinarians.
          However, recently AVMA has clearly stated it will not interfere with the supply of veterinarians.SO when did AVMAs policy change and why? Is it OK to advocate for more veterinarians and not less?

          You failed to mention that all but one of the previous studies predicted an oversupply of veterinarians.

          I dont agree that the workforce study showed an imbalance in where vets are going vs where they are needed.The overall excess capacity was 12.5%.If it was a maldistribution problem shouldnt the excess capacity in small animal and equine medicine be offset by a lack of excess capacity in food animal medicine or food safety?
          But that is not what the study showed.In fact if there are some areas where there are fewer vets than needed doesnt that make the excess capacity in the other areas falsely lower than it should be?

          I asked several questions about the workforce report.Dr Dicks was initially very responsive and we had some good conversations.recently ,however, the contact has stopped for some reason.
          I have some questions that I would like answers to.

          1.If vets are underemployed rather than unemployed why is the number of seniors not receiving any job offers rapidly increasing?
          2.What was the breakdown of veterinarians interviewed re unemployment.Did the study count an internship as employment ? If so wouldnt that significantly reduce the actual unemployment rate?
          Were second and third year veterinarians studied to assess how much the unemployment rate is affected by internships.
          3.What are the effects of an increasing growth of veterinarians on the excess capacity rate? The workforce results potentially represent a best case scenario and if the taskforce is going to develop models for the profession shouldnt it use those models to assess what happens under different scenarios.

          You stated that AVMA sees this as a demand issue and is working to increase demand.
          The workforce advisory group (WAG) studied the workfroce report and found 11 implications and made 11 recommendations.What were the recommendations?
          There were 4 recommendations to gather more data, 4 recommendations to do more research, and 3 recommendations to continue supporting programs AVMA has already undertaken.

          There were no new actionable recommendations regarding increasing demand.Why not?

          I think you are mistaken when you say many members believe AVMA has some control over the number of vets produced in USA.
          Many of us have a reasonable understanding of how the US veterinary education system works.
          What we do not understand is why AVMA feels it cannot advocate for the profession.
          The foreign accreditation report makes AVMAs stance very clear.
          Since AVMA is a trade (professional ) organization its primary mission must be to protect and promotes the US veterinary profession.

          If AVMA stays silent as others use inaccurate data to justify veterinary school expansion it IS interfering with the market.

          Finally your comments about comparing university vet school expansion to veterinary clinics is fatally flawed.

          If a vet hospital opens in a saturated market market forces will probably lead that hospital to fail.
          Why? Because there wont be enough demand to meet the increased supply of veterinarians.

          But this is NOT true for vet schools.
          Why? Because the only factor limiting the number of students educated is an adequate supply of students with access to loans. It makes no difference to the schools if the vets they train cant find a job.In fact it is advantageous for schools to increase enrollment as long as there are more students applying than seats available.
          The only way market forces can work here is when it becomes apparent that a vet school degree is not worth the financial investment because the unemployment rate is high.
          That is the true market force behind veterinary education and according to your statement that is OK and in fact a good American thing? Despite the potentially devastating effect that high unemployment would have on the profession it is AVMAs belief that it cannot act in any way to avoid that scenario?

          If you disagree with any of this I would suggest you read the VIN service article published today about what happened in the dental and legal profession.The similarities are quite startling.
          If AVMA continues its current policies it will be repeating the history of the dental and legal profession.

        • Dr. Carlson,
          At the risk of being the object of one of your filibuster responses, I find that your response to Dr. Reismer shows all that is wrong with the AVMA:

          You claim to listen to a member that does not feel listened to and then go on to explain why it is that spending money on a logo change is a good idea. Every member that has made any comment on this issue has been appalled at the timing, yet the EB feels that it is needed so it will likely be a done deal. I don’t think that it fits into my definition of listening.

          You again act as though you have known nothing of all of the past studies on workforce issues, when we all know this not to be true. These have been around for decades and some were even funded by the AVMA. So, for you or anyone else affiliated with the AVMA to state otherwise is untrue. By sitting idly by , doing nothing and saying nothing about this while schools tweak information to make our profession appear robust, you have no doubt had an impact on veterinary supply. If you claim otherwise, I will call you a liar.

          Finally, to show how well you are all listening, my colleagues in Texas had concerns about foreign accreditation and voiced their concerns thru the proper channels. A resolution was passed. A task force was formed (and then told what they could and could not study), and no member input was sought when the EB wrung their hands while deciding that the pros outweigh the cons on this. I am fully open to the fact that you may be right, but we have not even studied the cons. I ask you how is this listening? Please don’t insult my intelligence by trying to tell me that all of the questions were answered because they were not.

          You do some things right, but you don’t do many of the right things. I cannot come up with any good reason why my wife and I should continue to send our hard earned dollars into an organization whose actions continually tell me that my input is not needed nor wanted. But hey, who cares about this, we are the gold standard in veterinary education!

          • Dr. Carlson,

            Does my colleague Carl not deserve a response to his questions? What happened to the AVMA being interested in the concerns of their members? Does that only include the members that you agree with?

    • Actually, Dr. Carlson, by “kicking the can” I meant either postponing any actions or creating a diversion to deflect attention to the foreign accreditation and veterinary oversupply issues. By unveiling this “new governence report” at this time, it looks to me like a diversion. You and I both know that any changes in the structure of our organization will take years to initiate….plenty of time to conduct business as usual and allow 5,000 to 10,000 more young vets into this sinking ship called veterinary medicine. Sorry to be so blunt….but that’s the way I look at it.

      I read the synopsis of the new governing structure and it appears that by getting rid of the House of Delegates you are consolidating more power to fewer individuals. This sounds like the typical government or boardroom tactic of handling a crisis…..act like you are doing something by shaking up the structure when in fact that shake up serves no purpose other than to divert attention from the crisis and consolidate the power into fewer, more controllable individuals. (A page right out of our national government’s playbook).

      If you really wanted to shake up the structure, you would clean house, starting at the top, and get new paid staff. Mr. Dicks might be a good choice as Executive Vice-President. He has been a fresh voice of reality and comes with no past ties to special interests.

      So while I appreciate your pep talk…..that’s really all it is. Nothing substantial.
      If you really wanted to represent my interests as a practitioner, you would:
      (1) Get a new set of paid staff
      (2) Dissolve the COE and let accreditation be done by someone else
      (3) Make a statement that the AVMA has a real concern for the future of our profession as it relates to the over supply of veterinarians. The AVMA would not support any statements by other veterinary associations that advanced the idea that all is well in the profession.

  4. I’m afraid that if they kick the can down the road again or find that they will continue the status quo, there will be a mass exodus of members in protest to the AMVA’s attitude and actions that are in direct conflict with the desires of membership. Hope I’m wrong and they “man-up”

  5. Notably absent is any mention of foreign accreditation. I was under the impression that they would be discussing this as well.

    • I only attended the business session – it wasn’t discussed there. I think it was discussed on Thursday and/or Saturday.

      • actually, Dr. May,

        I think it was discussed and decided long , long BEFORE Thursday!!