AVMA member voices enable veterinary advocacy

Imagine going on a house call without a critical tool in your medical bag. That’s essentially what federal law required many veterinarians to do before the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act was signed in 2014. The law made it legal for U.S. veterinarians to bring controlled substances beyond their clinics and across state lines to provide complete medical care to patients.

President Barack Obama’s signing of the Mobility Act was a momentous occasion for the veterinary profession. It came about through a concerted effort by AVMA members, staff and allies, who joined to form one collective voice calling for change.

A new video published on our YouTube channel describes the journey that made this key piece of legislation one of only about 250 bills signed into law from among more than 10,000 introduced during that session of Congress.

It all started with an idea — an idea that the law needed to be changed. The AVMA wrote a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), then engaged with the DEA, congressional offices and other key stakeholders to develop legislation to fix the law. We worked with U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), a veterinarian, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to introduce the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act into Congress, and garnered support for the bill among more than 100 organizations.

Then came a grassroots organizing effort that recruited support from veterinarians and animal lovers alike. Led by the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network, we encouraged AVMA members to write their congressional representatives in support of the bill. And you responded, with a staggering 25,000 letters to Congress! This groundswell of support showed members of Congress that their constituents wanted the law changed so that veterinarians could properly, and legally, treat patients outside of a clinic setting.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, AVMA Governmental Relations Division staff in Washington, D.C., worked hard to move the bill out of committee. The House passed the legislation on July 7, 2014, and the Senate followed on July 16, paving the way for it to be signed into law.

It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight. But hard work paid off, and the collective voice of America’s veterinarians was heard loud and clear in Congress.

Passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act is just one example of the kind of change that is possible when AVMA members join together to protect, promote and advance the veterinary profession. Watch the video, and be inspired by the awesome power of our collective passion.

4 thoughts on “AVMA member voices enable veterinary advocacy

  1. association I’m very angry that my pup wasn’t seen because money comes first not an animals life I thought you cared about animals. I was told I had to have 120.00 for the test and other fees.my pup was vomiting and lack of energy. they were more concern about the money than taking care of him. his name is max. I think the policy needs to be change so you know he died tonight I’m in San Antonio Texas

    • Mr. Harmon, we’re very sorry that your pup died and we know the heartache you’re experiencing. It’s heartbreaking to lose a pet you love, and it’s even harder when it’s unexpected. But veterinary care, like medical care, costs money. It’s unfair to say that money comes first and to call people uncaring if they expect to receive payment for the services they provide. Veterinarians cannot provide care for all pets for free, or they’d never be able to pay their bills and keep their clinics running. When someone is hungry, they can’t go into a restaurant, order a big meal, and then call the wait staff and restaurant owner greedy because they expect to be paid for the meal and service they provided. When someone has work done on their house, they can’t expect it to be free. Human hospitals are required to offer care, but they also have the means and ability to pursue legal action, wage garnishment, etc. against people who don’t pay their bills. Why do so many people expect to be paid for their own services when they provide them, yet expect veterinarians to give their services away? Many veterinarians used to accept promises to pay, either in full or in installments, and then never saw a dime of payment; therefore, they lost a lot of money providing “free” care to people who don’t place value on their services. Pet ownership is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with responsibilities – including the financial commitment to provide veterinary care.
      Veterinarians enter the career because of a deep compassion for animals and a dedication to helping animals and people. Please know that if veterinarians didn’t have to pay any bills or worry about paying any of their staff or make a living wage themselves, I have no doubt they’d be helping every animal they could for free.