Telemedicine just one focus of 2017 AVMA House of Delegates winter meeting

The AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) 2017 Regular Winter Session tackled some weighty issues, but also provided some lighter moments in which some very special people were recognized for their service to both animals and people.

The meeting, held in Chicago Jan. 12-14 during the AVMA’s Veterinary Leadership Conference, marked the hosting of the second Veterinary Information Forum (VIF), an open discussion in which House members address high-profile issues of significant importance to AVMA member veterinarians. The topics discussed at the forum included the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine; transparency in veterinarians’ acceptance of sponsorships, rebates, equipment and free goods; and telemedicine.

AVMA President Dr. Tom Meyer welcomes AVMA members to the 2017 AVMA House of Delegates Regular Winter Session.

AVMA President Dr. Tom Meyer welcomes AVMA members to the 2017 AVMA House of Delegates Regular Winter Session.

HOD members gathered in their respective Reference Committee meetings at the conclusion of the VIF to discuss the forum topics in smaller groups and to decide if any specific recommendations should be brought back before the full House for consideration.

Reference Committee 5, which was charged with addressing the topic of unlicensed practice, submitted to the House a recommendation that the AVMA Board of Directors refer review of the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act to appropriate AVMA volunteer entities for the potential addition of language specific to unlicensed practice and/or development of an official policy on unlicensed practice.

Reference Committee 5 also presented a related recommendation calling for the AVMA Board to consider developing a policy to encourage collaboration with the U.S. government regarding the proper utilization and employment of federal veterinarians to ensure food safety and security decisions are made with the highest consideration for public health.

The issue of transparency generated significant discussion on both the House floor and in the reference committees. Reference Committee 2, which was assigned the topic, concluded that the current Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics addresses these situations adequately and therefore did not submit a recommendation.

The topic of telemedicine, which was assigned to Reference Committee 6, resulted in a recommendation that the AVMA Board consider that the recommendations contained in Section 8.1.a in the AVMA Practice Advisory Panel Final Report on Telemedicine be considered for inclusion in the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act. Earlier in the week, the Board accepted the report for information and dissemination, while deferring final action on policy changes until further member and stakeholder input is received. Check out our telemedicine report blog for more information and to learn how you can comment.

The HOD also took action on an AVMA bylaws amendment and three resolutions. (You can find a complete list of the items on the AVMA website).

The House voted unanimously to approve Proposed Bylaws Amendment 1—2017, which calls for the AVMA treasurer to serve one six-year term as opposed to six consecutive one-year terms.

The House voted to approve an amended version of Resolution 1—2017: Financial Remuneration to Host VMA City for AVMA Convention with 91.7 percent of the vote. The resolution was submitted by the state veterinary medical associations of Indiana, Colorado, California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The approved amended resolution reads, “That the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates recommend that the Board of Directors consider offering financial remuneration and/or other considerations to the host veterinary medical association where the AVMA Convention will be held.”

Resolution 2—2017: Policy on Inherited Disorders in Responsible Breeding of Companion Animals was referred to the HOD by the AVMA Board. The House amended and approved the policy by a unanimous vote. The approved policy reads, “To maximize the health and welfare of companion animals, the AVMA supports research in genetic and inherited disorders to better educate the profession and breeders on identifying and minimizing inherited disorders in companion animal breeding programs.  To assist with this, the AVMA encourages veterinarians to pursue continuing education in the emerging area of genetic disease in companion animals. The AVMA also encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, companion animal owners, and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting companion animals.”

Resolution 3—2017: Amended Articles of Incorporation clarified language pertaining to the AVMA Board and how the number of directors/trustees, their terms in office and their manner of election shall be set forth in the AVMA’s Bylaws. The resolution passed unanimously.

Changing gears a bit, the General Session of the regular HOD meeting provided your association an opportunity to recognize some pretty special people through the AVMA Excellence in Veterinary Medicine Awards. The recipients, as AVMA President Dr. Tom Meyer said during the awards portion of the meeting, have made a tremendous impact on the animals and people we serve. Receiving the 2016 AVMA Animal Welfare Award was Dr. Jeanette O’Quin. Mr. Harold Dates received the 2016 AVMA Humane Award. And Dr. Jody Sandler received the 2016 AVMA Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award. You can read more about the award winners on the AVMA@Work blog.

Finally, The House appointed four AVMA members to two volunteer councils. Drs. Malathi Raghavan and Jonathan Garber were appointed to the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents; and Drs. William Lanier and Eileen Wolfe were appointed to the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine. The AVMA welcomes them to our dedicated cadre of volunteers, and thanks them in advance for their service and expertise.

If you’d like to learn more about your AVMA delegates and alternate delegates, we invite you to visit our 2016-2017 AVMA House of Delegates web page, where you’ll find a complete list and individual contact information. Your HOD representatives want to hear from you.

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