Why is Congress letting rural communities go without veterinary care?





If you went on National Journal’s or Roll Call’s websites this month, you would have seen the latest AVMA advertisements promoting an important bill that will help provide incentives to veterinarians who are willing to practice in underserved communities.Vets_VMLRP_175x175

The ad campaign, which is running throughout December, calls on Congress to pass the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) Enhancement Act. The AVMA has been a strong supporter of the VMLRP since the program’s inception back in 2003. The VMLRP provides up to $75,000 in student loan reimbursement to public health and food safety veterinarians willing to serve for three years in a shortage area, as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bill would remove the 39 percent withholding tax on the program that prevents more veterinarians from serving America’s ranchers and farmers.

The AVMA sought to have this bill included in legislation this fall to extend expired tax breaks. However, because the bill would add a new provision to the tax code, instead of simply extending one already on the books, it was not permitted. The AVMA will continue to push passage of this bill again in 2016.

We also recently released an updated infographic and video promoting the VMLRP. Learn more about this important bill on our advocacy campaign page. While you’re there, be sure to write your congressmen telling them to pass this bill that will improve the health and welfare of America’s livestock.

3 thoughts on “Why is Congress letting rural communities go without veterinary care?

  1. For an aging owner in a rural practice looking to attract a debt laden young associate, this program would be a great asset to start a career that would ensure there would be a continuation of veterinary care in that already underserved community.

  2. Why? Hmmmmm. Let’s see if we can figure this out..

    1) By manipulating veterinary school enrollment along the “PC” agenda, the profession has become a female profession and females (by actual survey) have less interest in rural food and large animal medicine than do male students.

    2) “Underserved” areas are generally areas where the potential client density is too low to support a thriving practice and very few vets I have met are willing to invest so much vet school time and money in order to finally work and live in poverty.

    3) By allowing money hungry schools to open veterinary colleges on every corner in every state, the attraction of necessary superior students has been diluted and has decreased (as shown by the fewer number of applicants per seat) as the attraction of the profession has decreased.

    4) In what way does: “This financial incentive helps veterinarians—who face an average of $135,000 in student loan debt—to make a living in a community where opening their own veterinary clinic could be cost prohibitive” lower that cost of opening and running a veterinary clinic by even a nickel or make a comfortable living possible? Loan forgiveness may help improve the quality of the former student’s lives in the short run but does nothing to make it easier to open a clinic or make a living on a continual basis. After 3 years they will be off to greener pastures. Really . . . . be honest . . . . . wouldn’t you?!

    Not really very hard to understand or predict.