04 Mar AVMA HOD Delegate report
Submitted by Dr. Andrew O’Carroll
Greetings from your AVMA delegates, Dr. Krueger and I. For our 2020 Winter House of Delegates (HoD) session, we traveled once again to balmy Chicago as part of the AVMA’s Veterinary Leadership conference. To read specifics about what we discussed and voted on at the meeting, please visit avma.org/about/house-delegates.
The semi-annual Veterinary Information Forum made a grand return after a brief hiatus during the summer session due to the large advocacy event which took place with HoD members on Capitol Hill in DC. In this forum, the house revisited the topics of cannabis (and CBD) and telehealth as well as initiating a conversation regarding liability with practices taking student externs and volunteers. Many thanks to all of you who responded the blast email seeking input. We both found it invaluable in guiding the discussions that took place.
Practitioners across the country are clearly frustrated about our inability to even discuss cannabis and CBD products with clients, or lack of clarity on how to discuss them. Stay tuned to MDVMA updates as there are ongoing efforts in our state to improve our ability to communicate to our clients about these products. Telehealth continues to be a growing field and, despite the near universal opinion of our field and AVMA policy effortsd, some state boards are now allowing an initial veterinary client patient relationship to be established remotely instead of requiring a physical, hands-on examination. Lastly, the topic of volunteer liability came up because of a landmark legal case in Missouri where a veterinary student was awarded with $5,000,000 after an injury sustained while volunteering for a cattle practitioner. This should not discourage anyone from taking in student externs and volunteers as AVMA’s PLIT products protect against such claims, but I encourage you to discuss this with whichever company you use for professional liability insurance.
The HoD was presented with a variety of resolutions to vote on during this session to include policies on use of technology in veterinary medicine, cribbing in horses, microchipping of companion animals and declawing of cats. The latter was by far the most contentious and debated, as was anticipated since NY recently banned the practice and NJ may soon follow suit. The purpose of this resolution was not to change AVMA’s stance on declawing, but to make the policy more concise and less prescriptive for veterinarians in regards to how to manage post-operative pain. The AVMA’s policy and stance remains in opposition to routine declawing but firmly believes that veterinarians should have the lone authority to decide what is best for their patients.
As a reminder, AVMA has significantly expanded services available to members over the past 2 years. These include but are not limited to: their online CE academy AVMA Axon, their Direct Connect program which helps practice owners simplify and optimize their inventory purchases and AVMA Member Edge which provides discounts to a variety of businesses and stores.
Lastly, the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division (GRD) continues to do a spectacular job looking out for the profession when it comes to Federal legislation. There are too many current and upcoming matters to list here, but the GRD is seeking assistance from members to help contact their legislators regarding certain bills like the Fairness to Pet Owners Act which would Federally mandate all veterinarians to write out all prescriptions to clients. Please visit the AVMA’s website for contact info.
As always, it is an honor to represent Maryland veterinarians in the HoD and we look forward to future feedback for this summer’s Veterinary Information Forum. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns you wish to have presented to the AVMA.