APHIS unveils revised accreditation program process

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Jan 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Washington, D.C. — The National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) is undergoing changes that will affect most veterinarians in terms of the continuing education (CE) they must earn and how their accreditation is renewed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published the new NVAP requirements Dec. 9. The new rules "will strengthen animal-health safeguarding activities and increase the training and skills of accredited veterinarians in disease prevention and preparedness for animal health emergencies," according to a spokesperson.

The most significant change is that veterinarians now will have required CE for accreditation renewal instead of receiving a blanket accreditation that is never revisited, says Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the government relations division at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Though the rules have been completed for some time, the funding had not been available to implement the entire program sooner, Lutschaunig says.

The new program creates two accreditation categories for large-animal and companion-animal practitioners, according to APHIS, and includes separate CE requirements for each category. The first tier of the process under the new system involves accreditation for companion-animal veterinarians with renewal every three years. The second tier is for large-animal accreditation and requires renewal every six years, Lutschaunig says. No renewals were required previously.

Veterinarians accredited before Feb. 1, 2010, will have to continue their accreditation under the new program or it will expire. Participation in NVAP is not federally mandated, but APHIS says more than 80 percent of all U.S. veterinarians are accredited.

Read more about the new program at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/nvap/.