House of Delegates sets winter session agenda

House of Delegates sets winter session agenda

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Dec 28, 2011
By dvm360.com staff
Schaumburg, Ill. — The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) House of Delegates (HOD) will vote on two bylaw amendments and three resolutions at its winter session Jan. 6-8.

The first amendment would require any new House of Delegates bylaw amendments to earn two-thirds affirmative vote for passage. The second bylaw amendment would expedite association membership for student AVMA members after graduation.

The first resolution pertains to AVMA’s Policy on Animal Abuse and Animal Neglect. According to the existing policy, veterinarians should report animal abuse or neglect to appropriate authorities, regardless of whether they are mandated to do so by law. The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee proposed adding language to emphasize that reporting should be timely.

The second resolution will amend AVMA’s Policy on Annual Rabies Vaccination Waiver. The AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine proposed the policy and an accompanying waiver form to provide an exemption from rabies vaccination in the rare event an animal experiences a contraindication to the vaccine. The council fully supports rabies vaccinations for all dogs, cats and ferrets per the recommendation from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, says AVMA.

According to the pending policy, "All rabies vaccination waivers should be reconsidered at least yearly and, if appropriate, may be renewed on an annual basis following a reassessment of the animal's condition."

The final resolution calls for a revision of AVMA’s Model Veterinary Practice Act.

The new version of the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act was compiled by an AVMA task force, according to the association and presents what Chair Dr. John Scamahorn calls "a model of what AVMA feels is the best way to protect the health, safety and welfare of people and animals."

The task force submitted the revised model practice act to the AVMA Executive Board in November, and the board voted to forward the document to the House of Delegates for consideration in early January.

The revised model practice act, AVMA says, includes a more descriptive definition of "animal" as meaning "any living organism, except humans, having sensation and the power of voluntary movement and requiring for its existence oxygen and organic nutrients;” and a new definition of "complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies" as meaning "a heterogeneous group of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic philosophies and practices that are not considered part of conventional (Western) medicine as practiced by most veterinarians and veterinary technicians."

Some of the other recommendations include commentary that veterinarians should document owner consent in the medical record and obtain the client's signature whenever possible.

New subsections also clarify circumstances in which veterinarians can disclose patient information for purposes of treatment, payment or research.