Delegates discuss license portability, AVMA support for veterinary team members

The AVMA House of Delegates, meeting Jan. 7-8 in Chicago, deliberated on license portability across states for veterinarians as a topic of the Veterinary Information Forum.

The HOD also discussed the idea of ​​expanding AVMA membership beyond veterinarians, with the result being a recommendation to look at how the Association can increase support for veterinary team members.

Delegates debated what the AVMA could or should do to make it easier for veterinarians who are licensed in one state to gain licenses in others. In those discussions, delegates noted that license portability affects a mix of veterinarians and scenarios, such as private practitioners who move, relief veterinarians who want to work across nearby state borders, veterinarians who want to help care for animals during a natural disaster in another state or territory, state government veterinarians who have expertise that could help fight a disease outbreak elsewhere, and veterinarians who have to move for military service or the service of their spouses.

dr Juan Pablo Amieiro-Puig, Puerto Rico delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, summarizes discussion by reference committee members about license portability and the difficulties some veterinarians face when seeking licenses in other states. (Photo by R Scott Nolen)

dr Juan Pablo Amieiro-Puig, Puerto Rico delegate and chair of the House reference committee assigned to discuss license portability, said veterinarians are highly unlikely to gain a national license because that would require state governments forfeiting control over licensing. But he noted that some states already have been addressing concerns about temporary licenses for disaster response and easing licensing connected with military deployments.

He asked that the committee members consider what actions could make state licensing processes fairer and easier and what the AVMA could do to help.

On a recommendation from that committee, the HOD voted to ask that the AVMA Board of Directors examine license portability and consider what actions could help, including modifying or creating AVMA policies. Delegates also recommended that the Board collaborate with state VMAs and other AVMA-allied associations to understand the issues and how to best address them.

As the other topic of the Veterinary Information Forum, the House of Delegates discussed the idea of ​​expanding AVMA membership beyond veterinarians. The Association does have a category for affiliate members who teach veterinary medicine or sciences allied to veterinary medicine or who engage in veterinary research, but there are currently only 26 affiliate members.

The House reference committee assigned to discuss membership expansion debated whether veterinary technicians, hospital managers, or others involved in veterinary medicine should be AVMA members or whether the Association should instead look at various ways to support these groups, in addition to the resources that the AVMA already offers for practice teams.

On a recommendation from that committee, the HOD voted to request that the AVMA Board of Directors “consider creating a pathway of communication with other veterinary healthcare team organizations, starting with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, and the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, to investigate how best to work collaboratively to strengthen their organizations and professions as well as the AVMA.”

The AVMA currently provides support services for NAVTA and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives.