AVMA pledges to 'vigorously defend' against expanding scope of practice

Efforts to allow nonveterinarians to diagnose, prescribe, and perform surgery prompted a new policy approved by the AVMA House of Delegates

By R. Scott Nolen
Published: 18 August 2023

Broadening nonveterinarians' scope of practice would compromise the quality of veterinary care, thus threatening animal and public health, according to the AVMA. The AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) approved a new policy July 14 that directs the Association to "vigorously defend" against such expansions.

While affirming the skills and competencies of recognized veterinary professionals such as credentialed and licensed veterinary technicians (LVT) and certified veterinary assistants (CVAs), this policy puts the AVMA on record as opposing expanding the scope of practice of nonveterinarians, including the creation of a veterinary midlevel practitioner.

Several state VMAs, including Texas, California, Illinois, Indiana and Nevada, proposed the policy, "Safeguarding Care for Animals with Veterinarian-Led Teams." The AVMA Board of Directors (BOD) and House Advisory Committee (HAC) recommended delegates vote for the resolution, which passed on the final day of the House's regular annual session, held July 13-14 in Denver in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2023.

The policy states: "Animals deserve safe, efficacious, and high-quality care, and animal owners should be able to fully trust the veterinary services provided for them. Accordingly, the AVMA will vigorously defend the practice of veterinary medicine—which includes the ability to diagnose, prognose, develop treatment plans, prescribe, and/or perform surgery—against scope of practice expansions by non-veterinarians that threaten patient health and safety, the safety of animal products, and/or public health. Veterinary healthcare is enhanced through efficient utilization of each member of the team through appropriate delegation of tasks and responsibilities by the veterinarian."

To see the full version of this story, visit the AVMA News website.