AVMA needs to clearly state that there is an excess capacity in USA
a. We have had over 20 years of studies by AVMA that all came to the same conclusion that there is an excess capacity of veterinarians.
Despite this AVMA has never issued a statement that acknowledges this.
Why is this?
Why is it important?
It is important for 2 reasons;
1. There have been several statements that have perpetuated the myth that there is a shortage of veterinarians, a shortage of large animal veterinarians, many "underserved areas" and a large population (50%) of pet owners that never seek veterinary care.
These statements have been used by some to promote building new veterinary schools.
If AVMA allows these statements to go unchallenged it is failing in its duty to protect the profession.
2. It is vital for accurate information about the veterinary profession to be widely available to allow prospective veterinary students to research and evaluate their decision to make veterinary medicine a career.
We have already seen class action lawsuits by members of the legal profession that felt they were mislead about the career opportunities.
The 2013 Workforce study report concluded that we currently have an excess capacity of 12.5%.It was also predicted that this excess capacity was likely to continue for several years based on estimates of increased demand and supply over the next few years.
What was the response from AVMA president Dr Aspros?
" As a veterinarian, I would hope policymakers across the profession, including those responsible for existing veterinary colleges and those planning future educational programs,closely study the report and carefully consider its implications"
Why did the president not mention the excess capacity or the fact that it was likely to continue? Why did he issue this watered down statement which really says nothing.
Why is AVMA afraid to tell the truth? The statement from Dr Aspros is so vague and yet the workforce report is so clear and specific in its findings.
b. The data collected must be presented in an unbiased way and the conclusions made independent of AVMA. The RFP if any studies should be made available to the membership so we can judge whether the study is allowed to fully explore the subject being studied.
If the workforce is given access to proprietary information then that information should be kept confidential, but transparency must be maintained.
In a recent news story by the VIN news service 2 members of the Foreign accreditation taskforce were interviewed. They stated that before they began their deliberations they were directed by AVMA that they could not discuss or report on the effects of Foreign accreditation on the US veterinary profession.
In the foreign accreditation report, however, the taskforce states that they realized as they started their study that the effect of foreign accreditation on the US veterinary profession was not part of their charge, even though resolution 5 clearly states one of the goals was to evaluate the effect of foreign accreditation on the US veterinary profession.
If AVMA interfered with the foreign accreditation taskforce that is a serious problem.
It erodes any credibility that the report may have if AVMA not only interferes with the taskforce, but then changes the report to make it seem like the taskforce itself decided not to discuss the effects of foreign accreditation.
Why did AVMA interefere with the taskforce? They cited the claim of anti-competitive lawsuits if the taskforce looked at effects on the US veterinary profession.
However, as we discussed in the foreign accreditation section the anti-competitive argument cannot be an issue if AVMA is independent of COE.
So AVMA tied the hands of the foreign accreditation taskforce because of it involvement in foreign accreditation then the only way AVMA can truly evaluate the effects of foreign accreditation on US veterinary profession is to relinquish its role in foreign accreditation.
AVMA cannot refuse to address issues by claiming anti-competitive legalities. AVMA exists to protect and promote the profession. It should answer ONLY to its membership.
c. Conclusions of studies need to have actionable plans that include more than just plans to perform more studies. Constantly releasing reports without any concrete plans to act on the results of the studies is not helping the profession. We need to respond to the challenges our profession is facing, not just document them. Failure to act on past reports is a major reason we face so many challenges today.
The 2013 US workforce taskforce reported its findings in 2013. The AVMA workforce Advisory Group (WAG) then issued a report discussing the implications for the study and recommendations for future actions.
The WAG report found 11 implications and made 11 recommendations.The report can be found here.
There were 4 recommendations that stated more data needed to be gathered, 4 recommendations that further research was needed and three recommendations to continue to support programs that AVMA is already supporting.
So there were no actionable recommendations made from the report.
This is a continuation of AVMAs history of studying and analyzing and actually not doing anything.