AVMA Legislative Report
Debra Nickelson D.V.M., MBA
AAIV Alternate Delegate
Since AVMA is involved in several legislative activities, here is a separate report.
AVMA secures funding for programs essential to the veterinary profession
Recently, Congress passed a government spending bill that includes many wins for veterinary medicine. During this process, the AVMA has been engaged with lawmakers and working with coalitions to advocate for funding programs critical to the profession. These programs include:
· Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) will receive an increase of $1 million in funding from the last fiscal year for a total of $9.5 million. VMLRP plays a critical role in closing food animal and public health veterinary medicine access gaps by offering three years of educational repayment in exchange for service in USDA-designated veterinarian shortage areas.
· Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database Program (FARAD) will receive $2.5 million to protect the U.S. food supply against accidental or intentional contamination of animal-derived foods so that it is safe for human consumption.
· Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) has been allocated an additional $500,000 in funding for a total of $3.5 million. VSGP is a federal program that provides grants to develop, implement and sustain veterinary services and relieve veterinarian shortage situations across the United States.
· USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service (APHIS) will use $1 million to strengthen the oversight of imported dogs.
· USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been given $2.8 million to address the high levels of public health veterinarian vacancies.
One Health legislation passes Senate Committee
On March 15, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions passed the PREVENT Pandemics Act which included provisions that would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a One Health framework. The legislation would have the CDC coordinate with the Agriculture and Interior Secretaries on One Health and issue a report to Congress on their progress.
USDA opens FY 2022 application cycle for Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the opening of the fiscal year 2022 application cycle for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).
Under the VMLRP, food animal and public health veterinarians receive up to $25,000 a year for student loan repayment in exchange for at least three years of service in one of the USDA-designated rural veterinary shortage areas. There are 227 veterinarian shortage situations in 46 states for FY 2022.