The National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues will move to a nine-member board of directors from its previous 12, said Karen Felsted, DVM, the group’s CEO.
The decision was made after the American Animal Hospital Association discontinued its membership and financial sponsorship of NCVEI in late 2010.
NCVEI was formed in 2000 by AAHA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges “to ensure the economic future of veterinary medicine.” The board had four members from each of the three founding organizations.
Instead of filling four seats, the NCVEI decided to downsize the board, Dr. Felsted said.
“Trends show that larger boards are being reduced to fewer members,” she said.
The plan is to have three members each from the AVMA and AAVMC as well as three outside members representing the veterinary community.
“The change will bring in expertise that isn’t already on our board as well as help represent the veterinary industry on a broader level,” she said.
Asked whether the NCVEI was surprised by AAHA’s decision to withdraw support, Felsted said yes.
“The four AAHA board members had been very supportive of NCVEI’s future plans, so we were confused when AAHA’s board of directors decided to pull out,” she said. “The NCVEI board still feels that economics is a strong issue in veterinary medicine. Economics are different now than 10 years ago, but it is still important.”
AAHA acknowledges the importance of the topic and maintains that AAHA is dedicated to the economic well-
being of its members and the veterinary profession.
“The AAHA board of directors conducts ongoing reviews and discussions of its involvement in all of its activities,” the organization reported. “Recently, the board examined and reviewed its sponsorship of NCVEI in conjunction with a request from NCVEI for additional financial support. After careful consideration (including input from representatives of NCVEI), the AAHA board of directors decided not to continue its financial sponsorship of NCVEI.
“The board realizes that the veterinary profession continues to face difficult economic issues, and AAHA remains committed to working collaboratively with NCVEI and others on projects to identify solutions to such issues.”
The majority of the NCVEI’s funding comes from animal health organizations such as the NCVEI’s Sponsor Council. Council members include Merial, Veterinary Pet Insurance, Bayer Animal Health and the Simmons Educational Fund.
Abbott Animal Health and Webster Veterinary recently joined the council.
As for other initiatives, the NCVEI in early December was wrapping up a research project on why veterinary business is declining. The multistage study seeks to understand the decline in companion animal visits and determine how veterinarians can increase them.
The project is in collaboration with Bayer Animal Health and Brakke Consulting.
The findings are scheduled to be released this month during the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla.