New legislation designed to help states address their veterinary workforce needs was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 31. It was then referred to the Agriculture Committee.
Specifically, the Veterinary Services Investment Act (H.R. 3519), sponsored by Adrian Smith (R-NE), would establish a new grant program under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture to assist states in addressing their own unique veterinary workforce needs. The American Veterinary Medical Association, supporter of the bill, points out that what is needed in one state may differ greatly from what is most needed in another.
Awards under the new grant program may be used to support various activities, including to recruit and retain practicing veterinarians and veterinary technicians to work in underserved areas, to bolster knowledge in food safety/protection and food animal medicine, to establish mobile and portable veterinary clinics and to establish or expand veterinary residency, internship and externship programs, among other activities.
Those that are eligible to apply for a grant under the new program are for-profit and nonprofit veterinary clinics located in rural areas, state veterinary medical associations, national, allied or regional veterinary organizations and specialty boards recognized by the AVMA; colleges of veterinary medicine, university research and veterinary medical foundations, departments of veterinary science or comparative medicine, state agricultural experiment stations and state, local or tribal government agencies.
A companion bill will be introduced in September in the U.S. Senate. It will be sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD).
At press time, the Library of Congress had not received the text of the bill from the Government Printing Office and, therefore, had not posted the text on its website. When it is available, it can be found here.
Click here for additional information from the AVMA .