December 19, 2013
Happy Holidays from the WSVMA Executive Board and Staff!
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or simply the beautiful winter season, the WSVMA wishes you and your loved ones wonderful, joyous holidays.
Please note that the WSVMA office will be closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Tuesday, December 24 through Wednesday, January 1, 2013. The WSVMA will re-open on January 2.
Alert dog owners about increased risk of Salmon Poisoning Disease
Phoenix Central Lab reports seeing more fecal examinations positive for eggs of the fluke Nanophyetus salmincola, which carries the rickettsial agent of salmon poisoning disease, Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Histories on a few of these dogs reveal severe life threatening gastrointestinal illness due to salmon poisoning. It is an important time to remind pet owners not to allow their dogs to contact, eat or lick, raw fish – particularly salmon – but also non-salmonid fish and the Pacific giant salamander. Owners should also contact their veterinarian immediately if their dog may have ingested raw fish, particularly if it is showing signs of gastrointestinal disease. Salmon Poisoning Disease is not seen in cats.
Profit Mastery® Course: A Seven Step Fiscal Physical® to Help Your Practice Survive, Grow, and Prosper
In the few minutes it takes you to read this blog, forty businesses across the nation will fail — and that statistic was before the economic downturn of the last few years.
Tragic? Yes. Remarkable? Not at all. The road to business success is littered with the skeletons of practices whose owners — many brilliant and skilled individuals — failed to “take care of business” in the financial management of their enterprise. Just a minute — am I saying that good ideas, technical skills, knowledge, and the ability to get patients in the door don’t guarantee success? You bet I am. Anyone in a position to provide capital will tell you — the ability to develop and control an organization financially is absolutely vital. Let’s explore how you and your practice manager can become even more financially successful in 2014.
VCPR definition to be codified in WA
At the December 2, 2013 meeting of the Veterinary Board of Governors, the members voted to open a CR-101, which is a notification of intent to inform stakeholders that the Board will initiate rulemaking to consider defining the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) in Washington Administrative Code. Washington is one of a handful of states where the VCPR has no legal definition. The Veterinary Board of Governors established an internal policy some years ago but it’s used only as a guideline when reviewing disciplinary cases. For more information on VCPR rulemaking and other activities by the Veterinary Board of Governors, sign up to receive emails at their Dept. of Health webpage.
Your WSVMA dues as a tax deduction
As the end of 2013 approaches and you’re busy holiday shopping and celebrating, don’t forget to renew your membership with the WSVMA and get that last minute business deduction. It’s your chance to join with other Washington veterinarians in support of the premier organization that works to protect your practice and advance veterinary medicine and animal and human health each and every day.
Please join us by renewing your membership today. General membership is as little as $26 per month, or $13 per month for 2011, 2012 and 2013 graduates. You may renew online by logging in at www.wsvma.org and clicking “renew” from your profile page or find the renewal form to print out here.
The greater number of members we have, the more effective we are in working on your behalf. Your dues will help ensure that veterinarians in Washington continue to enjoy practicing veterinary medicine in a state where the profession is constantly monitored and protected.
December 12, 2013
King County veterinarians asked to voluntarily promote pet licensure
In a letter this week to members, the WSVMA asked veterinarians who practice in King County to voluntarily talk with clients to encourage pet licensure. Less than 20% of dogs and cats in King County are licensed, even though it’s required by law.
The King County Council planned to initiate legislation requiring veterinarians to report private client information whenever administering a rabies vaccine so the County can pursue pet owners who haven’t licensed their pets. As an alternative, the WSVMA proposed having veterinarians work voluntarily to help them succeed in their goal.
King County officials agreed to hold off formally proposing mandatory reporting legislation until March, giving time to see if voluntary efforts can demonstrate results and increase the number of licensed pets by 10,000. After several meetings with County officials, however, we have serious concerns that our efforts will fail to result in an increase in pet licensure within their stated time frame.
In order for this to remain a voluntary effort, the WSVMA is encouraging members to take an active step to inform clients about the benefits of licensing their pet and the services the revenue provides for the community. By participating and talking to clients about pet licensure, perhaps we can lessen the chances of King County veterinarians being forced into releasing private client information.
Read WSVMA’s letter to King County officials outlining our list of concerns.
Be aware of who’s hanging around your waiting room
During a very busy period at a suburban Seattle veterinary hospital last week, a man who appeared to be a sales representative was chatting with a client who was dropping her dog off for boarding while she traveled out of town. The man offered to send the client a free sample of his product and she responded by giving him her home address. Only after she had left the clinic did the woman realize that this man may not have been a legitimate vendor and that she may have inadvertently given her home address to someone who knows she will be out of town. When she called the hospital to voice her concerns, the staff realized that the man had left without talking to them so it cannot be confirmed whether or not he was a legitimate sales representative. In these and other potentially dangerous situations, consider steps you can take to keep your hospital safe for your staff and your clients.
Workplace safety resources are available at the following websites:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Centers for Disease Control
WA Dept. of Labor & Industries
I Had a Black Dog
Recently, an animated YouTube video addressing depression circulated on Facebook. I had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression, created by the World Health Organization is a creative and engaging effort to demystify and destigmatize depression that also includes easy-to-adopt self-care tips, as well as recommendations for gaining support.
The “Black Dog” theme used to illustrate depression seems oddly appropriate for those of us in veterinary medicine, and, if nothing else, the creativity and narrator’s pleasant voice make this worth viewing. Sometimes, the dark of winter, pressure of holiday busy-ness or longing for deceased loved ones can reveal depressive symptoms or aggravate existing depression.
We will all be touched by depression in one way or another…someone we know, someone we work with, a client, ourselves. I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression is a way to learn more. Take a look. Start a conversation. Share the video. Give yourself and those you care for the gift of understanding.
As WSVMA’s holiday gift to you, here are some links to websites that offer proven methods for self-care that anyone’s schedule can accommodate:
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Gratitude-Emmons Lab University of Davis
Yale School of Medicine Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic
L&I rates set to rise in 2014
The WA Department of Labor & Industries announced last week that premiums for workers’ compensation will increase for the first time in three years. The average 2.7 percent rate increase for 2014 premiums is an increase of less than two cents per hour worked. The rate increase, which will bring in about $55 million in additional premiums next year, is an average for all Washington employers. Individual employers could see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and any changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry. For more information, visit the Dept. of Labor & Industries website.
November 26, 2013
Deadlines to comply with Washington’s new hazard communication rules differ from OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently revised the Hazard Communication Standard in order to improve comprehension of hazard information found on product labels. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) will replace the current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), which will more effectively prevent injuries and make it safer for workers to do their jobs.
The federal deadline for compliance to train employees is December 1, 2013. In Washington, however, the WA Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), doesn’t require compliance to begin until June 1, 2014. WISHA supersedes OSHA for all but federal workers.
But that doesn’t mean you should wait to prepare.
Major changes to the hazard communication standard include the following four areas:
- Hazard Classification: For each chemical, the chemical manufacturer or importer must determine the hazard classes, and where appropriate, the category of each class that applies to the chemical being classified. Employers are not required to classify chemicals unless they choose not to rely on the manufacturer’s classification.
- Labels: The information on labels will become more standardized to increase employee comprehension of the potential hazards and precautions. New labels will feature hazard pictograms, a signal word such as “danger,” hazard and precautionary statements and both a product and supplier identifier.
- Safety Data Sheets: The new standard will have a specified 16-section format and replace what is currently known as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
- Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by June 1, 2014 on the new label elements and SDS format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
Written Hazard Communication Plan
Employers must develop, implement, and maintain a written hazard communication program which describes how the criteria for labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee information and training will be met, and which includes the following:
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November 21, 2013
AABP Creates Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) Guidelines
The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) has created guidelines for effective veterinarian-client-patient relationships (VCPR). The two-page guidelines, Establishing and Maintaining the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship in Bovine Practice, are meant to assist veterinarians in developing more comprehensive relationships with their cattle-producing clients.
The six principles underpinning the AABP VCPR guidelines:
• Maintain written agreements for working relationships
• Have a Veterinarian of Record
• Clarify any and all relationships with consultants and other veterinarians
• Provide written protocols
• Ensure written or electronic treatment records are maintained
• Provide drugs or prescriptions for specific time frames and for specific protocols
AABP advises that the VCPR is a mechanism that when in place and adhered to by all parties, assures responsible drug use and that protocols are in place and regularly reviewed on the livestock operation. The guidelines will also help to assure the public that there are excellent, responsible and documented procedures being employed on farming operations, which will help ensure a positive image for both the dairy and beef industries as well as the veterinary profession.
Trifexis® determined not responsible for recent dog deaths
There have been rumors in the media about a possible association between Trifexis® and several dog deaths. AVMA reports that a summary of pathology/necropsy reports from an independent pathologist has determined that the cause of deaths were unrelated to the administration of Trifexis®. The summary was derived from the individual pathology/necropsy reports which led veterinarians to conclude that Trifexis® was not the cause of death.
How Partners for Healthy Pets can help you see more clients
Many of your “active” clients are, in fact, not active. Data from the practice management systems of over 5,000 companion animal practices revealed that over 50% of the pets considered “active” by the practices had not been in for a visit of any kind in over 18 months. It is these pet owners, who already have a relationship with you, that are the target of the Partners for Healthy Pets advertising campaign.
The simple goal of the campaign is to get these pet owners to schedule an annual checkup with you. That’s why your use of the campaign materials available to you through free enrollment of your practice will help you see more clients!
November 15, 2013
AVMA provides talking points on media reports about Trifexis®
AVMA is providing talking points for veterinarians after a media report surfaced about pet owners who believe that their dogs died from the use of Trifexis®, a heartworm and intestinal parasite preventive medication. There have also been comments made on social media that the drug has caused illness and death. Elanco, the manufacturer, is aware of the complaints and to date, there has been no product recall and no deaths definitively linked to the drug.
Veterinarians may receive questions from clients on the issue. AVMA has put together talking points to assist with client conversations and will update information if needed. For more information, visit the AVMA website.
Specialty License Plate supports spay-neuter efforts
Are you or your clients interested in doing more to help reduce pet overpopulation in Washington? Consider sporting a “We Love our Pets” specialty license plate. The proceeds from the sale of the plates fund spay-neuter surgery grants through the WA State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies (WSFACCA).
The WSFACCA is a coalition of animal care organizations whose mission is the “humane treatment of animals in Washington State through legislation, training, programs and support services.” Through their collective efforts, they work to decrease the number of unwanted, lost and neglected animals.
The “We Love our Pets” license plates went on sale in 2006, after a bill passed the WA State Legislature authorizing the program. Through the purchase of the plates, more than $300,000 has been awarded to local animal care and control agencies with more than 12,000 spay-neuter surgeries completed through the program.
The license plates can be purchased through the WA Department of Licensing for $67.75 in addition to regular car registration and tab fees. Renewals are $30 annually plus typical fees. $28 goes to support the WSFACCA spay-neuter grant program. For more information, visit the WA Dept of Licensing or WSFACCA websites.
Be a part of the greatest profession
We want to thank you again for your membership this past year. Together we're making the greatest profession on earth even better. Our new Online Membership Renewal is now open for 2013-14. All you need to do is login to your profile and click the Renew button. For assistance with logging in or questions about your membership, call Sherri Dean at the WSVMA office, (800) 399-7862, or email Sherri at email@example.com.
October 31, 2013
Voluntary program with Regional Animal Services of King County moving forward
Plans to require veterinarians in King County to report private client information for the purposes of increasing revenue from pet licensure have been laid aside for now. WSVMA and PSVMA continue to meet with Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) and other county officials to find alternative solutions to making veterinarians enforcers for licensing pets among pet owners who are already most likely following the law.
At recent meetings, WSVMA and PSVMA made clear that if veterinarians are to help RASKC in their effort to raise pet licensure rates above 20%, the County would have to provide improved messaging and marketing materials other than the punitive-sounding messages they currently utilize. Having the tools to communicate to pet owners how RASKC protects the community, helps return lost animals, provides adoption services and mitigates animal cruelty is essential if a veterinarian is expected to “sell” the importance of licensure. RASKC is working on new materials that will be sent to practices soon.
The County has indicated, however, that they expect the number of licensed pets to increase by 10,000 with this voluntary effort, which is a difficult number to attain given the number of veterinarians in RASKC’s jurisdictions and the $30 annual cost of the license, one of the highest in the country. The WSVMA and PSVMA will continue to meet with county officials in order to keep this a voluntary effort.
Proposed FDA rules aim to improve safety of pet food
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is suggesting new pet food production guidelines to improve the safety of domestic and foreign-produced products. The FDA is currently investigating chicken jerky pet food products produced in China linked to illnesses in thousands of dogs and some cats, including some 600 deaths.
The proposed rules would call for pet food manufacturers to provide written plans for identifying, preventing and addressing any potential hazards and would give the government power to directly intervene during production. (Source—AVMA Animal Health SmartBrief, October 28, 2013)
Bats harbor new flu strain
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a new influenza A strain in Peruvian bats. The H18N11 strain demonstrates characteristics of strains that do not infect humans. Experts cannot definitively say that this strain is not a threat to humans. Bats harbor many zoonotic pathogens and may be a host in which viruses genetically change. The CDC reports states that at some genetic loci, New World bats harbor more influenza virus genetic diversity than all other mammalian and avian species combined. (Source—AVMA Animal Health SmartBrief, October 25, 2013)
October 24, 2013
FDA seeks veterinarians’ help in investigation of jerky pet treat illnesses
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent email letters to veterinarians asking for help in finding the cause of reported pet illnesses associated with jerky pet treat products, most of which come from China. As of September 24, 2013, the FDA reports that it has received approximately 3000 reports of illness, involving more than 3,600 dogs, 10 cats, and including over 580 deaths.
The FDA is asking for veterinarians’ assistance in their ongoing investigation in three ways:
• Providing samples and information on potential jerky pet treat-related illnesses to the FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network.
• Making available to clients the Fact Sheet on jerky pet treat products.
• Reporting pet illnesses from suspected jerky treats adverse events through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal.
More information is available on the FDA CVM’s website. Included are fact sheets for pet owners, progress reports, and consumer updates. To read more about the pet jerky treat illnesses, visit DVM360.
Volunteers needed for task force to address efforts to ban declawing
The Paw Project Movie is the effort of a veterinarian working to ban the declawing of domestic cats. The movie is playing around the country, and focuses heavily, although not exclusively, on big cats and portrays declawing as cruel and something that should be made illegal. The proceeds are used to fund legislative efforts to ban the procedure.
Attempts to ban declawing in the state of California have been unsuccessful although it passed in several local jurisdictions. Efforts to ban declawing is underway in other states, with focus in the western half of the U.S.
The WSVMA is establishing a task force to discuss the issue and the potential outcomes of a possible ballot initiative in WA. Volunteers are needed to fill two open task force positions. The task force is open to companion animal practitioners and members who have a feline-only practice are encouraged to participate. Those interested should contact the WSVMA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hazardous drug sample program guides available
The WA Dept. of Labor and Industries has developed a sample program to provide veterinary employers with an easy-to-use format for developing a comprehensive Hazardous Drug Control Program (HDCP). Veterinary practices can customize the guides for their specific use, work tasks, and workplace. These guides are not regulations and do not create any new legal obligations. They contain advisory and informational content intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Program guides are available at the L& I Website.
Although the rules don’t take effect until 2015, it’s important all veterinary facilities move forward with their hazard assessments and not wait until just prior to the enforcement date.
Legal Hot Buttons for 2013 in Veterinary Medicine: An Interview with Ed Guiducci, JD
Practice Share, LLC provides business education and networking opportunities for women in veterinary medicine around the Northwest. We are hosting Ed Guiducci for a Legal Workshop in Seattle on Saturday November 9th. In preparation for this event, we wanted to ask Ed about some of the biggest issues he’s helping his clients with right now.
Q – What area of veterinary law have you done the most work on in 2012 vs. 2013?
A – We were quite busy closing up 2012 for practice sales, due to changes in the tax code. There was a huge push to close practice sales by Dec. 31, 2012. These were mostly...
Save the Date
March 9, 2014 - WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day
October 11, 2013
Thank you WSVMA Annual Conference Exhibitors and Sponsors
The WSVMA Annual Conference, which concluded on Sunday, October 6 in Yakima, was a great success with over 500 veterinary professionals in attendance. Thank you to all exhibitors and sponsors, attendees and guests who helped us achieve an outstanding weekend filled with cutting edge science, practice management and veterinary topics. Plan to attend next year’s conference September 26-28, 2014 for the best in CE for WA veterinarians.
Franklin County horse euthanized after acquiring West Nile virus
The Washington State Department of Agriculture confirmed that a 10 year-old mare from north Pasco was euthanized due to complications from West Nile Virus. The horse was unvaccinated. The only other confirmed case of West Nile virus in a Washington horse this year was reported in late September for a horse pastured in Outlook, Yakima County. Washington had 72 West Nile virus cases in horses in 2009, but none in 2010 or 2011. Last year, a horse pastured near Grandview was euthanized after it became ill with the disease.
AVMA introduces compounding video
AVMA introduced last week a new compounding video, “Compounding 101,” to help veterinarians further understand FDA’s rules and AVMA’s policies on compounding. Compounding allows a veterinarian to tailor a therapy for a specific patient’s need, but many veterinarians may be compounding outside the law and they don’t even know it. Watch the video to better know and understand the rules of compounding in order to make sound judgments based on current federal laws.
Media coverage for Partners for Healthy Pets has begun – Sign up today
As a profession, we have a great opportunity to help pets and pet owners enjoy a longer and healthier life together. Partners for Healthy Pets was founded to help you make the preventive healthcare you provide even more powerful. We’ve developed tools and resources – available at no charge - that can help you build better relationships with owners and help them understand the value of preventive healthcare so that more patients can benefit from what you do best. Media coverage to pet owners has begun. Sign up your practice and take advantage of the available tools to help you talk with clients about the benefits of regular check-ups.
Save the Date
October 13-19, 2013 - National Veterinary Technician Week
October 17, 2013 - The Great WA Shakeout Earthquake Preparedness Day
March 9, 2014 - WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day
September 24, 2013
Healthcare Reform Alert – Notice to Employers
The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) included a number of required notices that employers must provide employees throughout the year or face the possibility of fines for not complying. One of these notices is the Exchange Marketplace Notice that must be provided to all employees by October 1, 2013, and upon hiring for all new employees going forward. For complete information, download the alert from AAOA, WSVMA’s group insurance partner.
Volunteers needed to meet with King County Council Members
Members are needed to meet with their King County council member over the next several weeks to discuss opposition to mandatory reporting of rabies vaccinations for the purposes of increasing pet licensure. There are nine districts in King County, determined by home address. Volunteers should be able to articulate reasons why it's a bad idea as well as show a willingness to work together. Those who are interested should contact Dr. Christine Wilford at email@example.com or call 206-333-3333. Talking points can be accessed on the WSVMA website. Visit the King County Council’s website to determine your district and council member.
Partners for Healthy Pets Consumer Awareness Campaign has launched
The Partners for Healthy Pets consumer awareness campaign has officially launched. Millions of pet owners will soon be familiar with Henley and Oz and their compelling message, “A yearly visit to your family vet is as essential as food and love. Make an appointment for an annual check-up today.”
The veterinary profession’s support for this campaign is unprecedented, and I personally invite you and your practice to be a part of the effort to ensure that more pets visit a veterinarian at least once per year.
By registering for the Practice Enrollment Program, you will receive a monthly newsletter containing colorful and compelling campaign materials that you can use on your websites, in your newsletter and blogs, and in your practice. In addition, you will expand the reach of the campaign and ensure that your clients will be reminded that regular preventive healthcare is as essential as food and love and will take action by calling for an appointment. Enrolling is free, and the newsletter and materials are fully funded by Partners for Healthy Pets.
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The Affordable Care Act webinar 3 – September 27
The WSVMA alongside DC Benefits, Inc. presents the third and final webinar to help you navigate the changing environment of health care.
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 12pm – What does my business need to do to get prepared?
To register, click on the title above for each webinar that you wish to attend. Separate registration is required for each webinar.
Save the Date
WSVMA Annual Conference, October 4-6, 2013
World Rabies Day, Saturday, September 28, 2013
September 19, 2013
First PMP report due by October 10, 2013
RCW 70.225, created the Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program. Pharmacies and practitioners that dispense controlled substances are required to submit data to the program. WSVMA’s Substitute Senate Bill 6105 was signed into law in March 29, 2012 and modified data reporting requirements for veterinarians. New rules outlining these required changes became effective on June 28, 2013.
The rules primarily change four things:
1. The reporting frequency is now quarterly not weekly;
2. Only prescriptions dispensed for more than a 14 day supply must be reported;
3. Veterinarians can now submit data on a paper form via fax or mail; and
4. The data fields that must be reported were changed.
The first reporting period for veterinarians under the new rule must cover drugs dispensed between July 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013. The report for this period is due no later than Oct. 10, 2013 based on the new quarterly schedule outlined in the rule.
Go to the Veterinarian Data Uploader page to get started. For additional information, access FAQ for Veterinarians.
For assistance with creating accounts or submitting data, contact the PMP Help Desk at (877) 719-3121 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For policy related questions, contact the WA Department of Health’s PMP at (360) 236-4806 or email@example.com.
The Affordable Care Act webinars 2 & 3 – what does it mean to your business, your employees and your family?
The WSVMA alongside DC Benefits, Inc. is pleased to offer a series of free webinars to help you navigate the changing environment of health care. As the Affordable Care Act begins to take shape in 2014, there are significant changes being ushered in that everyone must be aware of.
The webinar series will provide you with the most up to date information and resources on specific topics as well as allow you to ask any questions you may have. The two remaining webinars will last 30 minutes and are offered on the following dates:
Friday 20, 2013 at 12pm – Health Care Exchanges…. a new model for buying health insurance
Friday 27, 2013 at 12pm – What does my business need to do to get prepared?
To register for each webinar, click on the title above for each webinar that you wish to attend. Separate registration is required for each webinar.
Don’t miss out on hearing information about what changes the Affordable Care Act means for you. Sign up today.
For additional information, visit the WSVMA website.
Want to make a difference in your community?
The Washington State Animal Health Foundation is the charitable arm of the WSVMA and makes small grants to fund community outreach and disaster mitigation projects. The Board of Trustees is a group of dedicated veterinarians who serve for a five year term and direct all the activities of the Foundation. At the Annual Meeting of the WSAHF on October 3, 2013 in Yakima, an election will be held to select a new Trustee for the Washington State Animal Health Foundation.
Duties of the Trustees include attending all meetings of the Foundation, reviewing grant applications, and identifying and assisting with fundraising goals and opportunities to ensure financial success. Participation is by conference call two – five times per year. Those interested should contact the WSVMA office by September 27, 2013. For more information on grant guidelines, visit the WSAHF website.
Save the Date
WSVMA Annual Conference: Register by September 23, 2013 and save $50. NEW – WSVMA Annual Conference App for iPhones! Download now from the iTunes App Store.
September 5, 2013
Free training offered on new hazard communication (GHS) rule
Are you aware of the new Hazard Communication (GHS) rule? All employers who have chemicals in their workplace must train employees on the new labeling elements and safety data sheets (SDS), formerly called MSDS, prior to June 1, 2014.
To help employers prepare for these changes, two of L&I’s Safety and Health Investment Project (SHIP) Grant recipients developed courses aimed at giving employers the tools needed to train their employees on these new requirements.
Vigilant Counsel is offering FREE training all over the state of Washington, beginning September 18 in Bellingham. Learn more and sign up at Vigilant Hazard Communication Training.
The Northwest Independent Contractors Association will offer FREE training around the state, beginning September 6 in Edmonds. Learn more and sign up at NICA Training Calendar.
For more information on the new hazard communication rule, please visit the WA Department of Labor & Industries’ website.
Partner for Health Pets’ Consumer Campaign Launching to the Profession
The Partners for Healthy Pets’ greatly anticipated consumer campaign will launch in September. The tightly focused campaign will promote a straight forward call to action: call your veterinarian and make an appointment for a yearly checkup today!
Research by the Partners for Healthy Pets and others indicates that women ages 32-49, generally urban or suburban, with an annual household income over $75,000 are the pet owners most likely to respond to the message. These women view the pet not just as an extension of her family, but part of the family core, and she feels responsibility for the health and happiness of the entire family. The target further focuses on the 60% of pet owners that already have a relationship with a veterinarian, but who have not visited within the past 18 months.
The Campaign’s Primary Message
The profession, consultants, industry marketing experts, and the veterinary media have all responded very positively to the creative advertisements revealed at the Convention. The ads feature a very lovable pet (there are both dog and cat versions) wearing a tag reading “Special Care Instructions: Feed daily, Yearly checkups, Love forever.” Below the photo of the pet is the simple line: “A yearly visit to your family vet is as essential as food and love. Make an appointment for an annual checkup today.”
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DEA clarifies phenylpropanolamine tracking
Earlier this year, there were rumors in a few states that veterinarians were required to track or log their phenylpropanolamine (PPA) sales, just like pharmacists do for pseudoephedrine sales (per the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act). In response, the AVMA contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn that the rules that dictate a pharmacist’s tracking of pseudoephedrine sales do not apply to veterinary sales of PPA. This is because PPA is a prescription drug, and the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act only applies to certain nonprescription drug products.
Save the Date
WSVMA Annual Conference, October 4 – 6, 2013
August 28, 2013
King County’s Rabies Vaccine Mandatory Reporting Proposal
At the Aug 15 Puget Sound VMA Veterinary Forum, Gene Mueller, DVM, Director of Regional Animal Services of King County, presented a proposal to increase licensing revenue to support the shelter and field services. Licensing isn’t a new issue, but compliance is so low that it remains a relatively untapped source of revenue for the county. Efforts to increase compliance through canvassing home-to-home and providing satellite purchase points have not increased licensing to the target level.
Dr. Mueller is considering proposing a county regulation that would require all veterinarians in King County to report owner name and contact information for every pet that is rabies vaccinated. King County personnel would then review the information and determine 1) whether the owner is in King County’s jurisdiction for licensing since 14 cities issue their own licenses and 2) whether that pet is currently licensed. If the pet is not currently licensed, the county will send a letter requesting the owner obtain a license. If that is not completed within a specified time period, they will send a second letter. If licensing is still not obtained, a citation and fine will be issued to that owner for every pet that remains unlicensed. The fine for an unlicensed altered pet is $125; for an intact pet, $250. A license for an altered pet is $30 and reduced to $15 for owners over 65. How reporting would be accomplished is not clear as of yet, but there would be many options including mailing in paper copies of each rabies certificate, faxing certificates, compiling a report to email or fax and using clinic software such as Cornerstone, to gather and share the data. Preliminary information suggests that Dr. Mueller has already cleared the client confidentiality issue with the county legal department, thus it would seem the idea is moving forward for now.
The proposal was not well received by veterinarians who attended this Forum and raised many concerns. Veterinarians are not comfortable being in a position of reporting their clients for non-compliance; they feel put in a position of policing clients and are very uncomfortable sharing client’s private information with a government entity.
Veterinarians are concerned that this proposal would result in fewer rabies vaccines given, since some owners would decline rabies to avoid licensing. When concern was raised about the recent state law for rabies vaccination conflicting with a proposal that might reduce rabies vaccination rates, Dr. Mueller said as an epidemiologist he wasn’t concerned with a lower rabies vaccination rate in our region, because the incidence of rabies is so low here. For example, he didn’t feel a 10% drop in vaccination would have an adverse effect.
Veterinarians are also concerned that clients might not bring pets in at all, if they’re declining rabies vaccines to avoid licensing. Fewer rabies vaccine visits could result in fewer exams leading to fewer opportunities to identify subclinical disease (dental disease, cardiac changes, body condition changes, etc.) and thus, a lower level of healthcare for our patients.
Fewer visits and vaccines would also result in lower revenue; the impact would be higher for smaller clinics that provide proportionally more wellness care than, for instance, corporate hospitals that provide more intensive care.
Concern was raised for clients who have more pets than the limit allows, that reporting their rabies vaccinations would in essence be documenting that client as having more than the legal limit of pets. Dr. Mueller assured us that he does not have the manpower to peruse the database and look for owners who have too many pets. If a complaint is filed against the client, then the issue of number of pets could come into play, but King County says it is not proactively searching for owners over the legal pet limit.
To avoid being reported, clients might leave their current veterinarian for one within a city that does not report to King County, such as Seattle. In essence, the regulation could divert clients from hospitals that are required to report rabies vaccinations.
Concerns were voiced that our profession is based on trust and a cultivated relationship with our clients; reporting their personal information for license enforcement could be perceived as violating that trust which would have obvious negative repercussions.
When concern was raised about the potential for some practices not to comply, thus attracting clients because they don’t report their rabies vaccinations, Dr. Mueller replied that they would have a list of practices in the area, could compare that list with which practices send in rabies vaccine information and be able to identify non-compliant hospitals. The consequences for hospitals identified for non-compliance was not spelled out.
Dr. Mueller is currently scheduled to address the PSVMA Board of Directors (BOD) at Animal Wellness Center at 2115 112th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 on Sept 11 from 7:30 – 9 pm. All veterinarians are welcome to attend, comment and ask questions. Please let Dr. Wilford know if you plan to attend the BOD meeting.
Christine Wilford, DVM
August 26, 2013
Veterinarians are not eligible for NPI numbers
The WSVMA has received numerous calls from veterinarians frustrated about being forced to provide a National Provider Identifier (NPI) when calling in prescriptions to various pharmacies. The problem stems from pharmacy software that has not been changed to bypass the requirement for veterinarians.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently told the AVMA that veterinarians are definitively not eligible to procure National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers. DHHS advises prescribers to deactivate their NPI number if they erroneously obtained one previously.
The AVMA further advises veterinarians that the use of the DEA registration number for identification purposes is not appropriate. Additional guidance and clarification is anticipated from DHHS staff on whether other federal prescriber identifier numbers are applicable for veterinarians to procure and use when calling a prescription in to a pharmacy.
The WSVMA has spoken to the WA Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, formerly WA Board of Pharmacy, about the issue. They have agreed to notify their license holders about the inappropriateness of requiring the NPI and will request that pharmacies update their software accordingly. Any member who continues to be asked to provide an NPI should call the WSVMA.
WSU asks veterinarians what they expect of grads
PULLMAN, Wash. - To help make their education as relevant to the profession as possible, Washington State University veterinary students will survey veterinarians nationwide to assess their expectations of new graduates’ abilities. Students are hoping many practitioners respond.
"This is their opportunity to potentially help change the level of performance they can expect from a new hire in their practice,” said senior veterinary student Hillary Carroll. "We need that input.”
This is the first study of its type conducted in the U.S., Carroll said, but there have been similar studies done in the U.K and Australia. The immediate goal is to encourage as many private practice DVMs as possible to respond to the survey to ensure statistical validity.
"We’d really like to conclusively determine just what is expected of us on the first day we begin practice by the people who hire us,” she said.
Veterinarians will be contacted by mail with a link to the survey.
The study’s goals are to use the information to enhance surgical skills curricula at veterinary schools, produce a respected, peer-reviewed study to be published in the veterinary literature and ensure that the quality of training in veterinary medicine will meet or exceed the expectations of private practitioners.
"Until we do know, we are kind of going into the profession somewhat blind,” Carroll said. "We are expected to perform, but at what level?”
For almost two years, the WSU students have conducted nationwide, faculty-mentored, scientific surveys of more than 1,000 veterinary students and 250 veterinary faculty members about the skills needed for graduates to be successful in their first jobs. Their new target is 2,000 private practitioners, including 500 new veterinary graduates.
Funded by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and WSU Educational Challenge Grant, the survey will help determine expectations of new graduates so veterinary schools can produce grads who meet those expectations.
Unlike physicians, graduate veterinarians can legally perform any medical procedure with any species on Day 1 after passing the national board examination and securing licensure. This means that colleges of veterinary medicine are responsible for ensuring that graduating veterinarians have all of the skills needed to be successful in their first job.
Most new veterinarians will proceed cautiously and will have some degree of mentoring from their employers. Over time they will fall into a routine and determine a niche where they are most capable and most comfortable.
Nonetheless, employers inevitably have certain expectations of competence from a new hire.
The other class of 2014 students in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine who are conducting the surveys are Tomasina Lucia, Chelsea Farnsworth, Eryn Zeugschmidt and Mike Hinckley.
Survey addresses mobile technologies in veterinary practice
A third year veterinary student at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, PE, Canada is conducting a survey for her summer research project on the integration of smartphone technology into veterinary practice and she’s asking veterinarians to take part. She is working on this project with Timeless Veterinary Systems under their senior veterinarian, Dr. Heather Gunn McQuillan. Veterinarians are asked to complete this short online survey to help increase understanding of the role of mobile technologies in veterinary practice. The survey takes no more than 10 minutes to complete. Every person completing a survey who chooses to enter their e-mail will be entered into a draw for a free chance to win a one-year subscription to the Timeless Vet Drug Index by Dr. Etienne Cote, Dr. Stephen Ettinger, and Dr. Wayne Schwark (valued at $69.99). To take the survey, please click here.
For more information, contact student Amanda Grant or