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Mark Cushing, JD

Column: Politics and Policy

Mark Cushing is a political strategist, lobbyist and the founding partner of the Animal Policy Group. He serves on the Today’s Veterinary Business editorial advisory board.

Mark Cushing is a political strategist, lobbyist and the founding partner of the Animal Policy Group. He serves on the Today’s Veterinary Business editorial advisory board.

crossroads

Telemedicine nears a crossroads

Politics and Policy

Much has been accomplished to this point. Now it’s time for lawmakers and state and national organizations to step up.

It’s time for a checkup. Not for my pets, but for a certain item called veterinary telemedicine. Every reader of Today’s Veterinary Business knows that you cannot attend a local, state or national veterinary meeting without seeing telemedicine on the agenda. It’s been that way for the past 2½ years. The NAVC’s January conference, VMX, […]

courtroom and exam room

Courtrooms and exam rooms

Politics and Policy

As legislators in three states ponder awarding non-economic damages to pet owners, the veterinary profession needs to get to the bottom of what is troubling nurses.

When we talk about threats to veterinarians and access to veterinary care, nothing is more dangerous than legislation that authorizes the recovery of non-economic damages. This troublesome idea has been around for decades, but state courts have done the heavy lifting to maintain the status quo in California, Texas, Georgia, Oregon and Vermont, to name […]

help wanted

Let’s get to work

Politics and Policy

What does the pet health care industry want to do about acute shortages of veterinarians and nurses?

The last public debate about the number of veterinarians in America took place more than four years ago in Denver at the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting. I won’t forget it for two reasons. I debated three people: Drs. Paul Pion, Jim Wilson and Dennis McCurnin. A one-on-three debate is always interesting. But what […]

Duty bound

Politics and Policy

National and state officials see veterinarians as part of the solution to the opioid crisis. The industry’s role in prescribing and dispensing controlled substances is likely to come under greater scrutiny.

Requirements for veterinarians who handle opioids and other controlled substances have generated a flurry of activity in legislatures and a bevy of articles in trade media. While state VMAs regularly update practitioners about what’s expected and about state pharmacy board deadlines, I can help by laying out where things stand, or are heading, and look […]

The winds of change

Politics and Policy

As 2019 approaches, several critical matters — from the Fairness to Pet Owners Act to opioid abuse to telemedicine — remain unresolved.

It’s October, schools are back in session and politics are in full campaign mode with the off-year elections. Here are notes and updates on most of the items we’ve been following all year. 1. Fairness to Pet Owners Act This bill has hung around Congress since September 2010 and still hasn’t gained a hearing in […]

AAVSB supports veterinary telemedicine reform

Individual state boards are free to adopt the national policy.

The Association of American Veterinary State Boards, completing a multiyear review at its annual meeting, has approved a comprehensive policy opening the door to the use of telemedicine for animal care in the United States. Veterinarians may rely on their judgment and training in determining the means required to have sufficient understanding of an animal’s […]

The state of the VCPR

Politics and Policy

The advent of telemedicine has brought a new focus to the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and its diverse definitions and interpretations.

Two terms rarely, if ever, were mentioned together in veterinary meetings or publications prior to January 2016: telemedicine and the VCPR. What changed in 2016 was the North American Veterinary Community’s launch of the Veterinary Innovation Council and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s national working group on telemedicine. Since then, the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) has […]

Of nurses and unions

Politics and Policy

Two emerging campaigns – the Veterinary Nurse Initiative and hospital unionization – could radically change the industry.

2018 marks the year when two vastly different efforts are emerging to address the status, professionalization and health care outcomes involving veterinary staff in animal hospitals throughout the United States. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, the national organization for credentialed veterinary technicians, launched the Veterinary Nurse Initiative in Ohio and Tennessee and […]

Kentucky approves veterinary services tax

Companion animal veterinary services will be subject to a 6 percent levy starting July 1.

The Kentucky Legislature literally pulled a fast one last week. Locked in a battle between the Republican-controlled House and Senate and Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, the Legislature sent him a 378-page budget and tax bill — partly aimed at ending teacher strikes — that included a 6 percent tax on the gross receipts of companion […]

PetsPAC packs a political punch

Politics and Policy

The new political action committee will lobby on behalf of veterinary professionals, industry and pet owners.

The Veterinary Innovation Council kicked off VMX 2018 with the launch of an exciting new platform serving veterinary professionals, industry and pet owners alike — one that gives them a say in legislative efforts and policymaking around the country. The mere mention of “politics” sends many scurrying for cover. But the fact is political decisions […]

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