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Mark Cushing, JD

Column:Politics and Policy

Mark Cushing is a political strategist, lawyer and founding partner of the Animal Policy Group. Since 2004, he has specialized in animal health, animal welfare, and veterinary educational issues and accreditation. He is the author of “Pet Nation: The Inside Story of How Companion Animals Are Transforming Our Homes, Culture and Economy.”

Mark Cushing is a political strategist, lawyer and founding partner of the Animal Policy Group. Since 2004, he has specialized in animal health, animal welfare, and veterinary educational issues and accreditation. He is the author of “Pet Nation: The Inside Story of How Companion Animals Are Transforming Our Homes, Culture and Economy.”

VCPR

Breaking With Tradition

Politics and Policy

The veterinary establishment needs to trust the judgment of practitioners and appreciate what a virtual VCPR can do for pet care.

As the adoption of telemedicine rises, discussions persist on the details surrounding virtual care. A point that pet health stakeholders haven’t agreed on is whether the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) should be established virtually. This past April, May and June helped to sort out the differences in how organizations view the telemedicine VCPR, or more precisely, […]

cybersecurity

How Healthy Is Your Cybersecurity?

Innovation Station

Veterinary telemedicine providers aren’t doing enough to protect themselves and their clients from hackers.

Are you considering implementing or expanding veterinary telemedicine? Are you concerned about the security of the information transmitted back and forth? You should be. Cybercrime is on the rise in incidence, severity and sophistication. Stories about ransomware continuously dominate headlines. Health care is increasingly at risk of cyberattacks that can cause significant losses, both operationally […]

growth

4 Threats to Sustained Growth

Politics and Policy

The veterinary profession isn’t doing enough to support the booming pet market. Change must come from the top and from practice owners.

The economic surge in pet health care and services has exceeded 14 months. There’s no end in sight. The fundamentals appear to be in place: rising pet ownership, growing demand for pet services, the millennial and Gen Z appetites for human-quality pet health care, the acceptance of online delivery models, access to capital, etc. The […]

legislation

The Price of Success

Politics and Policy

From A to V, here’s what you can expect from legislators and regulators on policy issues involving pet health care.

My company, Animal Policy Group, employs a team of four researchers who track legislation and state board or agency actions in 50 states and the District of Columbia 365 days a year. Believe it or not, last year we monitored over 15,000 pieces of legislation affecting veterinarians or pets. Most of those bills fell to […]

shortages

Shortages and Excesses

Politics and Policy

We have too few veterinary professionals (and dogs) and too much student debt. There is a way out.

COVID carried on a curious relationship with the veterinary industry throughout 2020 and early 2021. Much has been written about the industry’s financial strength and gains during this period, hopefully putting to rest chronic fears that pet health care is a fragile sector and susceptible to sudden downturns. The toll on human lives is a […]

telemedicine

What’s Next for Telemedicine?

Politics and Policy

The evidence shows there’s no reason for anyone to fret about veterinary virtual care. It’s safe, effective, in demand and here to stay.

When we look back on 2020, the year of COVID, three other things will jump out: With some exceptions, 2020 was a year of extraordinary growth for veterinary practices and the animal health industry. Who would have predicted that in early March, when an anxious America wondered about economic survival as the pandemic took hold? […]

success

A golden opportunity

Politics and Policy

The human-animal bond has brought monumental change to the veterinary industry. You can run with the pack and enjoy the riches, or you can be a slow-to-react naysayer.

Can veterinarians handle success? That’s a silly question, right? Of course, veterinarians can handle success, just like anyone else. But are you sure? Does handling success only mean applauding and cashing the checks while success unfolds around you? Or does it involve understanding the fundamentals of why success is occurring and then evaluating and implementing […]

Pet Nation

Why I wrote ‘Pet Nation’

Politics and Policy

America’s love affair with companion animals is now engrained in society. The millennial and Z generations have made sure of that.

In May 2018 I got a phone call from a nonfiction literary agent. My Manhattan brother knew Kitty Cowles and said she might call me. I was surprised, but I knew her credentials, so I also was intrigued. Her message was simple: Major New York publishers wanted a book written that told the story of […]

virtual care

Viva VVCA!

Politics and Policy

The newly established Veterinary Virtual Care Association will develop best practices, define standards and protocols, and do so much more.

In late April, the veterinary world awakened to a new organization: the Veterinary Virtual Care Association. VVCA hopes to do for veterinary medicine what the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has done for human health care since its founding in 1993. Today, telemedicine, telehealth and virtual care are staples of our personal health care, and to […]

medical boards

Step on up — now

Politics and Policy

The profession and industry need to support our underfunded state veterinary medical boards before they are pushed aside by politicians.

This article might surprise readers, but it needs to be written and we don’t have much time to act. A quiet crisis that’s not obvious to practitioners and industry is building within the world of state regulation of veterinary medicine. I observe it only because my Animal Policy Group works with state veterinary medical boards […]

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