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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.

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 […]

The looming dog shortage

Politics and Policy

The United States will need millions of additional dogs a year to keep pace with the growing number of households.

It is an extraordinary day when The Washington Post places a story about pets, in this case the shortage of dogs, on its front page. Well, it happened a year ago with the headline “Does America Have Enough Dogs for All the People Who Want One?” I can already hear readers guffawing: “No way The […]

Great expectations

Politics and Policy

Only a lawyer could figure out a veterinarian’s reporting duties when animal abuse is suspected.

The virtue or vice of a federalist system of government — where the states retain powers to legislate — is the wide disparity in how laws affect the same category of persons or businesses. Nowhere is this truer than with each state’s approach to a veterinarian’s duties to report animal abuse by a client. Veterinary […]

Smartphones and pets and nurses … oh, my!

Politics and Policy

Human medicine has embraced telemedicine, and younger pet owners favor it, so the future may be closer than you think.

NEWS BULLETIN (Jan. 1, 2016): No conversations anywhere in veterinary circles about telemedicine. All right, maybe one or two among digital devotees, but that’s all. NEWS BULLETIN (Aug. 1, 2017): You can’t find a state, regional or national veterinary conference without telemedicine on the agenda. Listing each meeting would take this entire column. What happened […]

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