Letter to dvm360: Framing the debate surrounding veterinary accreditation


Central issue is conflict of interest inherent in current structure, group asserts.

Lawyer Mark Cushing's most recent column repeats his unfounded accusations that those critical of the current veterinary accreditation process are elitists who provide no evidence for our position. The fact that we chose to organize on Facebook, the largest, most open communication platform the world has ever known, ought to be proof enough against elitism.

Further, we provided significant “concrete facts or examples of these failings” (AVMA's inconsistency and lack of transparency) in our post Accreditation Is Broken. This column was available to the executive director of Mr. Cushing's lobbying firm, Animal Policy Group, well before he published his post. Unlike the legal profession, in the medical profession there is never valid reason to refuse to consider evidence, and one's failure to consider the evidence doesn't meant it wasn't provided.

We believe that what really scares Mr. Cushing and his clients is that we want to reform the existing veterinary medical accreditation system-which is at risk of no longer being federally sanctioned due to an inherent conflict of interest in its structure. Similar structural flaws concerned state attorneys general about the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in the '80s. A professional association should not be involved in a national licensing exam. As a result, the AVMA gradually separated the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners into a separate agency. This was legally and operationally the proper thing to do. Likewise, a professional association should not be providing accreditation that leads to eligibility for licensure.

The AVMA has another opportunity to do the legally and operationally proper thing. If it cannot work with other stakeholders to accomplish this, the change will be forced upon it. The U.S. Department of Education may do so by dropping the Council on Education as a federally recognized accreditor based on the ample evidence provided in third-party comments and oral testimony. The state attorneys general may become involved again by recommending that their respective jurisdictions rescind inappropriate delegation of authority to an inherently compromised accrediting agency.

We thank Mr. Cushing for giving us opportunity to inform our colleagues of the facts at hand, and we invite him and anyone else who's interested to join the conversation at Under the Microscope.

Under the Microscope Volunteers:

Bonnie Bragdon, DVM

Carl Darby, DVM

Bill Folger, DVM, ABVP

Ryan Gates, DVM

Eden Myers, DVM

Bob Nix, DVM

Ralph Pope, DVM

Don Woodman, DVM

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