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J_WRARC_2023A 09/11/2023 09:06:13 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  WATER RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE REVIEW COMMITTEE
Date 09/11/2023
Attendance
Bridges *
Catlin X
Hinrichsen E
Lynch *
Martinez X
McLachlan X
Pelton R. X
Simpson X
McCormick X
Roberts X
Time 09:06:13 AM to 04:31:32 PM
Place SCR 357
This Meeting was called to order by Roberts
This Report was prepared by Dan Graeve
Hearing Items Action Taken
Colorado State University Rural Project & Veterinary College Committee Discussion Only
Veterinary Economic Data - FDA Law & Liability Overview Committee Discussion Only
Veterinary Technicians/VTS Voice & Masters of Veterinary Clinical Care Committee Discussion Only
AlignCare Model and Veterinary Telehealth Discussion Committee Discussion Only
Production Animal, Shelter, and Low-Cost Access to Care Insights Committee Discussion Only
Perspectives from the Field Committee Discussion Only

Colorado State University Rural Project & Veterinary College - Committee Discussion Only


09:07:22 AM  

The chair called the meeting to order. Presentation materials from all presenters can be accessed at https://leg.colorado.gov/content/jwrarc2023ascheduleandmeetingmaterials

Dr. Sue VandeWoude, representing College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University (CSU), presented to the committee on veterinary workforce trends and how CSU programming is responsive to needs of the industry. Ms. VandeWoude discussed rural and livestock veterinary care workforce shortages, curriculum revisions, and plans to expand the college, including the construction of a new clinic and livestock hospital.    

 

09:25:01 AM  

Dr. Wayne Jensen, representing CSU, presented to the committee on a draft curriculum to train veterinary paraprofessionals as a master's program in veterinary clinical care, referred to as the Veterinary Professional Associate (VPA) program. Dr. Jensen described the development of the draft curriculum and other details, including prerequisites.  

09:36:12 AM  

Dr. Apryl Steele, representing the Vet Care Coalition and the Denver Dumb Friends League, presented to the committee regarding support for the VPA program. Dr. Steele discussed issues around access to veterinary care, including costs and workforce shortages. Dr. Steele provided printed materials to the committee which can be found in Attachment A.

10:16:49 AM  
Panelsists responded
to questions from the committee.
10:27:20 AM  

Committee discussion continued.



Veterinary Economic Data - FDA Law & Liability Overview - Committee Discussion Only


10:43:16 AM  

Mr. Matt Salois, representing the Veterinary Management Group, presented an overview to the committee on the economics of the veterinary industry and its relationship with broader economic trends and conditions. Mr. Salois discussed what he referred to as myths around the rate of pet adoption in recent years and the ratio of pets to veterinarians. He detailed the extent of "quit rates" in the profession and its implications on veterinary care industry labor markets.  

11:09:23 AM  

Dr. Kent McClure, representing the American Veterinary Medical Association, presented to the committee on Food and Drug Administration law regarding the veterinary client-patient relationship, and in particular on laws around prescribing medications.

11:25:37 AM  

Mr. Solois responded to questions from the committee.

11:35:50 AM  

Dr. McClure responded to questions from the committee regrading insurance coverage implications.  

11:49:39 AM  
Committee discussion
continued.



Veterinary Technicians/VTS Voice & Masters of Veterinary Clinical Care - Committee Discussion Only


12:06:34 PM  

The committee took a recess for lunch.

01:12:26 PM  

Erin Henninger, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians, presented to the committee. She discussed the role of registered veterinary technicians (RVTs) and certified veterinary technicians (CVTs), the education opportunities for the profession available in Colorado, and challenges facing the profession. Ms. Henninger discussed the 2022 modernization of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act and current pathways into the profession. She noted that there are workforce shortages among RVTs and that wages remain low. Ms. Henninger addressed veterinary technician specialists (VTSs) and their role in veterinary medicine. She discussed the benefits of establishing scope of practice rules in the state.

01:28:41 PM  

Dr. Stacy Anderson, Dean, Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University, presented to the committee about the school's master level degree in veterinary technology, the first advanced degree specifically for credentialed veterinary technicians. She noted that the degree is not an alternate veterinary career path at this time, but rather is designed to expand upon existing training. She discussed the program's focus on small animal and shelter medicine, and its accessibility as an online and affordable program. Dr. Anderson discussed the various items that would help support a veterinary technician career ladder.

01:39:38 PM  

Ms. Henninger and Dr. Anderson responded to questions from the committee.

01:54:31 PM  

Committee members continued to question Ms. Heninger about potential legislation and implementing a scope of practice model, as well as the distinctions between different types of veterinary practices and the ability to train technicians for them. Dr. Anderson responded to questions about the master's degree program.



AlignCare Model and Veterinary Telehealth Discussion - Committee Discussion Only


02:02:45 PM  

Dr. Michael Blackwell, Director, AlignCare Health, Inc., and the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee, presented on pet health equity. He discussed his research on households that struggle to access veterinary care. He continued to discuss the One Health model, an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and the shared environment, and its implementation in AlignCare Health.

02:19:46 PM  

Dr. Lori Teller, Professor, Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine, presented to the committee about veterinary telehealth. She explained that tele-advice and tele-triage can be implemented without any changes to the veterinary scope of practice, while telemedicine can require legal changes. She distinguished telehealth provided as part of a patient-centered medical home from direct-to-consumer telehealth. Dr. Teller also discussed the veterinary workforce generally and some research on the field.

02:35:33 PM  

Dr. Teller answered questions from the committee about Texas A&M's veterinary medicine programs and access to care. Dr. Blackwell responded to questions about the implementation and funding of AlignCare, and about the role of veterinary social work in the program. Discussion continued on the risks of diagnosing conditions through telemedicine and the benefits of incorporating telemedicine into veterinary practice.



Production Animal, Shelter, and Low-Cost Access to Care Insights - Committee Discussion Only


02:58:04 PM  
Erin Karney, Executive Vice President, Colorado Cattlemen's Association, presented on rural access to veterinary care and care for production animals.
03:05:16 PM  

Zachary Riley, Chief Executive Officer, Colorado Livestock Association, discussed livestock production and the shortage of veterinary generalists in rural Colorado. He noted that rural Colorado faces workforce challenges across industries.

03:12:18 PM  

Dr. Heather Reeder, representing shelter animal veterinarians, presented about the challenges facing shelter medicine. She discussed the role of RVTs in shelters and the benefits of efficiently using a variety of veterinary professionals. She further discussed her concerns about creating new VPA programs.

03:26:45 PM  

Ms. Karney, Mr. Riley, and Dr. Reeder responded to questions from the committee.



Perspectives from the Field - Committee Discussion Only

03:52:01 PM  

Dr. Maggie Baldwin, Colorado State Veterinarian, presented on her office's role in protecting animal and human health, as well as the food supply. She discussed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's accreditation process for veterinarians, and she discussed the need for mentorship to encourage veterinarians to practice in rural areas.

03:52:27 PM  

Dr. Melanie Marsden presented her perspectives as a veterinary hospital owner and companion animal veterinarian. She noted the importance of utilizing RVTs and VTSs in a practice, and she described her efforts to make her practice a good workplace.

03:59:17 PM  

Dr. Will French presented his perspective as an equine veterinarian. He discussed the importance of a clear Veterinary Practice Act, and he noted that veterinary students are hearing from their schools that large animal and equine practices are not sustainable.

04:04:11 PM  

Dr. Curtis Crawford presented his perspective as an associate veterinarian in a rural area (Monte Vista). He discussed his concerns with creating a VPA program, including the possibility of stagnating salaries for veterinarians and the limitations of providing supervision in rural practice.

04:13:33 PM  
Dr. Baldwin responded to questions from the committee about the sunset process for the Veterinary Practice Act. Dr. Crawford and Dr. French responded to questions about recruiting to rural practices. Dr. Marsden responded to questions about incorporating telemedicine into a veterinary practice and about creating a VPA profession. Dr. French responded to additional questions about telemedicine.
04:27:33 PM  
Vice-chair McCormick
offered closing remarks about the day's hearing. Additional materials provided
to the committee can be found in Attachments B-D.


04:31:32 PM   The committee adjourned.






The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details