Washington, DC—Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is backing a bill that would help ease veterinary shortages and support veterinary practices in underserved areas. The bipartisan Veterinary Services Investment Act, S. 1053, introduced in the Senate today, would authorize a matching grant program for qualified organizations to develop, implement and sustain veterinary services to address states’ individual needs and shortage situations.
“Colorado’s farming and ranching economy can’t function without a steady and stable supply of skilled veterinarians who make it their life’s work to keep animals healthy,” said Bennet. “But the shortage of veterinarians in our state and across the country remains a challenge. Instead of taking a one-size-fits all approach, this bill provides local communities and organizations the resources and flexibility they need to attract the next generation of skilled veterinarians and support the few we already have.”
The bill would establish a competitive grant program that supports:
- Assistance for establishing or expanding veterinary practices or establishing mobile veterinary facilities;
- Veterinarian, technician, and student recruitment;
- Training programs in food safety or food animal medicine;
- Establishing or expanding accredited education, internship, residency, and fellowship programs;
- Continuing education and extension, including tele-veterinary medicine and other distance-based education; and
- Assessments of veterinarian shortage situations.
- Grants are prohibited from being used for construction or education loan repayment.
Earlier this year Bennet cosponsored the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, which would bolster the nation’s veterinary workforce by eliminating taxes on programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in underserved areas.