Continuing to Address Vet Shortages
We’ve seen rewards-type programs here on a regional basis as rural areas continue to struggle to fill their local need for veterinarians. Multiple years into the issue, lawmakers continue to take note.
The Rural Veterinary Workforce Act, formerly known as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, has now been reintroduced in both the House and Senate.
The program helps increase access to food animal veterinary services in rural areas by assisting with the significant obstacle of educational debt. The legislation would end the federal taxation on awards, enabling more veterinarians to participate in a program that offers up to $75,000 over three years for student loan repayment in exchange for service in USDA-designated shortage areas.
In 2023, the USDA declared 237 rural veterinary shortage areas in 47 states, more than any year. American Veterinary Medical Association President Dr. Rena Carlson says, "we look forward to working with the congressional champions to enact this bill and help rural communities across the country access the many essential services veterinarians provide.”
To get a look at what’s been deemed an at-need area in your region, visit this website: https://www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-map