Athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals are closer to receiving liability insurance protection while providing care to their athletes out of state.
On Monday night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 921), which clarifies medical liability rules for athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.), now moves to the U.S. Senate. If it is passed there, it will only need President Obama’s signature to become law.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) said more than 400 athletic trainers representing 48 states met with members of Congress this past summer to lobby for the bill, resulting in 17 additional bipartisan co-sponsors.
“NATA is proud to have championed this legislation that will not only benefit our 43,000 members and the millions of patients they serve, but that will also support health care professionals all over the country, including our initial partners in this effort, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine,” NATA President Scott Sailor said in a statement. “This is truly a milestone for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the athletic training profession, as well as other health care professions that will benefit from our leadership role in moving this legislation forward.”
NATA also says if the bill is passed, providers no longer will fear “incurring great professional loss” by treating athletes across state lines. The bill also will encourage collaboration among physicians and athletic trainers and help ease their concerns traveling to playoff games, championship games and college bowl games on short notice, according to NATA.
“H.R. 921 addresses a unique problem that sports medicine professionals face when traveling with their teams out of state,” Guthrie said in a statement. “There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the legal protection for these practitioners who are licensed and covered by malpractice insurance to practice in their home state, but may not be covered when they travel to another state for a game, tournament or other sporting event. H.R. 921 clarifies that these professionals can provide quality and timely health care for injured athletes without putting their personal and professional lives at risk.”