Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act Hearing
On Wednesday, December 9, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled, “Examining Legislation to Improve Health Care and Treatment.” Six bills were considered at the hearing including H.R. 921, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2015. This important piece of legislation would clarify medical liability rules for sports medicine professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their professional liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state.
Chad A. Asplund, MD, MPH, FACSM presented oral testimony in front of the committee on behalf of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Asplund is the Director of Athletic Medicine and the Head Team Physician at Georgia Southern University where he also serves as an adjunct professor for health and kinesiology. In his testimony, Dr. Asplund highlighted his experiences while traveling with the athletes at Georgia Southern.
“H.R. 921 would protect the medical professionals that keep these athletes safe – helping them to return to the field when possible, and keeping them off the field when necessary to protect them and avoid further injury,” Dr. Asplund stated at the hearing. “You can choose to protect athletes and medical professionals by ensuring athletes have access to the best care available and by ensuring that the medical professionals that provide care during a sanctioned sporting event are protected regardless of where care is given.”
The AAOS submitted a Statement for the Record to the subcommittee in support of H.R. 921 that highlighted the key points in the bill.
“Athletic groups of all levels contract with teams of sports medicine professionals to ensure that the athletes receive high quality, timely, and expert care in dealing with sports-related injuries,” the statement explained, “However, as you are aware, many states do not provide legal protection for sports medicine professionals who travel to another state with an athletic team solely to provide care for that team.”
The AAOS strongly believes that sports medicine providers should not have to choose between treating injured athletes at great professional and financial risk and reducing athletes’ access to quality health care services.
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act was authored by Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and introduced as a bipartisan bill with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) in February of this year. The legislation has gained wide support from provider groups including the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), and the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), among others. The bill has also received support from sports industry including the National Football League (NFL), the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The AAOS, in coordination with other groups, has been working throughout the year to move the bill along. H.R. 921 currently enjoys bipartisan support with over 100 cosponsors.