Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act Introduced
Earlier this month, Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) reintroduced the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2015, which clarifies 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. Specifically, the legislation (H.R. 921) stipulates that for the purposes of liability, health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, an athletic team, or a staff member of an athlete or athletic team in a secondary state will be deemed to have been provided in the professional’s primary state of licensure.
Today, most states do not provide legal protection for sports medicine professionals who travel to a secondary state, and medical liability insurance carriers do not cover sports medicine professionals when they travel with their team to states where they are not licensed to practice medicine. In these circumstances, the sports medicine professional must choose between treating injured athletes at great professional risk and handing over the care of an injured player to another professional. By stipulating that health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional outside the state of licensure will be covered, the bill removes questions about licensing jurisdiction and eliminates ambiguity about coverage when a provider is practicing during away games across state lines. As a result, this bill will also ensure injured athletes’ timely access to health care professionals who best know their medical history, and will thereby improve the overall health care system.
“From high school to college to professional levels, these men and women are trained to protect and care for athletes, and a lack of clarity in the current system leaves them vulnerable,” said Rep. Guthrie. “This legislation is a solution to this difficult problem faced by many athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals.”
“Sports medicine practitioners take great care of athletes across the country. Going on the road is a part of the job at every level in sports so it is only right that their insurance coverage reflect that reality,” added Rep. Richmond.
The legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate during the last Congress (click here to read a related press release), and this bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate shortly.