U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today reintroduced the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S. 808), a bill that would clarify that health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, athletic team, or staff member of an athlete or athletic team in a secondary state outside the state of licensure can be covered by the health professional’s medical malpractice insurance provider. The bill would remove questions about licensing jurisdiction and eliminate ambiguity about malpractice coverage when a provider is technically practicing out of state while treating a patient from the provider’s home state.
“Imagine a scenario where a sports medicine professional, like all of the dedicated athletic trainers who supported student athletes during the recent NCAA basketball tournament, is at risk for doing his or her job and treating an injured player,” said Thune. “While it might come as a surprise, depending on what state a team is playing in, those sports medicine professionals who rush the court or field to help a downed athlete could actually be putting themselves at professional or financial risk. The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act is a common-sense bill that would correct this potential problem by creating a single, clear standard. I hope our bipartisan bill is considered without delay, because resolving this issue is long overdue.”
“Sports medicine professionals in Minnesota and across the country should be able to treat athletes on the road without worrying about unnecessary legal risks – whether they’re working for a professional team or their local high school,” said Klobuchar. “Our legislation will provide common-sense protections for sports medicine professionals so that they can always give athletes the care they need, regardless of where their team happens to be.”
“The bill protects athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals and is vital to the health and well-being of athletes of all ages,” said Scott Sailor, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
“This bill is crucial for ensuring access and safeguarding the health and well-being of athletes,” said Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, president of the American Physical Therapy Association. “Whether it’s the management of a concussion or a simple sprain, we appreciate Sen. Klobuchar and the bill’s cosponsors for tackling this issue that impacts athletes, physical therapists, and the rest of the players and providers who are part of the team.”
Currently, in most states, sports medicine professionals who travel outside of the state to provide care for athletes are not covered by their medical malpractice insurance because it is beyond their licensed area to practice medicine. Thune and Klobuchar’s bill would allow sports medicine providers to engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without taking on great professional and financial risk.
In addition to Thune and Klobuchar, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, which was also introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses, is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).