U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced a bill clarifying that sports medicine professionals who travel outside their primary licensed state to provide care for the athletes will be covered by their medical malpractice insurance. Thune and Klobuchar’s bill, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, stipulates 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 will be covered by the professional’s medical malpractice insurance provider. The bill removes questions about licensing jurisdiction and eliminates ambiguity about malpractice coverage when a provider is technically practicing out-of-state while treating a patient from the provider’s home state.
“Sports medicine providers take on great professional and financial risk to treat injured athletes on the road,” said Thune. “While some states provide legal protection to shield these professionals from assuming the risk, many providers are still left with the decision of treating an injured athlete or accepting liability. I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting this common-sense legislation that helps deliver better care for traveling athletes while providing legal protections for sports medicine professionals.”
“Treating athletes on the road is a fact of life for sports medicine professionals and they should be able to do so without facing unnecessary legal risks,” Klobuchar said. “This commonsense bill will help improve the quality of care for our athletes and give sports medicine professionals the protections they need to do their jobs effectively regardless of what state they are in.”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 since it is beyond their licensed area to practice medicine. Thune and Klobuchar’s bill would allow sport medicine providers to engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without taking on great professional and financial risk.