By Gail Zitterkopf, PT, DPT, CLT, CKTP
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2015 would provide certain licensure clarifications and legal protections to physical therapists, physicians, and athletic trainers as they travel across state lines with high school, collegiate, professional, or nationally governed sports teams. The legislation passed the house Sept. 12, 2016, but died with the close of the 114th Congress.
The 115th Congress is now in session, and on January 9, the House once again passed the bill as introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA). The new bill, H.R. 302, had been introduced January 8 and immediately scheduled for a House floor vote.
Under the laws of many states, sports medicine professionals who travel from their primary state to a secondary state do not receive the liability coverage they would receive in their primary state. This creates a serious problem for physical therapists, physicians, and athletic trainers as they move across state lines to attend sporting events with teams that employ them. Since their malpractice insurance may not apply during such travel, they are put at significant professional and financial risk when treating injured athletes.
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act was introduced to address this issue and to allow sports medicine professionals–specifically physicians, PTs, ATCs, and other licensed professionals–to travel with high school, collegiate, professional, and national governing body sports teams without fear of repercussions from being uninsured.
Physical therapists’ work with athletes on teams who cross state lines, as well as requirements by sport organizations such as the National Football League that state every team must have a physical therapist traveling with the team across the country, make it crucial for Congress to approve this legislation and for the President to sign it into law.
Please consider using the PTaction app to email both of your state’s U.S. Senators. Although currently waiting for introduction of similar Senate legislation, members of the APTA Sports Physical Therapy Section have already reached out to Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to consider sponsorship of the bill. Please consider emailing your support for their co-sponsorship and votes to pass the bill.
For more information on this and other important physical therapy-related legislation, visit policy.apta.org.
AUTHOR: Gail Zitterkopf, PT, DPT, CLT, CKTP, chairs the Section on Women’s Health Federal Affairs Subcommittee. She can be reached at email@example.com.