LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) would like to thank U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for introducing S689 and U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) for their introduction of HR921, companion bills, titled Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2015, clarifying that sports medicine professionals who travel outside their primary licensed state to provide care for athletes will be covered by their medical malpractice insurance.
The bills, which enjoy bipartisan support, stipulate that health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member in a secondary state outside that professional’s state of licensure will be covered by the appropriate medical malpractice insurance provider. 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 – largely because of jurisdictional issues. By removing legal ambiguity, these bills would allow sport medicine providers to engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without taking on unnecessary professional and financial risk.
“It’s hard to believe sports medicine professionals treating the same athletes on the road that they do at home could be exposed to great professional and financial risk for doing so,” said Senator Thune. “But that scenario is far too common and an important reason why we need to take common-sense steps to shield these sports medicine professionals from assuming the risk. While some states provide legal protection for these health professionals, 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 bill to help deliver better care for traveling athletes while providing legal protections for sports medicine professionals.”
“Sports medicine providers who travel outside their state should be able to treat the same athletes they treat at home without facing unnecessary legal risks,” Senator Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan bill would ensure the protections that sports medicine professionals need to provide athletes with quality care don’t stop at the state line.”
“Sports medicine practitioners take great care of athletes across the country,” said Congressman Richmond. “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.”
“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. This legislation is a solution to this difficult problem faced by many athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals,” added Congressman Guthrie.
"AMSSM applauds and unconditionally supports these efforts, which would preserve the integrity of team physicians to provide care to athletes and supporting staff, independent of state lines," said AMSSM President Chris Madden, MD. "We recognize the profound importance of minimizing risk to our team physicians and its potential significant impact on the continuity of trusted, quality care. We are grateful to Senators Thune and Klobuchar, as well as Congressmen Guthrie and Richmond for their leadership in driving this vital change forward and for all the other like-minded organizations that support the team care paradigm."
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About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of 2,700 sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. www.amssm.org