The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2016 (HR 921) passed the US House Subcommittee on Health yesterday (June 8) after two days of markup sessions. The bill, authored by Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), would clarify medical liability rules for physicians, athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their malpractice insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state. The amended version of HR 921 passed with unanimous Bi-partisan support of the Subcommittee.
The bill now goes to the full US House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. Meanwhile, efforts are already underway with gaining additional co-sponsors for S 689, the US Senate companion bill that is sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). HR 921 now has 163 cosponsors, while S 689 has nine co-sponsors. In order to gain passage, the bill will need to come out of the E&C Committee for a full House vote and then the Senate will need to pass an identical version of the bill before it could be considered by the President.
"Athletes at the high school, college and professional levels frequently travel to different states to attend games, playoffs or other sporting events," said Rep. Guthrie during the mark-up session. "When the teams travel, so, too, do the sports medicine professionals who care for the athletes. However, there is a lack of clarity surrounding the legal protection for these sports medicine professionals who travel with their teams and are under a moral and professional obligation to treat injuries when they occur. This bill provides much-needed clarification for these sports medicine professionals as they care for athletes."
AMSSM's Chad Carlson, MD, worked with the Congressional offices to help write this bill and AMSSM has played a major role in gaining support for it, working closely with the NATA, AAOS, AOSSM and other organizations to progress the bill. In December, AMSSM 2nd Vice President Chad Asplund, MD, was invited to Washington DC, to provide testimony for the bill in front of the Subcommittee on Health. AMSSM legislative consultant Michael O'Brien has also played an important role in our efforts, making multiple Hill visits, working closely with the legislative staff of partner organizations and helping organize US Congressional visits by Drs. Carlson and Asplund in recent months.
"This bill moved forward because of the hard work of the AMSSM staff and the support of our members," said AMSSM President Matt Gammons, MD. "Thank you to those members who reached out to their members of Congress. We will need continued member support as we focus on the Senate and hopefully the passing of this bill into law."