Exciting news! Your Academy’s Health Policy & Legislation (HP&L) Committee is proud to announce that on September 6, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the Sports Medical Licensure Clarity Act
. The bill, H.R. 302, has been a piece of priority legislation for the Academy, as it is crucial to preserving athletes’ access to timely, familiar, and specialized care while ensuring that sports medicine professionals have the ability to provide such care without fearing professional liability risk or violation of state licensure requirements.
U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) spearheaded the efforts to advance this bipartisan legislation in the Senate. Throughout the summer, the HP&L Committee worked closely with Senators Thune and Klobuchar’s offices to advocate for its passage. Additionally, in February of this year, members of the HP&L Committee went to Capitol Hill and spoke to members of the Senate about the importance of sports medicine professionals, including physiatrists, being able to provide high-quality, continuous health care services to the athletes they treat.
AAPM&R has strongly supported the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act because it would provide legal protections for sports medicine professionals (e.g., physiatrists) who travel to other states with an athletic club to provide on-field care for that team. The bill would deem treatment furnished by a covered sports medicine professional—to an athlete, athletic team, or a staff member of an athlete or athletic team in a secondary state—to have been provided in the professional’s primary state of licensure, ensuring that sports medicine providers may treat injured athletes across state lines without subjecting themselves to professional risk. At a time of great national emphasis on concussion in athletes and “return to play” standards, it is critical that the health care provider most familiar with the athlete—and his or her baseline level of function—be able to treat the athlete regardless of where the injury occurs.
AAPM&R is grateful to Senators Thune, Klobuchar, and their colleagues for their efforts to help preserve athletes’ access to timely, familiar, and specialized care. The Academy appreciates the work of the members of the HP&L Committee in advocating for passage of the bill. AAPM&R will continue working to ensure final passage of this important legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.