Congress has advanced legislation to clarify that sports doctors’ medical malpractice insurance should follow them when they travel out of state with their teams.
The House of Representatives this week approved the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (US HR 921), which had 190 sponsors and was co-sponsored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky) and Cedric Richmond (D-La).
The bill will now be sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration (US S 689).
The measure aims to protects team physicians and athletic trainers when they travel across state lines with their teams to treat the athletes under their care.
The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) backs the bill and says it has worked for four years with other groups including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to gain support.
The bill stipulates 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, AMSSM says sports medicine professionals who travel outside of their state to provide care for athletes are often not covered by their medical malpractice insurance – largely because of jurisdictional issues. Supporters say the federal bill would allow sport medicine providers to engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without taking on unnecessary professional and financial risk.
“This commonsense bill will bring certainty to the health professionals tasked with taking care of our athletes,” said Rep. Guthrie in a statement. “It’s a win for everyone involved and ensures those that know our athletes best are responsible for their care, even when playing and traveling out of state.”
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