Published 9/10/2018

Senate Passes Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act

Washington, DC—On September 6, a bill providing licensure clarity for traveling sports medicine professionals unanimously passed the full Senate, moving one step closer to becoming law. The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S.808) safeguards injured athletes’ timely access to health care professionals who best know their medical history and ensures these patients can return to their active lifestyle as soon as possible.
“We’re proud to see this bill get the support of the House and now the Senate,” said American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) President David A. Halsey, MD. “Traveling sports medicine providers should not have to choose between treating injured athletes at great professional and financial risk, or handing over care to a less familiar providerreducing patients’ access to quality health care services.”
Currently, out-of-state athletic team medical staff cannot treat players and others because they lack the visiting state’s licensure. The legislation provides this legal protection for sports medicine professionals who travel with an athlete, athletic team, or staff member. It clarifies that health care services provided in a secondary state will be covered by the professional’s medical liability insurance and deemed to have been provided in the professional’s primary state of licensure.  
The bill was introduced in April 2017 by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The House version (H.R.302) passed in January 2017 and was introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA).
AAOS has advocated for the critical legislation with other sports medicine societies since 2015 and worked hard to advise Congress on its importance. “Thanks to the continued collaborative efforts of the AAOS, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) Council of Delegates and Team Physician Committee, we can now look forward to crossing the finish line and closing this long-standing medical liability loophole,” said AOSSM President Neal ElAttrache, MD.
While more than 15 percent of the Academy’s 38,000 worldwide members practice sports medicine as their primary specialty, a large majority are involved in the care of athletes engaged in sports activities across state lines. “AAOS strongly supports the bill and we’re excited to see it move one step closer to becoming law,” said Dr. Halsey. “Then orthopaedic surgeons and other sports medicine professionals can finally provide the high-quality, timely, and expert care our patients need and deserve.” 
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