AAOS October 2, 2018
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Protections for Team Doctors Nearing Finish Line

 
   

Landmark licensure and liability protection for sports medicine professionals advanced again last week, passing the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a larger unrelated bill. The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 302) has already cleared both the House and Senate and received the support of key legislators and committees. The Senate is expected to act on the bill for a final time and send it to the president’s desk before the end of the year.

The final version of the bill ensures that traveling team doctors can appropriately care for their athletes without risking unjust legal or financial penalties. The legislation mandates that liability insurance of a sports medicine professional treating their team in a secondary state should cover that person (subject to premium adjustments) as if treatment was provided in the primary state. Additionally, if two states do not currently have an agreement to provide licensure reciprocity, the sports medicine professional is to be treated in any state as if they’re practicing in the state in which they’re licensed.

Following original House passage of H.R. 302 on January 9, 2017, AAOS worked to secure the approval of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. John McGraw, MD, and Russell Betcher, MD—both orthopaedic surgeons and team physicians from Tennessee—with help from the AAOS Office of Government Relations, engaged directly with Senate HELP Committee Chair Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act was reported out of Committee in July, 2018, and passed the Senate unanimously on September 6, 2018.