November 6, 2018—Sports chiropractic has created opportunities to put the chiropractic profession on a pedestal. However, as chiropractors have stood on the pedestal with the success of their athletes, they have risked everything and put their license on the line when crossing state lines where travel to treat is not allowed.
How we got here
Travel to treat has long been a focus of the ACA Sports Council. On December 20, 1985, at the request of the USOC and permission of the ACA (Louis Sportelli) sports council Hall of Fame member, John Danchik, presented to the National Conference of State Legislatures Health and Human Resources Committee State and Federal Assembly for our initial request for travel to treat considerations. This took place in Washington, D.C., and was chaired by Thomas M. Marchant III, South Carolina House of Representatives, Chairman, NCSL Health and Human Resources Committee. Continued focus peaked with the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where legislative changes in Georgia was a primary focus.
Rick Rinzler, DC, and Anne Sorrentino, DC, created a highly resourced directory of states that allow or disallow travel to treat. This has been an ongoing challenge as state practice acts surprisingly change year to year, making it difficult to determine when it is safe to cross state lines with a team. As an association, the ACA Sports Council, along with many different individuals, lobbied state to state to try to create travel to treat legislation on a local level with limited success.
December 12, 2013, H.R. 3722
To provide protections for certain sports medicine professionals who provide certain medical services in a secondary state was introduced for the 113th Congress, 2013–2015. It was spearheaded by AMSSM (American Medicine Society for Sports Medicine) collaboration with the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) and AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).
Other JCSMS organizations stepped in to lend their support of this legislation, including the ACA Sports Council. The ACA Sports Council contacted ACA through its representative liaison Mike Simone shortly after the bill’s introduction. At that time, we were concerned about the language that specified medical physicians and athletic trainers. This could potentially leave chiropractic and other healthcare professions on the sidelines. On January 27, 2014, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations where it failed to progress out of committee.
In 2015 there was the introduction of the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 921/S. 689). On September 12, 2016 the House of Representatives passed the bill. However, the bill died as it was not approved by the Senate before Congress adjourned in December.
H.R. 302 was reintroduced by Representative Guthrie (R-Ky) and Richmond (D-La), which passed by voice vote on January 9, 2017. Grassroots efforts through hundreds of messages sent out by individual doctors, JCSMS associations, sports teams, the ACA Legislative Action Site and several NCLC meetings helped keep the pressure on to move this bill through Congress. A great deal of thanks goes toward Jay Greenstien and Alan Sokolof who attended a meeting with the house energy and commerce staff with John Falardeau and Jack Dusik, ACA Lobbyists, who help push this bill through the house.
The bill was being stalled in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. Subsequently the bill passed through Committee and in early October was approved by the Senate. Ultimately a joint House-Senate committee on transportation then buried the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act in a major spending vehicle: the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Reauthorization Act of 2018 a 1205-page bill. HR302 and the FAA spending bill was signed by the President on October 5, 2018.
The bottom line
This bill was a huge piece of legislation for sports chiropractic. The licensure clarity act will officially recognize and permit the health care of athletes by their providers when the teams travel out of state. Previously, treating athletes during events in a different state was complicated by laws that didn’t allow for optimal care to be provided, or required putting your license on the line and treating without a malpractice insurance. With this legislation, sports chiropractors can now give the same excellent services to their patients at home and on the road without fear of licensure violations and repercussions. This is a big win for sports medicine of all professions.
I know this bill didn’t address health care providers travelling to treat at out of state events. With your help, possibly we can garner support for part two the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act.
Source: Ted Forcum