Have you heard about HR 302 – the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act? The bill would affect chiropractors who accompany sports teams across state lines.
Would you be comfortable driving your car to another state if your auto insurer said that your coverage stopped at the state line? Chiropractors who treat athletes on high school, college and professional team face similar coverage limitations with their malpractice insurance. Currently, medical professionals are only covered when they provide services in their home states. If a lawsuit is filed as a result of an incident that occurred in another state, liability insurance is worthless.
Licensure is another concern. The moment a chiropractor crosses the state line, he or she is considered unlicensed and technically subject to all sanctions imposed on unlicensed medical professionals in that state. Travel is an integral part of the work of team chiropractors. These restrictions cause considerable concern for chiropractors and other sports medical professionals who put themselves at risk every time they travel to a game, playoff or tournament in another state.
Chiropractors are involved with sports teams at all levels. One-hundred percent of National Football League teams, 93 percent of Major League Baseball teams and most National Hockey League and National Basketball Association teams have chiropractors, according to Palmer College of Chiropractic. The College also notes the 39 percent of student athletes received chiropractic care in 2006. Today, the number is probably much higher.
What HR 302 Would Do
HR 302 addresses the insurance and licensure concerns of sports medical professionals. The bill forces insurers to cover chiropractors when they travel out of state with teams and ensures that medical professionals are in compliance with licensure requirements even if they aren't licensed in every state they visit. When chiropractors provide services to an athlete or staff and team member during a road trip, they'll be offering treatments under their state licensure, no matter where they perform them, if the bill becomes a law.
Originally, the bill didn't cover chiropractors, but the American Chiropractic Association persuaded the House to include chiropractors in its list of sports medical professionals. Without the protection provided by the bill, chiropractors may face a significant threat to their livelihoods when they provide treatment on the road.
HR 302 Status
HR 921 (The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act) was passed by the House on September 12, 2016 and moved to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Because the Senate didn't vote on the bill in 2016, it was reintroduced in the House as HR 302 by co-sponsors Representatives Cedric Richmond and Brett Guthrie on January 6, 2017. The bill was passed by unanimous vote on January 9, 2017 and is once again under review by the Senate. If the Senate approves it, it will move on to President Donald Trump for signature or veto.
The American Chiropractor: ACA Governmental Relations Team Winning the Game for Sports DCs, 10/16
DC Online: Doctors of Chiropractic Included in Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, 10/17/16
Palmer College of Chiropractic: Sports Chiropractic
American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians: DCs Included in Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, 9/14/16
American Chiropractic Association: Bill to Protect Sports Providers Crosses State Lines, Moves to Senate