AMSSM Supports Federal Bills to Address Malpractice Concerns for Team Travel Across State Lines

Released: 9-Apr-2014 12:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
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Newswise — LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) would like to thank U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) for introducing S2220 and U.S. Representatives Tom Latham (R-Ia.) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.) for their introduction of HR3722, companion bills clarifying that sports medicine professionals who travel outside their primary licensed state to provide care for the athletes will be covered by their medical malpractice insurance.

“Our college athletes work hard preparing to compete,” said Congressman Latham. “When they travel, injury outside of the state is a real possibility. The team’s chosen health care provider should not have to take on additional risks or legal red tape to provide our college athletes the care they need.”

The bills, which enjoy bipartisan support, stipulate that health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, athletic team, or staff member of an athlete or athletic team in a secondary state outside the state of licensure will be covered by the professional’s medical malpractice insurance provider.

“Primary care sports medicine providers take on great professional and financial risk to treat injured athletes on the road,” said Sen. Thune. “While some states provide legal protection to shield these professionals from assuming the risk, many providers are still left with the decision of treating an injured athlete and accepting liability. I look forward to working with the AMSSM to move this common-sense legislation forward to ensure we deliver quality care for traveling athletes while providing legal protections for sports medicine professionals.”

The bills remove questions about licensing jurisdiction and eliminate ambiguity about malpractice coverage when a provider is technically practicing out-of-state while treating a patient from the provider’s home state.

“Treating athletes on the road is a fact of life for sports medicine professionals and they should be able to do so without facing unnecessary legal risks,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This common-sense bill will help improve the quality of care for our athletes and give sports medicine professionals the protections they need to do their jobs effectively regardless of what state they are in.”

Currently, in most states, sports medicine professionals who travel outside of the state to provide care for athletes are not covered by their medical malpractice insurance since it is beyond their licensed area to practice medicine. The bill would allow sport medicine providers to engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without taking on great professional and financial risk.

“AMSSM applauds and unconditionally supports the efforts of past AMSSM board member Dr. Chad Carlson, who was instrumental in the development of this legislation, which preserves the integrity of the medical care team physicians provide to athletes and supporting staff, independent of state lines,” said AMSSM President Chris Madden, MD. “We recognize the profound importance of minimizing risk to our team physicians and its potential significant impact on continuity of trusted, quality care. We are grateful to Congressman Latham and Senator Thune for their leadership in driving this vital change forward and for all the other like-minded organizations that support the AMSSM vision.”

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of 2,500 sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. www.amssm.org

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