President Trump Signs the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act Into Law

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Physicians, athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals who travel to another state with an athletic team to provide medical care for that team will now have the benefit of being able to provide medical services for members of the team within the scope of the license in their “home” state and also have the protection of the professional liability insurance policy as if the services were provided in their “home” state.

​Prior to the enactment on Friday, October 5, 2018 of the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (P.L., 115-254, the “Act”), many sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers were concerned about their liability exposure when providing medical services for their team when they accompanied the team out of their “home” state, or whether they could provide services outside their “home” state at all if they were not licensed in the state to which the team was traveling.

The Act defines what constitutes an “athletic team”, who is a “covered sports medicine professional”, and what constitutes a “primary state” and a “secondary state.”  Notably, a written agreement must be in place between the health care provider and the athlete or team for the health care provider to be covered by the Act.

Importantly, the Act also provides that a covered sports medicine professional cannot provide medical services in the secondary state that exceed the scope of that professional’s license in their primary state and that the covered sports medicine professional cannot provide medical services in the secondary state that exceed the scope of a substantially similar sports medicine professional in the secondary state.   Similarly, the Act is clear that it does not supersede any reciprocity agreement in effect between two states or any interstate compact that is in effect between the two states.

Among other groups, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association supported the passage of the Act.

The Act was included as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers will now have greater flexibility when providing services for their athletes on an out-of-state trip.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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