All NFL football teams along with many other professional, semi-professional and other elite sports teams include chiropractors on their staff. Chiropractic care is a highly effective treatment for sports-related conditions including both injury recovery and prevention. However, chiropractors and other sports health practitioners traveling outside of their states to provide care for athletes had previously been often left uncovered by their medical malpractice insurance, largely because of jurisdictional issues.
In recognition of a need to correct this issue, H.R. 302, the “Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2017” – also referred to as “Travel to Treat” – was recently passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The new law stipulates that health care services provided by a covered “sports medicine professional” to an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member in a secondary state outside that professional’s state of licensure will be covered by the appropriate medical malpractice insurance provider.
The TCA has been active in supporting this legislative effort through grassroots advocacy with our US legislators. In the spring of 2018, TCA President Dr. R.J. Crawford, TCA VP Dr. Brock Martin, TCA Immediate Past President Dr. Andrew Dixon, TN ACA Delegate Dr. Holly Tucker and TCA ED Tiffany Stevens all participated in the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference to lobby on this and other chiropractic bills. In these sit-down meetings with Tennessee’s congressional lawmakers, their key staff members, and health care policymakers, the TCA spoke to the need for this legislation to protect DCs working with athletes at professional and amateur levels.
The prior untenable situation had placed professionals in a position where treating injured athletes often posed great legal and financial risk; if they were sued for malpractice, not only could their home state license be in jeopardy but their malpractice insurance may not cover them. Now, “Travel to Treat” ensures that sports health professionals are covered by their malpractice insurance while traveling to another state with an athletic team.