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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2023 01:13 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Modernizing the Acts Governing Athletic Trainers
Last session, you may recall Senate Bills 1160 and 1161 were advanced unanimously from the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.  Although they did not receive consideration by the full Senate, this action represents meaningful progress for an area of state law that has not evolved with the times.
Athletic trainers are board-certified health care professionals, licensed by either the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine or State Board of Osteopathic Medicine and recognized by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and American Medical Association (AMA) as allied health care professionals.  In Pennsylvania, over sixty percent of the profession has a master's degree or higher level of education and all future ATs are required to attain this level of education, with continuing education units every two years.  However, they are the only licensed allied health professionals who are restricted by the population they can treat. Athletic trainers are prohibited from treating anyone other than a "Physically Active Person.”  The current definition is a dated, narrow restriction on patient population, oftentimes limiting care to organized team sport activities.   Athletic trainers are board-certified healthcare professionals utilizing the same knowledge and skill set regardless of whether the person plays a sport. 
Current Pennsylvania law finds certain terminology vague and contradictory.  In some cases, life-saving techniques such as using an epi-pen, administering a rescue inhaler or insulin, or administering naloxone or Narcan during an overdose can be prohibited.  Across the country, ATs administer these services and more in traditional sports team settings as well as in public safety, occupational health, with the military, and the performing arts. 
My legislation will update the definition to better reflect the profession while also allowing athletic trainers to utilize best practices under “Athletic Training Services” during both routine and emergency care.  Importantly, the services would still be delivered under the direction of a physician.
Pennsylvania has 20 accredited Athletic Training Programs, but graduates cannot fully use their education and training in our state.  Thus, the reality is that too many of our graduates look to other states for employment where the athletic training field is not as restrictive.    
I hope you will join in co-sponsoring this measure to align Pennsylvania’s law with the current practice, training, and education of athletic trainers.   Thank you.
Note: This is a two-bill package as both the State Board of Medicine and the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine must be amended.

Document #1

Introduced as SB559

Description: Amending the Medical Practice Act

Document #2

Introduced as SB560

Description: Amending the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act