HARRISBURG – A new law that allows visiting out-of-state team physicians to provide care to their athletes without holding a Pennsylvania medical license has been signed into law.
Previously, under Pennsylvania law, a licensed physician from another state with an established relationship with team players, who could treat players from anything from asthma to a sore knee to concussions, was required to stand aside and let a Pennsylvania licensed physician, who may not know the players, treat them while the team played in Pennsylvania.
While 21 states already permitted visiting team physicians to practice in their state without meeting home state licensing requirements, Pennsylvania was not among them.
In a bid to ease Pennsylvania’s physician licensing requirements, state Sen. Jake Corman sponsored Senate bills 685 and 686, which were signed into law on Feb. 4. These are amendments to Pennsylvania’s Medical Practice Act of 1985 and Osteopathic Medical Practice Act of 1978, respectively.
Senate bills 685 and 686 state that any visiting team physician who is licensed in his or her home state with an agreement with a sports team to provide care for the team while traveling is permitted to treat the team’s players as they compete in Pennsylvania without a Pennsylvania license.
“This law essentially allows visiting team doctors to treat their team members without having a license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania as long as they have a license in their team’s state,” said Chuck Moran, director of Media Relations and Public Affairs at the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
Before the law was signed, professional teams and some collage teams would still bring their physicians with them. According to Moran, no one had a personal issue with this happening, as it aided in the continuity of care when the player and team doctor returned to their state.
“Technically on the books, there was an issue,” he said. “The new law erased that technicality.”
With the bill signed into law, Corman said that out-of-state physicians will no longer have to go through copious amounts of paperwork to look after a team’s players.
“These team physicians, who are already licensed in their own state, will now be able to treat their team athletes on the road without having to go through excess red tape and paperwork,” he said.
“I’m pleased that the General Assembly has approved and the governor has signed this measure, which will benefit members of athletic teams and ensure they receive quality care.”
The law places restrictions on the time visiting team physicians can practice in Pennsylvania.
Currently, out-of-state physicians are permitted up to 10 days per sporting event. However, this can be extended to a maximum of 30 additional days per sporting event upon request to the appropriate Pennsylvania physician licensing board.