Athletic trainers lobby federal legislators on behalf of NATA and patient access to quality health care

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DALLAS, March 24, 2010 – Nearly 200 members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) from 31 states descended on Congress on Feb. 23, 2010, for the seventh annual “Capitol Hill Day” in an effort to educate members of Congress about the athletic training profession and request their support in the passage of the Athletic Trainers’ Equal Access to Medicare Act of 2009 (ATEAM) (HR 1137).

Introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (N.Y.-10) in February 2009, the act will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have better access to quality health care provided by state licensed or certified athletic trainers. The day also marked the kickoff of National Athletic Training Month which takes place annually in March.

Prior to a 2004 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule, athletic trainers were successfully providing these physical medicine and rehabilitation services to patients of all ages. The rule was implemented in 2005 and does not apply to private insurance policies. With the passage of the ATEAM Act, physicians, clinics and hospitals will be able to meet the requisite Medicare standards for reimbursement.

“NATA and its members believe that Medicare beneficiaries deserve the same access to athletic trainers that the general population has,” said NATA President Marjorie J. Albohm, MS, ATC. “America’s senior citizens have earned the right to receive care by whomever they, along with their physician, deem appropriate. Having more qualified health care professionals to do the job during these times of tight labor markets will only benefit the patient and the health care system.”

March is National Athletic Training Month and this year’s theme is Sports Safety is a Team Effort. Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession. NATA supports the right of all patients to have equal access to the services of athletic trainers through the Athletic Trainers’ Equal Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1137).