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Governor Snyder Signs Bipartisan Bill Allowing Physicians Traveling with a Sports Team to Perform Services Without a Michigan License 

MAC Worked Tirelessly to Ensure Were Included in this Legislation

In late March, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law bipartisan legislation that will improve the quality of health care that out-of-state amateur, collegiate, and professional athletes receive while traveling in Michigan. 

Public Act (PA) 60 of 2016 allows out-of-state physicians and health care providers who are traveling with a sports team to perform services in Michigan without a Michigan license. The bipartisan, common-sense measure, originally introduced by state Representative Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), passed the Michigan House of Representatives by a 107-0 vote, and the Michigan Senate 37-0. 

PA 60 amends the Michigan Public Health Code to create an exception to the Code’s licensure requirement for a health professional traveling to Michigan with an athletic team from another state. Prior to PA 60, physicians and other health care professionals that travel with their athletic teams in the state of Michigan were in violation of the law if they provided any sort of medical service to their players, if they did not have a valid Michigan license to practice. 

The Public Health Code carves out a number of exceptions to the requirement that individuals be licensed by a Michigan licensing board in order to practice a health profession in Michigan, provided various criteria are met. One exception already on the books even before PA 60 is for individuals authorized to practice a health profession in another state who have been authorized by the U.S. Olympic Committee to exclusively provide services to team personnel and athletes. 

Now included in these exceptions are individuals authorized to practice a health profession in another state providing health services for an athletic team, if all of the following conditions are met: 

  • The individual provided only those health services he or she would be permitted to provide if he or she were authorized to engage in that health profession in Michigan
  • The athletic team was from the same state that authorized the individual to practice the health profession
  • The individual provided the health services under the terms of a written agreement with the athletic team
  • The individual provided the health services only while the athletic team was traveling to or from participating in a sporting event in Michigan
  • The individual provided the health services only to a member of the team, a member of the team’s coaching, communications, equipment, or sports medicine staff, a member of a band or cheerleading squad that was accompanying the team, or the team’s mascot
  • The individual did not provide health services at a health care facility or agency located in Michigan

Proponents of the bill argued that the measure brings Michigan into line with current practice without altering Michigan’s standards for physician licensing. Supporters also noted that participating athletes and team personnel would be best served by a physician who is familiar with their medical history and has treated them in the past. And, since they are typically residents of the state where the physician is licensed, they would be receiving the same level and standard of care they would in their home state. 

The MAC supported this legislation and worked diligently to make sure chiropractors were included. 

During committee deliberations on the bill, Michigan State University, the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Society, and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs all indicated their support for the bill. No organizations or individuals indicated opposition. 

Sources:
Text of Public Act 60 of 2016
House Fiscal Analysis of House Bill 4792
Senate Fiscal Analysis of House Bill 4792

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