PATS Capital Hill Day, 2011

15 Apr

On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, several members of the PA Athletic Trainers Society (PATS) traveled to Harrisburg to visit several State Senators and Representatives.  As a member of the PATS PR committee, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to give back to the profession and to promote the profession of athletic training.  There were 5 teams organized and each team had different tasks.  4 of the 5 teams had face to face meetings scheduled with up to 3 Senators and Representatives.  I was assigned to a team of 2 other ATs and our task was to visit about 20 Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and drop off information about 2 bills being introduced effecting athletic training in the state.  These Reps. and Sens. wer all members of the Licensing Board and their support of the bill will aid in getting it passed and into law. 

In the PA House of Representatives, HB 930 and HB 932 has been introduced by State Representative Readshaw.  This bill will change athletic trainer certification to licensure.  38 states already require state licensure for athletic trainers protecting the public from unlicensed ATs.  Only 4 have certification.  Licensure holds much more power over certification further protecting the general public from un-credentialed athletic trainers.  Currently, PA citizens do not have much recourse to protect themselves from non-credentialed ATs practicing within the state.  2 house bills are necessary to cover licensure under the seperate Board of Osteopathic Medicine and the Board of Medicine. 

In addition to these 2 bills in the House of Representatives, HB200 has been introduced to House Committee by Representative Briggs.  The team was priviledged to have a face to face impromtu meeting with Rep. Briggs and he appreciates and values athletic trainers as well as the work we were doing that day in support of his Sports Safety bill.   

On the Senate side of the Capital, SB 957 has been introduced by Senator Tomlinson.  This bill also changes state certification to licensure.   If SB 957 is passed, the HB 930 and 932 would become unnecesary.  The team also was seeking for support of SB 200 and HB 200.  These bills are the Sports Safety Bills introduced to regulate concussion management requiring athletes suspected of a concussion to obtain clearance from an MD, DO or AT before returning to play.

The day at the Capital was incredibly hectic because not only was PATS at the Capital, so were thousands of school students and teachers who were rallying for the SB 1 – the School Choice bill.  Additionally, there was a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.  There was also a rally of nurses and ER physicians asking for more funding for their cause.  All of these rallies took place on the majestic center staircase in the Capital Rotunda just a few feet from the PATS display.  These events allowed PATS an opportunity to educate many within the general public of the importance and value of an athletic trainer.

I urge every AT to work for your states’ Athletic Training Association and go to a Capital Hill Day, you won’t regret the experience!

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