Do insurance companies really feel that we do not provide the same level of care as other healthcare professionals? When it comes to orthopedic and functional rehabilitation, athletic trainers may better meet the goals and the needs of the patient compared to other health care providers and if states are willing to recognize this, we need to collectively help insurance companies come to the same realization.
One of the potential barriers to influencing insurance companies may be our classification by the federal government as technicians. Although it is not definitively defined by degree level, it seems other healthcare professionals who achieve professional masters or doctoral degrees do not face our same issues. On the contrary, those with bachelors degrees (nurses) are able to bill for care without facing the big bad insurance companies. So, what’s the deal?
The NATA has recently launched a pilot program in which Indiana is participating. Within this pilot program, all athletic trainers regardless of setting are encouraged to bill for services and are monitored in doing so. I personally struggle to see how traditional athletic training settings will effectively bill for service due to the nature of care, but I am hopeful that all athletic trainers will have the rights to do so. However, we (collectively and regardless of setting) must do a better job of measuring patient outcomes, using objective criteria for progression and return to activity, and document our care consistently and accurately. #TogetherWeMustDoBetter
Stephen Edwards LAT, ATC