Public Advocacy Award for Joni Jenkins accepted by Greg Rose, member of the Kentucky Athletic Trainers’ Society.
Recently, the BOC hosted the 2013 Athletic Trainer Regulatory Conference and convened a reception and awards ceremony for the Public Advocacy Award recipients. The Public Advocacy Award recognizes individuals demonstrating leadership in protecting athletic training consumers. Public Advocacy Award recipients are leaders in the conception, construction and/or modification of Athletic Trainer (AT) regulation that protects the public.
Congratulations to the 2013 Public Advocacy Award recipients:
Hawaii Athletic Trainers’ Association
Joni Jenkins, a representative to the Kentucky legislature, was nominated by the Kentucky Athletic Trainers’ Society (KATS). Her support of ATs and KATS started in 2009, as a result of the tragic heat-related death of a young man participating in football conditioning. The death occurred at a high school in her legislative district where no AT was present.
That same year, Rep. Jenkins introduced student-athlete safety legislation that resulted in mandatory safety training for all coaches. During the session, several members of KATS had an opportunity to meet with her and discuss the advantages of having an AT at the school where the tragedy occurred. As a result of that meeting, she recognized the role that ATs could play in all aspects of student-athlete safety. She has since supported efforts to expand availability of athletic training services to all middle and high schools in the state.
Jenkins has successfully passed legislation mandating concussion care, while in the process recognizing ATs as one of the four groups of medical professionals who can evaluate a concussion. KATS’s most recent legislative victory was again led by Jenkins. She sponsored a bill that requires ATs to be licensed by the state, rather than certified. Greg Rose, ATC, a member of KATS accepted the award on behalf of Jenkins.
Lisa Walker accepts her Public Advocacy Award.
Lisa Walker is an AT from Utah who was nominated by Valerie Herzog, vice president of the Utah Athletic Trainers’ Association (UATA). Walker has worked tirelessly for many years on behalf of the state of Utah.
When Herzog arrived in Utah in 2004, Walker was serving as UATA president and aggressively pursuing licensure for ATs. With support from others, Walker had been working on this initiative for several years, meeting with legislators to build support, finding a bill sponsor and creating a promotional video. The licensure law passed in February of 2006 and is a strong piece of legislation that significantly benefits the ATs in Utah.
After completing her second term as UATA President, Walker served as president of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainers’ Association (District 7) and now serves as a member at large on the UATA Board of Directors. In 2011, she was instrumental in the passage of concussion legislation in Utah, working closely with the Utah High School Activities Association. She has served as the AT representative with that organization for several years. After the concussion legislation was passed, she organized and ran several sessions around the state of Utah to educate ATs on the new requirements and their implementation.
In 2012, she was instrumental in introducing another bill in Utah, Insurance Billing for ATs (HB 242). The bill did not pass, as was expected, but Walker spent countless hours meeting with UATA’s lobbyist, ATs in Utah, legislators and insurance executives. These discussions led to formal negotiations and eventual billing agreements with multiple insurance companies in Utah who have agreed to reimburse for services provided by ATs.
In 2013, she was instrumental in drafting and building support for another bill in Utah, H.B. 146 Health Care Provider Amendments.
“When we initially sought legislative support for third-party reimbursement for ATs in Utah in 2012, we realized that a law already existed in the Utah code that we had intended to introduce: nondiscrimination among healthcare professionals,” said Herzog. “However, we quickly realized that we had neglected to identify ATs in the licensure law as healthcare providers. This excluded us not just from the nondiscrimination law, but other laws that serve to protect athletic trainers and other healthcare providers, such as liability protections and protections against assault by others. To identify athletic trainers, officially, as healthcare providers, Lisa was able to build enough support to pass H.B. 146.”
Walker doesn’t work in a clinic, nor does she stand to personally benefit from third-party reimbursement. However, it doesn’t matter what the issue at hand is, if UATA decides to pursue legislation, Walker is always the first one to take the bull by the horns, build support and get things done. She has spent hundreds of hours at the Utah State Capitol testifying before committees, meeting with legislators, meeting with UATA’s lobbyist, organizing other ATs and doing whatever it takes to advocate for ATs in Utah.
Louise Inafuku, the President of Hawaii Athletic Trainers’ Association (HATA), accepts the award on behalf of HATA.
Louise Inafuku, the President of Hawaii Athletic Trainers’ Association (HATA) accepted the award on behalf of HATA. Cindy Clivio, a member of HATA, nominated the association. Clivio said HATA is deserving due to the successful passages of ACT 198, which regulates the profession of athletic training, and an athlete safety bill that creates a concussion awareness program for high school student athletes, parents, coaches, officials, school staff and ATs.
Last year marked the end of a long and arduous pathway to regulation for ATs in Hawaii. ACT 198 is a registration bill that is equivalent to licensure in terms of public protection. For many years Hawaii was an “exemption” state. The exemption served HATA well, as the association had a small membership and most members were in traditional settings. As HATA grew, it began seeing the need for legislation that would provide for appropriate public protection. Through the generous support of NATA legislative grants, HATA was able to hire a lobbyist who was instrumental in helping the association move forward.
Meanwhile, HATA was asked to contribute to a concussion bill. Instead of letting others define this, HATA took ownership of it and created a bill that not only has all the components of most other states’ bills (removal from play, physician clearance, etc.), but also an educational program for all those associated with high school athletics. Annual education is required for coaches, parents, students, officials, ATs and school staff. The bill also says that students must be removed from play when exhibiting signs and symptoms of concussion, must be cleared by a medical provider trained in the management of concussions, and must be monitored by an AT, when available, during a gradual return to play. This bill sailed through the legislative process with no opposition.