The New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association Takes to the Capital for Lobby Day
Athletic trainers (ATs) from across the state traveled to Albany on May 22nd to meet with Legislators and garner support for Bills S4465 and A6678, legislation that would update the ATs Practice Act. In meeting with over twenty Legislators as well as other NYS organizations, much progress was made towards the future passage of the bills, and it was ensured that these key issues would remain on the minds of Legislators as they head to their home districts as the 2013 legislative session is now complete.
Albany, NY (PRWEB) July 11, 2013
On the morning of Wednesday, May 22nd, fourteen certified athletic trainers (ATs) from across New York State arrived at the regal steps of the capital building in Albany for Lobby Day. This is an annual event for the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA), but this year’s effort took on increased significance with the recent introduction of bills to update the AT Practice Act (S4465 – Grisanti [R] and A6678 – Lavine [D]).
The purpose of Lobby Day was simple: to educate Legislators on the profession of athletic training, and spread the word about the aforementioned AT bills and why they are so important. Each meeting ended with one request – that each Legislator support these bills, or in political terms, sign on as co-sponsor.
In many ways, educating Legislators about the AT profession and promoting the Practice Act update as a way to ensure more safety and healthcare for active individuals in NY State is easy. The more challenging aspect is maneuvering through the politics of the legislative process and having the stamina and drive to see this process through to fruition.
Fortunately, there was a strong contingent of ATs from across the state in attendance who represented a wide variety of work settings: ATs from High Schools, Colleges and Universities, clinics, and those in faculty teaching positions. Each AT spoke confidently about the overall education and skill set of certified athletic trainers and the roles and responsibilities of their individual settings during the meetings. In doing so, they demonstrated to each Legislator the true professionals that ATs are and the need for the Practice Act update to allow ATs to practice in NY State to their full potential.
In addition to meeting with over twenty Legislators in the Senate and Assembly on Lobby Day, meetings with other state organizations were also carried out in the preceding and following days. NYSATA President Deanna Errico, PT, DPT, ATC and NYSATA Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair Christine Jenkins, MS, ATC spearheaded meetings with the Medical Society of the State of New York, NYS Physical Therapy Association, and representatives from the NYS Dieticians and Nutritionists organizations.
The goal of these meetings was to better inform them of the AT bills and open up discussion related to the bill language to answer any of their questions. It is customary to hold these meetings with other healthcare providers in the spirit of collegiality, especially with professions that ATs work with, or even those who may share a patient population. It is common for Practice Acts to overlap in some areas when there are similarities in practice, and as such, some of the updates in the AT bills may indirectly impact other healthcare professions.
All in all, the ATs received mostly positive feedback from Legislators and others with whom they met. By the end of the day, several Legislators agreed to sign on as co-sponsors for the bills. One in particular, Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D – Long Island), took a special interest in the bill as she underwent AT education herself while at Hofstra University as an undergraduate. While this is certainly good news, much more work remains to position both bills to be brought up for a vote and potentially passed.
Some questions were raised regarding the possibility of unintended consequences, and this was helpful to the ATs and Legislators alike. Consideration to all aspects of potential changes from the new bills allows ATs to better engage in discussion with other healthcare professionals to consider their perspectives and work with them moving forward.
This year’s Lobby Day served as an excellent starting point for the advancement of bills S4465 and A6678. NYSATA representatives are well aware of the political process and will continue to move ahead towards next year’s legislative session. To that end, NYSATA and its members will continue to speak with Legislators while they are in their home districts. Of most importance are Legislators on the Assembly and Senate Higher Education Committees – those who will vote on the AT bills in future sessions. NYSATA leaders will also continue discussions with other healthcare professionals in NY State to address their concerns.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” says Jenkins. “This year’s Lobby Day was a good start, but that alone won’t be enough. We [ATs] are a relatively small profession within NY State, and therefore need to make sure that we are all active in talking to our Legislators. They have thousands of bills on the docket, so the only way to get their attention is to be a loud and consistent voice.”
Things in Albany have indeed quieted down, but the work for ATs to lobby for their bills has just begun. For anyone who would like to add their support, please contact a NYSATA representative or your local NYS Assemblymember and NYS Senator.
NYSATA, founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in New York State. Comprised of over 1,200 certified and practicing athletic trainers, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the regional Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) and District Two of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10918630.htm