The Coalition looks forward to the opportunity to work with policymakers, educators, health advocacy organizations, and other health and medical professions on policy that enhances the level of professionalism and opportunities for professionals who provide the leadership and expertise for communities looking to enhance their health, fitness or performance through movement, physical activity or exercise. As of 2020, CREP is currently following the legislation below to stay current JOIN
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Physical Activities Recommendations for Americans Act (PAR)
On behalf of the over 184,000 registered and certified exercise professionals whom we represent, CREP strongly supports H.R. 2891, the Physical Activities Recommendations for Americans Act. This bill, if passed, will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publish a report that provides physical activity recommendations at least every ten years based on the latest scientific evidence, and midway through each ten year cycle, a second report will highlight best practices and continuing issues in the physical activity arena. One of the gravest health challenges facing our nation is the rising prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity. Studies by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that 68 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children in the United States are obese or overweight and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that poor diet and physical inactivity cause over 400,000 deaths each year.
CREP believes that a way to combat obesity and rising health care costs is to promote physical activity by ensuring that Americans of every age and physical aptitude and their health care providers are well informed about the types and amounts of physical activity that people should perform to gain important health benefits. This bill is capable of doing this.
The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were designed to provide information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits for Americans aged 6 years and older, but no regular administrative process exists for subsequent revisions. The rapidly evolving nature of our scientific understanding of the benefits of physical activity makes it necessary for these guidelines to be updated at least every 10 years, making the passage and implementation of this bill essential for the health of America's citizens.
Imagine the impact of 185,000 registered exercise professionals speaking with one voice, providing informed guidance to policymakers with the goal of improving peoples' health through the adoption of physical activity interventions. CLICK HERE to contact your elected officials and ask your member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2891.
The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) would change the types of expenditures that could be payable out of tax-favored health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), medical savings accounts (MSAs) and/or medical reimbursement arrangements. The PHIT Act would allow consumers to include prevention in the form of increased physical activity, allowing fitness center dues, payments for some exercise equipment, youth sports/physical activity fees and other costs associated with active lifestyles to be paid with pre-tax dollars up to $1,000 cap for individuals and $2,000 for families. The PHIT Act gives consumers the option of using their pre-tax medical funds for physical activity to prevent illness and to live a healthy lifestyle.
Athletic Trainers: MO SB670
This past January, CREP became aware of a proposed bill in the State of Missouri regarding athletic trainers that was quickly moving through the legislative process. The purpose of SB670 was to repeal certain regulations relating to athletic trainers and enacting new rules. The Missouri Athletic Trainers Association (MoATA) supported the bill and was working to advance it. Specifically, the title protection language they were seeking was "athletic trainer (AT), Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT), athletic therapist, or Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)." CREP leadership spoke many times with MoATA regarding the bill's language. MoATA expressed their intent was not to infringe, prohibit, or attempt to "own" any skill set, procedure, or patient population, including those represented by CREP. Rather, MoATA stated that the rules and regulations were to provide protections for the public as well as a greater framework for athletic trainers practicing in Missouri.
CREP was generally supportive of the bill's purpose of recognizing and clarifying the broad scope of work that Athletic Trainers are qualified to perform and that reflects the good work that they do. However, CREP had concerns regarding some of the proposed language. CREP reached out to Missouri State Senator Lincoln Hough, whom introduced the legislation, on behalf of our collective 184,000 registered and certified exercise professionals, including over 4,800 in the State of Missouri. Our purpose was to request enhancements to the bill that would help differentiate and clarify the distinction between the professions of Athletic Training and other exercise professions.
It was CREP's belief that the new definitions for the "Athletic Trainer" and "Athlete" contained within the bill could negatively impact key stakeholders including consumers, professionals, and employers in the State of Missouri. Specifically, our concern was regarding the absence of an exemption that recognized the ability of exercise professionals to practice within their scope of work. In an effort to avoid confusion and potential unintended consequences associated with the language in bill, we respectfully requested the following language be included in Section 334.721 2 where it states - The provisions of section 334.700 to 334.725 shall not apply to the following persons:
Exercise professionals (i.e., Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Pilates Teacher, Exercise Physiologist, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Strength and Conditioning Coach) with specific qualifications and/or hold certification(s) from a nationally accredited program in their respective area, who develop and implement physical fitness programs to improve health, fitness or sports performance for individual clients, patients, or organized groups.
In September 2020, we learned that Missouri Senate Bill 670, regarding athletic trainers, was included in a larger 146 page omnibus bill (HB 2046) that focused on expanding licensing reciprocity in the State. The omnibus bill introduced by Representative Grier originated in the Missouri House and was passed and signed into law by the Governor. Due to changes in the process implemented as a result of COVID-19, this bill did not follow the normal legislative process, which made it more difficult to track.
We have spoken with the past and current President of the Missouri Athletic Trainers Association (MoATA) about our ongoing concerns regarding the language and have been in contact with the Director of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration seeking a response to the letter the MoATA sent to them on our behalf. The Director said that they have not addressed our questions yet, but she will ask the Board when they will. The questions requested opinions on how/if the changes in the regulations will affect CREP registered exercise professionals.
There is still an opportunity through the regulatory process to clarify who will, or will not be, affected by the changes in these regulations. If necessary, we will engage the regulators to ensure that exercise professionals have the opportunity to practice their craft to the full extent of their current scope of work. We also know that MoATA plans to seek inclusion of what language was left out in future legislative efforts. This will provide us with an opportunity to have the CREP language included in a future bill if necessary.
Fixing American's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act
Walking and biking for transportation, known as active transportation has significant benefits. Regular active travel is associated with a decrease in chronic disease and improved physical and mental health outcomes. Active travel to work is associated with improved employee health and greater productivity while walking and biking to school is associated with improved health outcomes for students and better focus. More active transportation also has benefits for communities, with decreased pollution and congestion from traffic as well as positive economic outcomes. Despite these known benefits, rates of participation in active travel remain quite low in the United States, especially in comparison with other countries. Less than 20% of all trips in the US are made via walking or bicycling, despite the fact that nearly 60% of all trips made are less than 3 miles one way.
There are many things that can influence active travel, though two of the most influential factors include the environment to support walking and bicycling and policies that address safety and access to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. A supportive environment for walking and biking can include adequate sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, off-street trails/paths, on-street bike lanes, bicycle parking, or traffic calming strategies. Policies that support active travel may include laws addressing safety (e.g. safe passing, distracted drivers, sharing the road) or infrastructure policy to ensure that provisions are made for all modes of travel (e.g. Complete Streets, Safe Routes to School). Rates of fatalities for bicyclists and pedestrians are much higher in the United States compared with other countries that have greater rates of active travel. These deaths are not evenly distributed as well – pedestrians and cyclists living in low-income or ethnically diverse neighborhoods are more likely to be killed compared with those living in predominately White and middle- or high-income neighborhoods. Safety of pedestrians and cyclists is very closely tied to the physical environment where individuals are engaging in these behaviors. Concerns about safety from traffic is one of the leading barriers to engaging in active transportation for all groups of the population, though is of special concern for women and people in middle or older age groups. These concerns lead to lower participation rates in active travel for these populations.
The Fixing American's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub.114-94) has provided long-term funding for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. This Act is supportive of active transportation with an increase in funding for walking and bicycling, an expanded education program and an emphasis on addressing the needs of all modes of transportation beyond automobiles. The expanded focus on safety includes education and enforcement strategies on laws that impact pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The provisions afforded in this Act are encouraging for active travel and will enhance access and opportunity for all groups of the population to benefit from active travel and the potential for all communities to experience improvements in the environment and reap economic benefits. CREP supports the FAST Act and its mission to support walking and bicycling for transportation. Efforts to encourage physical activity via active travel should include support of this Act which has the potential for long term and widespread health, environmental and economic benefits.