The status of third party reimbursement for certified athletic trainers in the state of Indiana
The process of third party reimbursement is the means by which health care professionals are reimbursed for the services they perform. Obtaining third party reimbursement is very important for all athletic training settings. Without this ability, athletic trainers will not be able to increase their revenue, and in turn may become a financial liability to their employers. The purpose of this study was threefold. The first purpose was to determine the barriers preventing certified athletic trainers, ATCs, from receiving third party reimbursement. The second purpose was to ascertain the prevalence of third party reimbursement of ATCs in the State of Indiana was a second purpose. The third purpose was to determine which athletic training settings have been most successful in obtaining reimbursement.All participants for this study were certified, licensed athletic trainers currently employed as an ATC in the State of Indiana. The settings in which these participants were employed varied between each of the four athletic training settings; collegiate/university, clinic/clinic outreach, industrial, and high school. Participants were selected using systematic sampling from a roster obtained through the National Athletic Trainers' Association, NATA. Fifteen names were selected from each of the four settings, thus totaling sixty participants. There were a total of twenty-four respondents."The Status of Third Party Reimbursement for Certified Athletic Trainers in the State of Indiana" survey was created specifically for this study. The survey itself consists of 15 questions. Seven of these questions were closed-ended, five questions were based on a Likert Rating Scale ranging from Strongly Agree (SA) to Disagree (D), and three questions were open-ended. The survey was sent to all participants via postal mailings.This was a descriptive research study. The research questions in this study were analyzed using frequency counts and percentages. Results from this study indicated that a lack of education of employers and a lack of HCFA recognition were the most common barriers for athletic trainers. Only eight percent (n=2) of the surveyed population reported that they were currently being reimbursed for their athletic training services, both of those respondents were working in the industrial setting.This study indicates that reimbursement is not being achieved on a regular basis by ATCs in the State of Indiana. All athletic training settings must overcome their barriers to begin achieving reimbursement on a regular basis. This study should be replicated using a larger sample size, and in all 50 states. ATC employers and insurance companies also need to be studied to ensure that they understand the benefits third party reimbursement of ATC can bring to their companies, as well as to determine why certain ATC claims are accepted and subsequently reimbursement granted while other claims are denied.