The District’s Next Regulatory Overreach
Under the auspice of ‘consumer protection’ the District of Columbia (D.C.) Board of Physical Therapy is currently writing rules that will impose a licensing requirement for certified Personal Trainers which will soon be required by law.
The new regulation is part of a D.C. City Council bill Mayor Vincent Gray signed authorizing the creation of a registry of Personal Trainers for insurance company billing under rules required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule is currently being reviewed by the Board of Physical Therapy, will be released for public comment then published as law.
As the use of Wellness Programs continues to grow and encourage individuals to make healthy choices in diet and exercise, so will the opportunity for private health insurers to allow for billable hours for Personal Trainers, under ACA guidelines.
The current process to become a Personal Trainer (in all fifty states) includes individual or classroom study, then the successful completion of a nationally accredited examination. While many people use them interchangeably, there is a distinction between obtaining a ‘certificate’ and a ‘license’: certificates are authorized by private organizations; licenses by public statute and governmental jurisdiction.
If the anticipated requirements are put into effect, fitness organizations may be forced to temporarily halt physical training services while working to qualify staff to be licensed in this area. This is a gross overuse of regulatory oversight. Not only could the new rules add an additional and unnecessary requirement for industry compliance, it could also become a model for states who want to regulate the fitness industry in a similar way.
Occupational licensing should be made optional and provide businesses a competitive advantage in their ability to offer tiered levels of credentialed services to customers, ultimately encouraging job growth and entrepreneurship in the fitness industry. To further review please read the ALEC position on occupational licensing: http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/resolution-on-occupational-licensing/