A new business to regulate | Coaches Corner

February 10, 2019
business regulations

Incrementalism, Starting in DC

Just like Fitness, Wellness, and Weight Control, it takes time and patience to move the scale.  Politicians call this process, Incrementalism, Personal Trainers call it Results, and as George Bush says, " you can call it a banana", it all boils down to Bureaucratic Red-tape, and being Regulated out of Business. 

Washington Post Writes

For consumers in DC, and eventually Massachusetts and other states where this type of registration or licensure is under debate, you could cause some gyms close while owners and trainers obtain suitable certifications.  At this point for Trainers in DC it is a foregone regulation, but if you are not affected by this Law today, you have to ask yourself, is this my fight, will it impact my bottom line or eliminate it all together?

After decades of unregulated existence in all 50 states, the booming field of Personal Trainers is braced for a wave of scrutiny that is expected to transform the industry and could make or break some of the biggest fitness companies in the country.

The new regulations, being written by and for the nation’s capital city, will create a registry of all personal trainers in the District only. But they are expected to become a model that winners and losers in the fight believe will be replicated elsewhere.

The credit — or blame — for the newfound urgency can be traced in part to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. A variety of workplace wellness programs and preventive health-care initiatives called for in the law could soon translate into rivers of billable hours for those with credentials to keep American waistlines in check.

And that means the race is on to be eligible for those credentials, which could eventually lead to the ability to bill insurance companies for services, much like such professionals as dietitians and physical therapists. With billions of dollars potentially at stake, lawyers and lobbyists are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to shape the nation’s first-ever rules over who has the right to tell someone else how to exercise

At first glance, this may sound like a good thing, the ability to bill insurance companies always sounds tempting, but the down stream problems always go unseen until it is too late.  

Gay Rights, and the right for Gay's to Marry  became an one of those very Down-stream issues on May 18, 1970.  Jack Baker and Michael McConnell walked into a courthouse in Minneapolis, paid $10, and applied for a marriage license. The county clerk, Gerald Nelson, refused to give it to them. Obviously, he told them, marriage was for people of the opposite sex; it was silly to think otherwise. The right to marry the person of your dreams, sounds simple enough, right?  But that simple act requires a Licence, issued by the state, and their reasons seem to be murky at best when years later it is left up to government employees. 

We have always granted marriage licenses to sterile people, people too old to have children, irresponsible people, and people incapable of love and friendship, so making babies was not at the heart of the denial.  Impotence, lack of interest in sex, and refusal to allow intercourse may count as grounds for divorce, but they don’t preclude marriage.

So some self-righteous zealot county clerk, thinks marriage was for people of the opposite sex and "it was silly to think otherwise" and because he thought Marriage should be  between a man and a woman, a battle ensued. The only commitment was to Love, Honor, and Cherish through Sickness and in Health, richer or poorer tell death do you part, any two people can fulfill that agreement, yet it ended up in the Supreme Court after a 45 year legal fight.  

So you can see that something as simple as two people falling in love has, over time, created one big legal mess, now let's add in Workplace Wellness Programs, Preventive health-care initiatives, Tort Law, City Councils, self appointed Coalitions, Politicians and toss in Public Safety for good measure and it leaves us with one Big Shit Sandwich.  

Is that worth the possibility to bill some Insurance Company, if it's even covered, and if you are one of the Lucky ones vying for that coveted credentials?  You will no longer be proving yourself to your potential clients, or showing them past successes, and proven results, but convincing a non elected, board of bureaucrats that you are worthy of their blessing.

Layered into the D.C. regulatory fight is a battle between CrossFit and a consortium of established sports medicine organizations that have banded together under the title of the Coalition for Registration of Exercise Professionals.  Graham Melstrand, president of the board, has been among the few voicing strong support for the District’s effort.
“First and foremost, the purpose of the law is to enhance consumer protection for the residents of the District of Columbia,” he said. Melstrand said industry estimates show 40 percent of all trainers have no gym affiliation, meaning they are accountable to no one even though they are often in positions of authority with clients.

Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s chief executive, bristles at that measurement, saying his organization has been validated in other important ways. the CrossFit programs have been adopted as in-house workout routines by several military Special Operations forces and police departments,  “ This has nothing to do with public safety or public health” he said.

By a strict reading of the law, no personal trainer is operating legally in the nation’s capital because the deadline to register has passed.  If Glassman feels this is a worthy fight, even thought it has already been signed into law in DC, then it must be over the coming wave to the rest of independent trainers across the nation.

Some exercise specialists who work most closely with medical groups say the D.C. physical therapy board has an inherent conflict of interest and is trying to restrict professionals with whom their own industry is in direct competition. They point to draft language that could be construed as cutting out personal trainers from potentially billable future work.

This issue is more agenda driven than Public Safety, and the big players will be lining up in your city for the profits to be made soon enough.  

Senora Simpson, chairwoman of the D.C. board, a physical therapist, cited while pushing for her board to have the power to regulate personal trainers.
“We all have heard anecdotal reports of injuries, sexual misconduct and misrepresentation of titles by persons claiming to be competent in that area, Simpson testifying before a D.C. Council committee. called the lack of any registration or licensure of personal trainers “a nationwide failure.”

This will be the same arguments you will hear across the nation in every City Council Meeting, therefore, you must become armed with real facts before council members in your neck of the woods rule on your future based on their personal Knee-Jerk reactions.

A spokesman for DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, Michael Czin, said in an e-mail statement that the administration is “committed to developing thoughtful regulations that protect residents’ safety and health while creating an environment where businesses thrive.”  and went on to add “We will continue to work with all stakeholders to develop the rules.”  Melstrand said the issue is bigger than concerns about CrossFit. It’s about finding ways for the profession of personal trainers to mature into more respected health-care roles.  

The term, Health-Care has a legal definition, listen to what they say, not what they are telling you.  The first thing to know is that standard of care is a legal term. It is not a medical term. That means that it is primarily lawyers, not doctors, who use the term.  

Public health law also focuses on legal issues in public health practice, and on the public health effects of legal practice, meaning you will need Malpractice insurance to go along with your New  Right to Train.  I don't know about you, but this sounds like a huge Can-of-worms, and is, by it's very legal  definition a foot in the door to massive Incrementalism, forcing Trainers to become Health Care Workers, and therefore Licenced, then insured and regulated or sued out of business.


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