What's required to be a service provider with an insurance company and what does that mean for the patient
Medical providers must apply to each insurance company in order to have direct billing privileges. Approved medical service providers such as athletic therapists are confirmed by either provincial (MATA) or national (CATA) governing bodies depending on the insurance company, that the member is in good-standing (up-to-date with certifications, insurance, etc.). Athletic therapists in Canada have the designation CAT(C) with the second "C" identifying Canadian.
Since the profession of athletic therapy in Canada is currently working on licensure, not all insurance providers allow athletic therapists to have direct-billing privileges, have access to online portals, or confirm a patient's insurance coverage details. That being said, the patient may be able to submit receipts for athletic therapy services with their private insurance company's online portal or by mail.
Please note that sometimes insurance companies may include athletic therapy (AT) services with physiotherapy (PT) as a combined coverage and/or have printed material that does not list athletic therapy services, just physiotherapy but that plan does cover both medical services. When in doubt, contact your insurance provider to confirm your insurance coverage details.
Athletic therapy services are considered a medical expense with the CRA which means that co-payments or full balances paid may be applied towards your income taxes. Contact your tax professional to confirm on those details and updates.
The Canadian Athletic Therapists Association is the National governing body for certified athletic therapists in Canada, who must be in good standing to use the designation CAT(C), by maintaining professional standards, insurance coverage and follow scope of practice.
In Canada, these professionals have the right to use the trademarked title "Certified Athletic Therapist." More casually but still acceptable titles are: athletic therapist, AT, sports therapist, and la thérapie du sport. Their American colleagues have the designation, certified athletic trainer or ATC.
The term "Trainer" refers to an individual who has a designation in personal training. Please be use the proper title to show respect.
Athletic therapists in Canada are found working in clinics, field (sporting events and/or designated team AT), educational institutions, research, insurance companies (case managers), hospitals, industrial workplaces, medical retail and orthopedics.
"The MATA is a non profit organization, dedicated to the promotion of Athletic Therapy in the province of MB. Our purpose is to protect the public through education, certification and discipline standards for its members, as set out by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association and upheld by Manitoba Athletic Therapists Association.
Our goal is to enhance the quality of health care provided by Athletic Therapists and to advance the profession in our province."
There are 2 accredited institutions in the province of Manitoba for individuals seeking a profession in athletic therapy. Athletic therapist certification candidates cannot apply for the national exam with the CATA until they have completed their undergraduate degree which includes experience gained from required clinic (600 hours) and field (600 hours) practical hours.