Scope of Practice

Permissible Supervision Duties for North Carolina Medical Assistants

I recently received the following question:

[In North Carolina,] can a CMA (AAMA) be a supervisor over LPNs [licensed practical nurses] and RNs [registered nurses], as well as CMAs (AAMA)?

 To answer this question, note the following information from the “Frequently Asked Questions” webpage on the North Carolina Board of Nursing website:

Can a nurse be supervised by an unlicensed person or another discipline?

A non-nurse (other than a licensed physician) may not supervise nursing practice but could supervise basic employment issues (i.e., administrative supervision, human resource issues [such as] time, attendance, [and] dress code).

On the Job, Scope of Practice

Permissible Tuberculin Skin Test Tasks for Pennsylvania Medical Assistants 

I recently received the following question: 

I am a CMA (AAMA) working in Pennsylvania. What does Pennsylvania law allow medical assistants to do in regard to tuberculin skin tests? 

To answer this question, note the following from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Bureau of Human Services Licensing

Question: Are medical assistants permitted to read an individual’s TB [tuberculosis] skin test? 

Answer: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a TB skin test should be read by a “health-care worker trained to read tuberculin skin testing (TST) results.” Therefore, a medical assistant who has been trained to read TST results is considered qualified and is permitted to do so under the regulations. 

The laws of other states vary greatly concerning what medical assistants are permitted to do in regard to tuberculin skin tests. Please email me at DBalasa@aama-ntl.org with questions about specific states. 

delegation

Two State Nursing Boards Recognize Educated and Credentialed Medical Assistants

Earlier this year, Connecticut and South Carolina enacted legislation that empowered medical assistants in these states to perform tasks for which they are educated, credentialed, and competent. Recently, nursing boards in Delaware and South Dakota have similarly revised existing legislation to differentiate duties delegable to educated and credentialed medical assistants from tasks delegable to all other medical assistants.

Specifically, the Delaware Board of Nursing and the South Dakota Board of Nursing issued proposed regulations that allow licensed nurses to delegate to formally educated and credentialed medical assistants the administration of medications by speci­fied routes. Like the Connecticut and South Carolina legislation, these newer revisions speak to the ongoing demand for knowledgeable and competent medical assistants to perform a greater number of advanced functions.

Learn more about this trend and read supporting documentation in the November/December 2022 Public Affairs article, “Two State Nursing Boards Recognize Educated and Credentialed Medical Assistants,” on the “Public Affairs Articles” webpage.

Accreditation

Medical Assisting Program Accreditation: The Who and the How

I often receive questions like the following about which organization accredits medical assisting programs:

I have always been under the impression that the American Association of Medical Assistants® [AAMA] accredits medical assisting programs. I was recently told that this is not the case. Could you please help me understand?

Let me begin by emphasizing that the AAMA does not accredit medical assisting programs.

There are two bodies that are legally authorized to accredit medical assisting programs: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) is a Committee on Accreditation (CoA) of CAAHEP. A CoA is a board or committee that—in conjunction with CAAHEP—takes responsibility for certain actions:

CAAHEP is the legal entity that accredits allied health education programs.

The AAMA is a sponsoring organization of MAERB. A sponsoring organization is defined by the CAAHEP Policies and Procedures as follows:

502 Sponsoring Organizations. Sponsoring organization members are organizations or agencies that establish or support one or more Committees on Accreditation and support the CAAHEP accreditation system.

In conclusion, here are the three key takeaways:

  1. The AAMA is a sponsoring organization of MAERB.
  2. MAERB is a CoA of CAAHEP. MAERB and CAAHEP develop accreditation standards (which are noted in Standards) for medical assisting programs. MAERB evaluates the compliance of programs with the Standards and makes accreditation recommendations to CAAHEP.
  3. CAAHEP reviews the accreditation recommendations from MAERB and accredits medical assisting programs.
Professional Identity

The Significance of the Words Registered and Certified in Credentials

I recently received the following question about medical assisting credentials: 

My new employer tells me that the [RMA(AMT)] credential is better than the CMA (AAMA) credential because the R in RMA stands for registered, and registered nurses (RNs) are licensed. Is this correct? 

This understanding is incorrect. The registered medical assistant (RMA) of American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the CMA (AAMA) are both national credentials. The presence of the word registered in a credential does not make it equivalent to a license. Similarly, the presence of the word certified in a credential does not make it inferior to a credential containing the word registered. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), for example, are licensed.