Scope of Practice

Scope of Practice Issues Persist in Connecticut

Medical assistants in Connecticut continue to face difficult challenges. At the time of this post, no scope of practice for medical assistants currently exists in Connecticut statutes or regulations. Furthermore, in an informal document entitled “Medical Assistant Information,” the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) describes the duties physicians may delegate to medical assistants. The DPH in this document explicitly states that medical assistants may not be delegated “medical administration by any route (including oxygen, immunizations, and tuberculin testing).”

I have been working with the Connecticut Society of Medical Assistants (CSMA) to request that the Connecticut General Assembly enact legislation enabling licensed physicians to delegate medication administration to medical assistants who have graduated from medical assisting programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and possess a current medical assisting credential acceptable to—and recognized by—the Connecticut Medical Examining Board and the DPH.

Recently, CSMA Public Policy Chair, Holly Martin, CMA (AAMA), and I penned a letter to Jennifer L. Filippone, chief of the Practitioner Licensing and Investigations Section of the Connecticut DPH. In this letter, we encouraged the passing of this legislation and detailed the benefits of doing so. As is the case with other states lacking such legislation, passing legislation would enhance the availability of health care for its citizens without decreasing the quality of that care. And, because medical assistants would continue to work under direct physician supervision, such legislation would not disrupt the health care delivery system. Finally, enacting this legislation would not have to create a licensure mechanism for medical assistants, and thus avoid increasing regulatory costs for the DPH.

I will write more thoroughly on this matter in an upcoming issue of CMA Today. In the meantime, I will continue to work with the CSMA in efforts to resolve this issue, and will keep you updated as the situation changes.