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.

About Donald A. Balasa

Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, chief executive officer and legal counsel for the American Association of Medical Assistants, keeps his eye on what is happening in the profession.
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7 Responses to Scope of Practice Issues Persist in Connecticut

  1. ALLISON MULLEN says:

    I AM IN THE STATE OF OHIO, OUR PRACTICE IS GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING. I AM THE TEAM LEADER FOR OUR PHYSCIAN’S OFFICE(WE HAVE 2 DOs & 3 CNPs) AND THE HOSPITAL THAT WE WORK FOR IS TELLING US (MAs) THAT WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE IMMUNIZATIONS OR ANY TYPES OF INJECTIONS. HOW AS A MA FOR OVER 25 YEARS CAN I GET THE STATE OF OHIO TO CHANGE THIS LAW/RULING?? IF THEY MAKE IT SO ONLY LPNs OR RNs CAN DO THIS ALOT OF GREAT MEDICAL ASSISTANCES WILL BE OUT OF A JOB!!!! ANY SUGGESTIONS???
    THANK YOU
    ALLISON

    • Thank you for your question.

      Ohio law clearly permits physicians to delegate to competent and knowledgeable working under their direct supervision in outpatient settings the intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous injections. I will e-mail you the specific excerpts from the Ohio law.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  2. Alison Fontecchio says:

    Hello Mr. Balasa,
    I am a CMA/CPT and live in Connecticut. When I decided to become a CMA the program director at the school told me that we are not allowed to give any kind of injections but that the idea of replacing the LPNs with us is was in the forth coming. I have not seen any changes in our status or LPNs fazing out. The Nuring Association protects the LPNs. Where exactly is our position on the issue? I have been a CMA/CPT for four years and we still do a lot for the practice but to have a description of a higher caliber presented to us to become a CMA is a little miss leading. We will have patience. Maybe a change for the better in the near future. Lets not forget I do take pride in being a CMA because an LPN can not run the entire medical office front to back like us!!Thank you for being in our corner.

    Sincerely ,

    Alison Fontecchio CMA/CPT

    • Thank you for your e-mail. The Connecticut Society of Medical Assistants has proposed a change in the Connecticut law regarding what duties can be delegated to medical assistants. I will send you the Connecticut Society proposal to your e-mail address.

      Thank you again for your question.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  3. Pingback: Favorable Report from the Connecticut Department of Public Health | Legal Eye

  4. Nancy says:

    Unfortunately, many hospitals now make you go through their own education and testing prior to allowing their CMA to give injections. I have been a CMA for 14 years and it’s by far ridiculous. Problem is that allot of CMA’s have never looked at the inserts for the meds. They have no idea of side effects, what it actually does in the body etc. Doctor’s do not know how to give the meds or what needle to use. They just tell us an order to give it. I have seen allot of dangerous things going on in doctor’s offices . MA schools do not teach about the medications at all. Just fundamentals of how to give an injection and a doseage course. Medications, not vaccines, are widely used in the teaching hospitals and huge clinics. Problem is they do not even want to learn about the meds they are giving and they have been there a long time and it is assumed by the staff that they know what they are doing. I think that the the schools should be re-evaluated. The criteria has changed to meet the pass and fail rates and to create revenue.

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