Tuberculin Skin Tests

I am receiving an increasing number of questions about medical assistants reading tuberculin skin tests.  My opinion is that medical assistants are permitted to report their observations of the results of the test to the overseeing/delegating physician.  However, the physician must make the diagnosis.

About Donald 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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5 Responses to Tuberculin Skin Tests

  1. JBurkybile, MSN, RN-BC, CPN says:

    Donald,
    We have been allowing our credentialed medical assistants to read and document “normal/negative” Tb readings. They are educated in orientation to their role that if the patient displays any signs of redness, swelling, induration, or any other abnormal skin reactions that they must have a RN or provider complete an assessment of the placement site who will also document the results in our EMR.
    We began to allow CMA/RMAs to read TB tests to free up nurses except of course when the CMA/RMAs identify abnormal signs at the site of placement and either a nurse or provider assessment was required.
    Thanks for your comments. I will take them back to my organization to review and see if we need to change our practice.

  2. Maria Kilby says:

    As a practicing CMA, our provider, be them NP or MD allows us to read and document our findings when an abnormal is discovered we are to refer to our doctor for follow up observations,
    Our doctor takes over on all abnormal reading of any test results that are discovered.

  3. T Hays says:

    Isn’t reading a TB test considered diagnosing? Medical Assistants interpretation of a test? Most State Board of Healing Arts indicate that if an unlicensed health care professional works under the direct supervision of the MD, they are not allowed to use their judgement to interpret skin tests, which is considered practicing medicine/diagnosing.

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