Medical Assistants as Pharmacy Technicians

I have been receiving an increasing number of questions similar to the following:

Can a CMA (AAMA) work as a pharmacy technician in my state?  And, if so, can that CMA (AAMA) administer injections and take blood pressures under the supervision of a pharmacist?

Here is my response:

Thank you for this question.  A medical assistant—even a CMA (AAMA)—would have to meet the state law requirements and become a pharmacy technician in order to work in that capacity under the supervision of a pharmacist.  Once a CMA (AAMA) is registered by the state as a pharmacy technician, the scope of practice for this individual would be the same as all other pharmacy technicians as specified by the laws of that state.

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.
This entry was posted in Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, delegation, medication administration, On the Job, Professional Identity, Scope of Practice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Medical Assistants as Pharmacy Technicians

  1. Julie Fahlsing says:

    Are there CMAs traveling currently. .like the ” traveling RN ” does

    • Thank you for your question. There is nothing in the laws of any state that forbid a medical assistant from worker for more than one employer. Thus, if this is your definition of a “traveling medical assistant,” this arrangement is legally permissible.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • Beverly June Hubbard says:

        Hi Don,
        I am Beverly June Hubbard from the Greater Spokane Chapter in Washington State.
        I have a different situation we have a MA -R , she didn’t turn in new application for switching to a new provider. So she is working on this. But can she work in an capacity.
        Also can she really give vaccine to children ?/ Thanks for your help in this matter. My Email is bhubbard@nhhsqualitycare .org
        Beverly

      • Thank you for your question, Beverly. This medical assistant cannot carry her MA-R to another provider. The new provider would have to submit the necessary information to the WA Department of Health in order for this medical assistant to be eligible for performing any MA-R tasks, including vaccinations.

        I hope this is helpful, Beverly. I will also send this to your e-mail address.

        Don

        Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
        Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
        American Association of Medical Assistants
        Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
        The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

    • Summer Aulich says:

      I have seen companies advertising for “traveling CMA” positions and I have a graduate who holds such a position. So, yes. Companies like that exist.

  2. When an MA is phone triaging what is permissable for the MA to ask and at what point is it considered an assessment, I am presently getting mixed answers. This is for the state of Pennsylvania.

    Also is it mandatory for MA’s to maintain there certification or just recommended?

    • Thank you for your question. Although increasing numbers of employers prefer to hire CMAs (AAMA), and there are legal advantages in doing so (I will send to your e-mail one of my articles supporting this position), Pennsylvania law does not require medical assistants to be CMAs (AAMA).

      However, a CMS regulation states that only “credentialed medical assistants” (in addition to licensed health care professionals) are permitted to enter orders into the CPOE system for meaningful use calculation purposes under the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs. Thus, medical assisting credentialing is required for order entry to be counted toward meeting the meaningful use measures of the Incentive Programs.

      I will send you my legal opinion letter for Pennsylvania and another of my articles that distinguishes between telephone triage and telephone screening.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • Shelah A Bechtel says:

        I am highly interested in distinguishing between telephone triage and telephone screening as well. Would you happen to have a legal opinion letter for Ohio? Thank you in advance.

      • Thank you for your question. Ohio law does not specifically address this issue. I will send to your e-mail excerpts from articles I have written about this.

        Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
        Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
        American Association of Medical Assistants
        Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
        The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • Thank you for the information. Unfortunately I did not receive the email of articles that distinguises between telephone triage and telephone screening. Can you please send again. Jill_M.Brantley@LVHN.org Thank you

  3. LaKeithia Lyles says:

    I’ve been a medical assistant for 7yrs and certified for 2yrs. My credentials are under ARMA. I was hired with this certification and given notification that the expiration date was near, by my employer. A month ago, I’m then told that my credentials from ARMA are not recognized. Once this was told to me I immediately began to question ARMA. In there response states that, they are federally recognized by the government. They are qualified for meaningful use by CMS. Yes, they are an independent organization, but meet all the required standards under law.

    Could you explain to me why I’m being told different?

    • Thank you for your question. Do you have any formal medical assisting education? Would you also be able to send me the information you received from ARMA?

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • L. Lyles says:

        Thank you for your response. I’m not clear on what you mean by “formal education”. Yes, I would be able to send you what ARMA sent me. Do you have a direct contact Email?

      • Yes. Please e-mail me at dbalasa@aama-ntl.org Did you ever attend and complete a medical assisting program in a school?

        Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
        Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
        American Association of Medical Assistants
        Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
        The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • L. Lyles says:

        Yes, I’ve completed in 2009. I will Email you the information later this evening or in the morning.

  4. Patricia Carpenter says:

    I am an Older medical assistant,A registered medical assistant took state exam ,passed registered with A.M.T American Medical Technologist 1988. Graduated at Accredited Program ,Registered currently what is the diiference? Is the CMA just someone who has graduated more resent?

    • Thank you for your question. The RMA of AMT is a different medical assisting credential offered by a different entity. It has different eligibility pathways than those of the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination. I will send additional information to your e-mail address.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

  5. Susan Ellis says:

    Is a CMA in New Jersey allowed to enter into orders using CPOE for diagnostic tests, immunizations and medications and then have the provider electronically sign off the orders?

    • Thank you for your question. New Jersey law permits physicians to delegate to CMAs (AAMA) working under their supervision in outpatient settings the entering into the CPOE system of the physicians’ medication, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging orders. The delegating provider would then review, approve, and electronically sign the orders.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

  6. Debra Ray says:

    I am currently NRCMA certified in order to become CMA certified do one have to complete an associate program instead of a CE credit program

    • Thank you for your question. An individual must have graduated from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program in order to be eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

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