delegation, On the Job, Scope of Practice

Permissible Delegation to Medical Assistants in Response to COVID-19

In light of COVID-19, I am receiving many questions about changes in the scope of practice of medical assistants resulting from executive orders of governors and emergency legislation. The following example of a state-based question (New Hampshire) on medical assisting scope of practice serves as a blueprint for other state-based scope of practice questions.

“My employer is sending me to the hospital to work as an aid under the direction of nurses given the COVID-19 crisis. Is this going to get me in trouble? Can they do this?”

Medical assistants are “unlicensed assistive personnel” under the New Hampshire nursing law, and according to the rules of the New Hampshire Board of Nursing:

(b)  For nursing related tasks involving assistance with or the administration of medication, the following persons shall be eligible to be delegatees:

(1)  Any currently licensed RN [registered nurse] and APRN [advanced practice registered nurse];

(2)  Any currently licensed LPN [licensed practical nurse], only when:

a.  The method of medication administration is not intravenous; or

b.  The method of medication administration is intravenous and the LPN is in compliance with Nur 604.01 (b) and (c);

(3)  Unlicensed assistive personnel who have competency to perform the specific task to be delegated; [emphasis added]

If your state has similar legislation, then this New Hampshire example can apply to you too. For instance, Arizona nursing law says that medical assistants are permitted to work as “unlicensed assistive personnel” who can be delegated tasks by an RN or LPN.

Check with the AAMA State Scope of Practice Laws webpage to find key legislative materials for your state.

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