On the Job

Montana Licensure Requirements for CMAs (AAMA)

I recently received the following question from a CMA (AAMA)® working in Montana:

As a [CMA (AAMA)], is it possible and legal for me to take a job as a medical laboratory technician or medical technologist in the state of Montana? … Or, [do] I need to take any classes to be certified to do this type of job?

To answer this question, please review the application for Montana licensure of clinical laboratory scientists, including medical laboratory technicians. Note the following excerpt:

CLINICAL LABORATORY TECHNICIAN

• Graduated with an associate degree or possess 60 semester or 90 quarter hours in a science-related discipline, or completed a military medical laboratory training program of at least 12 months in duration.

• Passed a technician examination offered by a national certifying body for clinical laboratory scientists.

There are some exemptions under federal law, such as those detailed in the Montana Code Annotated 2019. Note the following language, which states that an individual performing only Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)–waived tests does not have to become licensed:

37-34-302. Exemptions. (1) This chapter does not limit or regulate the practice of licensed physicians, including but not limited to pathologists.

(2) This chapter does not apply to:

(e) any person performing only waived tests as provided for in the federal clinical laboratory regulations set forth in 42 CFR part 493.

On the Job

Age Requirements for Ohio Medical Assistants

I recently received the following question from an Ohio educator regarding age restrictions for medical assistants:

 Can you tell me if there is any legal implication that [a medical assistant] who has completed a high-school training program [but] is not yet 18 might [be unable] to work as a medical assistant until they turn 18? 

The medical assisting laws of all states, including Ohio, are available on the “State Scope of Practice Laws” webpage. 

Notably, Ohio law does not require medical assistants to be at least 18 years of age to work as a medical assistant. 

However, a few states ​(such as California) do require medical assistants to be at least 18 in order to work as a medical assistant. 

On the Job

CMA (AAMA) Certification Outside the United States

I received the following question about whether CMA (AAMA)® certification can be used by medical assistants who are interested in working outside the United States:

I am a medical assistant who is certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants®, and I understand that this certification is usable anywhere in the United States. Since I am interested in possibly volunteering outside of the United States as a medical missionary, is my certification usable outside of the United States? If not, what action could I take to remedy this situation?

In addition to CMA (AAMA) certification being usable throughout the United States, the CMA (AAMA) certification program is accredited under ISO 17024—an international standard of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO standards are recognized throughout the world.

Consequently, CMA (AAMA) certification should be usable in nations other than the United States.

Learn more about ISO 17024 and its significance in the CMA Today July/August 2016 Public Affairs article.

On the Job, Scope of Practice

Legal Requirements for Venipuncture in Washington

I recently received the following question regarding the legality of medical assistants performing venipuncture in Washington:

I am licensed as a medical assistant-certified (MA-C) under Washington law. Do I need to obtain the Washington state medical assistant-phlebotomist credential in order to perform venipuncture?

To answer this question, note the following excerpt from the Washington State Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage:

The scope of practice of a medical assistant-phlebotomist includes capillary, venous, and arterial invasive procedures for blood withdrawal, CLIA [Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments] waived, moderate and high complexity tests, and [(electrocardiogram (ECG)]. A medical assistant-certified may perform capillary and venous blood withdrawals, CLIA waived and moderated complexity tests, and [ECG] but may not perform arterial invasive procedures for blood withdrawal or high complexity designated CLIA tests. If you hold a medical assistant-certified credential, you need only to retain your medical assistant-phlebotomist credential if you’re required to perform arterial invasive procedures for blood withdrawal or high complexity tests.

delegation, On the Job, Scope of Practice

Permissible Delegation of IV Infusions in Florida

I recently received the following question regarding the administration of an IV infusion: 

What are the requirements [for administering IV vitamin bags if] I completed schooling for my medical assistant certification? I thought doing an IV certification course would be a good start. What other requirements would be necessary as far as being able to administer the IV [infusion]? 

For medical assistants to be delegated an IV infusion by a physician and perform an IV infusion under the physician’s direct/onsite supervision, Florida law requires the medical assistant to be knowledgeable and competent in all aspects of IV infusion. 

Additionally, there must be written verification by the delegating physician (or another licensed provider) that the medical assistant is knowledgeable and competent in IV infusion. Completing an IV certification course is good evidence of competence. The delegating physician periodically should reverify in writing the medical assistant’s ongoing competence in IV infusion.