State laws are the best place to look for guidance on medical assisting scope of practice, but they are sometimes less thorough than desired. For cases such as those, consider the following:
We have some CMAs (AAMA) and RMAs(AMT) assisting physicians who are providing obstetrical services. The physicians delegate to the medical assistants the hooking up of patients to fetal nonstress test monitors. The medical assistants do not interpret the results of the fetal nonstress test. Is this delegation permitted by Minnesota law?
Based on my research, hooking up a patient to a fetal nonstress test monitor is a straightforward, repeatable process that does not require (1) the knowledge or skill or a licensed health care professional, (2) the exercise of independent clinical judgment, or (3) the making of clinical assessments. Therefore, my legal opinion is that this task is likely delegable to knowledgeable and competent unlicensed allied health professionals such as medical assistants working under direct/onsite physician supervision.
The delegating physicians should reverify periodically (perhaps every 12 months) the knowledge and skill of the medical assistants performing this task and should document in writing each medical assistant’s current competence in this task.
It may also be advisable to request a written opinion from the practice’s malpractice insurance carrier stating that it would cover any negligence by a medical assistant in hooking up a patient to a fetal nonstress test monitor.