On the Job, Scope of Practice

Performing Unfamiliar Tasks

If you have ever been asked to perform a task unfamiliar to you, consider the following situation brought to my attention:

My physician-employer asked me to perform a task that I have never done and did not learn in my medical assisting program. I explained to my employer that I did not feel it was right for me to perform the task because I didn’t have any experience with it and did not feel competent doing the task. My physician-employer said that I should perform the task to the best of my ability and not worry because she would be legally liable if something went wrong and I would not be. Is this correct? Should I perform the task?

It is my legal opinion that medical assistants should not perform a task for which they are not knowledgeable and competent. This is one of the most important legal and ethical duties of medical assistants.

It is true that the delegating provider is responsible for any negligence of a medical assistant in performing a task delegated by the provider to the medical assistant. However, it is not correct that the medical assistant is not responsible legally for performing a task in a negligent manner.

The correct legal principle is that the delegating provider and the medical assistant are responsible under civil law for any negligence by a medical assistant. A medical assistant is under the legal duty of performing all tasks to a level of quality that is equal to or greater than the level of quality that a reasonably knowledgeable and competent medical assistant would exhibit in performing the task.

delegation, On the Job, Scope of Practice

Comments to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners

In the effort to protect patients in Montana from substandard medical assisting services, the Montana Society of Medical Assistants (MSMA) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) wrote to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners on the proposed New Rule I “Medical Assistant—Delegation and Supervision.” Read the comments as well as an excerpt from the proposed new rules in the latest Public Affairs article. Access “Comments to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners” in the September/October 2018 issue of CMA Today on the AAMA website.

Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, delegation, medication administration, On the Job, Professional Identity, Scope of Practice

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.