Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, On the Job, Professional Identity

Updated Requirements for Medical Assistants in South Dakota

Under South Dakota law, medical assistants are governed jointly by the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners and the Board of Nursing. Medical assistants must meet the requirements and register with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners in order to work as a medical assistant.

As of October 20, 2016, the joint rules of the two South Dakota boards now require medical assistants to have “passed a national certifying exam approved by the boards.” For 20 years the rules have required medical assistants to have “graduated from a medical assisting program approved by the boards.” Note the following addition, emphasized below, to the joint rules:

20:84:03:01. Qualifications of applicants. An applicant for registration shall provide:

  1. Proof of graduation from a medical assistant program approved by the boards;
  2. Proof of good moral character;
  3. Proof the applicant has graduated from high school or passed a standard equivalency test;
  4. Documentation showing the applicant is at least 18 years of age; and
  5. Proof of having passed a national certifying exam approved by the boards.

20:84:04:01. Approved education programs. An applicant for registration shall have graduated from a medical assistant program that is approved by the boards or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), or a similar accrediting institution approved by the United States Department of Education. Approved programs must provide classroom, laboratory, and clinical learning experiences that provide for student attainment of entry level competence as a registered medical assistant.

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Continued Support of CARE in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy

The AAMA works to promote health care personnel standards as a guarantee that patients receive quality care from properly trained professionals. Our ongoing support for the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence (CARE) in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy bill reflects this stance. Recently the Alliance for Quality Imaging and Radiation Therapy—an organization consisting of 22 separate medical communities, including the AAMA—penned a letter to Senators Tom Harkin and Michael B. Enzi, Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

In that letter, the Alliance commended Senators Harkin and Enzi for their support of the CARE bill, and outlined the positive implications the bill has for patients, as well as the American health care system. The letter went on to detail how previous versions of the CARE bill have passed through the Senate with unanimous consent, and passed the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) without significant opposition.

With the support and work of these two senators, in addition to their colleagues in Congress, the CARE bill could provide standards of care for patients nationwide. As always, I will do my utmost to keep you informed as the bill progresses.

A copy of the Alliance’s letter can be accessed at http://www.ismrm.org/smrt/signals_online/Alliance_Senate_CARE_Intro_Support.pdf.

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President Obama’s Health Care Law Reviewed by Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court last week (March 26-28) heard oral arguments in cases challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Act). I have read some of the lower court decisions, briefs submitted by the parties to the litigation, and transcripts of the oral arguments. The following is my summary of one of the key issues that the Court must decide.

Congress passed the Act as a culmination of President Obama’s efforts to address the fact that millions of Americans do not have health insurance, and yet need and receive health care in emergency and other situations. To make the Act’s plan “work” at a reasonable cost, the Act requires that virtually all Americans have at least a minimum amount of health insurance—either through employer coverage, government provision, or individual purchase. This “minimum coverage” (or “individual mandate”) provision of the Act is being challenged as an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power.

Unlike state legislatures, the United States Congress only has authority to pass legislation in areas enumerated in Article I of the Constitution of the United States. Defenders of the Act argue that Congress is authorized by either the Commerce Clause and/or the Taxing Clause—both delineated in Article I—to enact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Opponents of President Obama’s legislation assert that its provisions exceed the constitutional parameters of these clauses. Because of inconsistent rulings by federal circuit courts of appeal, the question of the constitutionality of the Act has to be decided by the Supreme Court.

The outcome of these cases could have a dramatic impact on the future of the American health care system.  I will keep readers informed about the Supreme Court’s decision and other pertinent developments.