Scope of Practice for Medical Assistants (by State)

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The scope of practice of Medical Assistants depends on their clinical competency, education, and willingness of the employers to delegate clinical tasks. Some states do not provide precise regulatory guidance, while others may have their regulations. For instance,

  • In California, these medical workers are regulated by the Medical Board of California. The board allows them to perform technical support services, clerical, and administrative tasks if they meet some crucial requirements, such as training, supervision, records, and specific authorization. They may not render inpatient care services in licensed acute care hospitals.
  • The Arizona State Legislature allows MAs to perform specific tasks, such as scheduling patient appointments, verifying insurance, billing and coding, etc. without any supervision. However, they can perform medical procedures, such as administering injections and taking body fluid specimens, under the supervision of experienced healthcare professionals.

Tasks that Medical Assistants May Perform

Most of the states allow the medical assistants to perform the following duties under the direct supervision of a physician, doctor, licensed practical nurses, or registered nurses:

  • Measuring and recording vital signs
  • Educating and providing instructions to the patients
  • Removing sutures from minor cuts
  • Wound dressing
  • Disinfecting treatment sites
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Administering medications

Tasks that Medical Assistants May Not Perform

Subject to the regulations and laws of your state, you may not be allowed to perform the following duties:

  • Operating laser equipment
  • Interpreting test results
  • Injecting medications into the vein
  • Performing telephone triage
  • Making medical care decisions
  • Starting or discontinuing IVs

For more information about the scope of practice for medical assistants in different states of the United States, you can visit https://www.aama-ntl.org/employers/state-scope-of-practice-laws.

Supervision Considerations

  • In most states, physicians and doctors are responsible for delegating tasks to medical assistants. In such a scenario, these doctors and physicians retain the legal liability and responsibility for the assigned tasks. They have to face actions that medical licensing boards take against malpractice liability if medical assistants fail to provide apt care.
  • The employers must clearly define the scope of practice of MAs in job description or policy.
  • Medical assistants can check the patient’s data; however, employers must check with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for their “meaningful use” requirements.
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Written by : Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator.  She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant,  and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.

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