The healthcare and medical service industry, especially ambulatory medical care, has evolved from the small single doctor practice into a much more business like and customer-oriented setting. The doctor’s patients are now regarded more or less as customers and patients, and medical assistants are expected to provide customer services and patient care. Medical assistants should know how to contact their State Medical Board of Examiners for support regarding questions about state imposed rules, statutes, laws and regulations that oversee the medical assisting discipline.
Too many doctors, medical office supervisors and even the medical assistants themselves are confused about their scope of practice and how to properly utilize and supervise medical assistants. Some state’s laws are very specific, others are vague, or virtually non-existent when it comes to medical assistants.
[sociallocker]The Tex Med Website has put it so well when they state: “The term medical assistant has no real legal significance. Medical assistants (MAs) are not licensed, certified, or registered by any agency of the State of Texas, nor are they recognized under federal Medicare or Medicaid laws as a species of provider. There is no reference to medical assistants in the Medical Practice Act, or any other Texas Statute, thus, there is no specific legal regulation of medical assistants in Texas.”
|Scope of Practice is a terminology used by national and state/provincial licensing boards for various professions that defines the procedures, actions, and processes that are permitted for the licensed individual. The scope of practice is limited to that which the law allows for specific education and experience, and specific demonstrated competency. Each jurisdiction has laws, licensing bodies and regulations that describe requirements for education and training, and define scope of practice.|
Boundaries and Limits
Medical assistants, just like anyone else who provides a service to the public, are subject to rules, laws, regulations, limits and boundaries they must obey when at work. Every medical assistant should research what they can and cannot do within their state. Just because a specific task was discussed and practiced in a formal medical assisting training program it doesn’t mean the law permits this task on patients.
If you are researching laws that pertain to the medical assistant profession your first stop should be the State Medical Board, or Board of Medical Examiners of your state, since this is the authority that regulates the practice of medicine in the USA. The State Medical Board, sometimes called the Board of Medical Examiners, adopts regulations to carry out the laws governing the practice of medicine for each state. AMA List of State Medical Boards.
Malpractice and Liability Protection
[/sociallocker]Medical assistants should never assume that they cannot be sued and that the insurance rider provided to them on the doctor’s malpractice insurance policy as a rider adequately covers them. Carrying professional liability insurance can provide peace of mind, especially if hired on a temporary basis, or while completing and intern- or externship as part of a vocational training program. Mistakes and accidents can easily trigger a liability case against a medical assistant, or medical assistant student, for misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, inaccurate advice, negligence, or tort. Professional liability insurance policies take on different forms and is often also called malpractice insurance coverage. Make sure you ask.