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.
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.