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Medical Assistant Schools
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Indirect Laws for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants are not to be confused with licensed health care providers. When there are no specific laws
directly addressing the duties of medical assistants it does not automatically mean that there aren't any laws to
follow. It can generally be assumed that medical assistants may perform duties in which they are adequately
trained, regularly checked, thoroughly instructed and properly supervised to perform. The biggest challenge
remains locating readily accessible resources and reliable publications. If you are researching laws that pertain
to medical assistants in your state your first stop should be the State Medical Board, since this is the authority
that regulates the practice of medicine in the USA. Answers can often be found in the Medical Practice Laws
established by the state's Medical Board, or Board of Medical Examiners, since medical assistants function as
an extension of the doctor who hired them. The State Medical Board creates regulations to carry out laws
governing the practice of medicine for each state (see AMA List of State Medical Boards). Some State Board of
Nursing have also added text into their rules, e.g. the Nurse Practice Act, that addresses how registered
nursing staff can utilize medical assistants under their supervision, such as the State Board of Nursing of New
Hampshire, the Board of Nursing of New York and South Dakota, to name just a few.

State Wide Mandates

Several US states mandate that medical assistants must be certified to perform needle injections, such as for
allergy skin testing, purified protein derivative (PPD) testing, or Mantoux skin tests; other states don't allow it at
all. Other states require medical assistants to have a limited X-ray license if their duties include taking and
processing radiographic images, including Iowa and Florida. In New York State medical assistants may not
legally administer medications to patients by any route (source: New York State Board of Nursing). In California
those those with blood drawing responsibilities must be certified in phlebotomy. In Georgia those who perform
point-of-care testing are required to be certified in medical assisting.  In Alaska direct patient care tasks
CANNOT be delegated to medical assistants by a registered nurse (RN), only by the doctor. Specifically
prohibited activities medical assistants are NOT allowed to do in CT are radiography and medication
administration by any route, including oxygen, immunizations and tuberculin testing.

Certain states mandate that those who perform phlebotomy, ultrasound, EEC/EKG, or X-ray* procedures must
have a specific limited license to do so and laboratory screening tests on the medical practice premises (point-
of-care/STAT screening) must be done in strict accordance with CLIA regulations. Medical assistants who
decide to act independently without the doctor's presence and attempt to perform procedures that go beyond
their training and scope of practice are in danger of exposing themselves, their employer and supervisors to
serious law suits that can carry far reaching consequences should any injuries or omissions occur.

Getting Help
if you are unsure about certain procedures a medical assistant can do contact your state's Board of Medical
Examiners, Board of Licensure in Medicine, State Nursing Board and one of the medical assistant certification
bodies in the USA. You can also try the American Association for Medical Assistants (AAMA) website. If you
use the link  just scroll down on that page until you see "About the Profession" and "AAMA Role Delineation
Study", look for "Occupation Analysis for the Medical Assisting Profession" for further research of this topic.
Please Note: the information contained on this page is provided for information purposes only and should not be considered
legal advice, nor is it a substitute or interpretation of regulations established by authorities having jurisdiction over practicing
doctors, nurses and their medical assistants in your state. Please contact your State Board of Medical Examiners directly
for specific advice, official business, or consult with your attorney. We cannot provide this information to you.
Medical Assistant Laws by State 1
Medical Assistant Laws by State 2

State Laws for Medical Assistants

Medical assisting as an occupation
remains loosely regulated in the United States, however this does not mean that there aren't any limits, or guidelines to be followed. Most states do not mandate formal training or certifications for their working medical assistants, nor always specifically spell out tasks that can be assigned to them at the work place. Legal boundaries and educational requirements can vary from state to state. Where there aren't any specific licensing requirements as we know them from the nursing professions, the scope of practice for medical assistants remains "fuzzy" at best. Medical assistants and their professional membership organizations have examined issues and the resulting confusion and made efforts to define and reform the scope of practice (SOP) as a means to allow medical assistants gain the recognition and protection they deserve.

Lack of Specific Laws

Only a few state's laws, which usually are established by the State Medical Board, are very specific, others are quite vague or completely silent when it comes to what a medical assistant is allowed to do within their territory. Many doctors, clinicians and medical office supervisors are unsure about how they can best utilize their medical assistants and properly utilize them in their practice. Even the medical assistants themselves are often confused. The Tex Med Website has put it so well: "The term medical assistant has no real legal significance. Medical assistants 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."
It cannot be said often enough: although medical assistants are dependent employees working under the direct supervision of the physician, licensed practitioner, or clinician it does not exonerate them from direct liability, nor protect them from being sued should anything that causes injury or losses occur on the work place--and not only injury, but any medical assistant who inadvertently oversteps their limits and bounds, e.g. authorizes a prescription refill without the physician although it was refilled many times before, or carries out a full range of physical therapy modalities which would constitute practicing medicine without a license potentially exposes him/herself to a civil fine of at least $10,000 per violation and almost always other severe charges and penalties as a consequence.
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