Information for Medical Assistants and Their Supervisors

Medical Assistants are unlicensed healthcare workers who perform routine administrative, clerical, and clinical duties in various healthcare settings. A Medical Assistant may be a graduate of a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Medical Assistants may become certified by passing the American Association of Medical Assistants exam. They may become registered by taking a different exam or by the American Medical Technologists. Medical Assistants may also be qualified based upon work experience and demonstration of competency.

Medical Assistants functioning in a licensed component of a hospital are subject solely to the Rules and Regulations for the Licensing of Hospitals.

What Supervisors Must Do

  • Make sure that you are only supervising tasks that are within your scope of practice, knowledge, or skill set.
  • Determine that the delegation of any and all tasks does not create an undue risk to the particular patient being treated.
  • Enter into a written supervisory agreement that clearly explains your role and the tasks that the Medical Assistant may perform.
  • Understand that you are responsible for the quality of the Medical Assistants' direct patient care. Complaints against a Medical Assistant whom you supervise may be brought to the board overseeing your license.
  • Maintain a record of training and competency testing of the Medical Assistant.
  • Maintain records, updated at least annually, that document the Medical Assistants' competency to perform all clinical tasks listed in the supervisory agreement.
  • Be immediately available, in person and on the premises, not necessarily in the same room, when the Medical Assistant is engaged in direct patient care.

What Medical Assistants May Do

  • Perform clinical activities under the direct supervision of a qualified licensed medical professional as explained in the supervisory agreement. All tasks should follow established protocol and meet medical ethics standards
  • Perform clerical work, such as assembling charts or assisting with billing;
  • Take vital signs and obtain a BMI;
  • Enter data into medical records;
  • Reconcile medication;
  • Administer screening questionnaires;
  • Plan visits for preventive and chronic-care management;
  • Conduct telephone follow-up after visits;
  • Collect urine, sputum, semen, and stool test specimens;
  • Apply or remove bandages;
  • Perform ear lavage;
  • Perform Electrocardiography;
  • Perform spirometry;
  • Assist an authorized practitioner, under direct supervision, to carry out a specific task, as a “second set of hands.”

Medical Assistants who are certified, registered, or have sufficiently demonstrated and verified their competency in specified skills to their supervisor have demonstrated a higher level of training and may also be allowed to:

  • Take laboratory specimens, including blood work (by capillary or peripheral vein);
  • Administer vaccines (oral, intramuscular, or subcutaneous);
  • Administer a medication orally, subcutaneously, or intramuscularly (no controlled substances)
  • Perform a CLIA-waived test;
  • Apply an initial cast after positioning by an authorized practitioner.

What Medical Assistants Must Not Do

  • Work without direct supervision according to the supervisory agreement;
  • Perform triage;
  • Diagnose or treat any disease;
  • Administer schedule medications (controlled substances);
  • Administer contrast dyes;
  • Give intravenous injections of any kind;
  • Place sutures;
  • Insert an intravenous catheter;
  • Obtain blood from an artery;
  • Take x-rays or independently position patients for x-rays, CTs, MRIs, or ultrasounds;
  • Call in prescriptions for schedule 2 – 5 medications;
  • Interpret any test or clinical finding;
  • Administer prescription eye drops;
  • Use a laser.