Understanding Medical Assistant Practice Liability Issues

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The article “Understanding Medical Assistant Practice Liability Issues” by Carolyn Buppert informs about the liabilities of medical assistants. The author points out two issues here: liability for malpractice and exceeding scope of practice. A medical assistant should not exceed his or her scope of practice; otherwise, he can face serious consequences. For example, if a medical assistant gives a patient the wrong advice, and the patient suffers an injury, the medical assistant and his employer can be sued. The responsibility of medical assistant’s employer is to monitor the medical assistant and make sure he or she is acting within the standard of care. Though the scope of practice of medical assistants differs from state to state, there are certain duties, which medical assistants can perform, such as: do clinical and administrative tasks to keep the work flow going, record patient’s demographic and basic information about certain conditions , use medical terminology and accepted charting abbreviations, escort patients to exam room and prepare them for an exam, convey clinical information on behalf of the physician, and so on and so forth. But there are certain duties, which medical assistants cannot perform: for example, independently perform telephone triage, diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications, etc. California law defines a medical assistant as an unlicensed person, who can perform basic administrative, clerical and technical supportive services under the supervision of nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. There is another legal issue that should be taken in consideration: who can supervise medical assistants. The rules are different from state to state, and in some states they are very vague. In California nurses can train, assign duties to medical assistants, only if a physician is present in the office. Otherwise, the written instruct ions maybe delegated to the nurse, so a medical assistant can perform tasks when the...
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