According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, MAs’ job duties are largely a mix of administrative work, such as answering telephones and greeting patients, and clinical, such as taking medical histories and preparing patients for exams. They often have a diverse skillset, which in some practices extends to delivering injections to patients.
One MGMA member recently sent the following inquiry to MGMA Ask an Advisor:
Is there a community standard for having medical assistants administer patient injections?
Per MGMA’s subject-matter experts, it’s standard practice for MAs to give injections under the supervision of a physician in a medical practice. MAs are often allowed to administer intramuscular, oral and/or subcutaneous injections, along with inhaled medications and nebulizers, although it varies by state.
In California, for example, MAs must receive training by a licensed physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner, among others, or from an instructor in an approved school program to ensure appropriate standard of care. Once they have appropriate training, MAs can administer medication by intradermal, intramuscular or subcutaneous injections under the supervision of the aforementioned individuals.
However, because MAs are unlicensed, they are not permitted to diagnose or treat patients, or perform tasks that are considered invasive or require assessment. In addition, they are required to verify the medication with licensed staff before administering it. Ultimately, it is the physician’s responsibility to oversee the appropriate use of unlicensed staff in healthcare delivery.
MGMA offers a range of content on the importance of MAs as members of the care team:
MGMA also recommends the following resources:
“State scope of practice laws” (American Association of Medical Assistants)
“Medical assistants’ scope of practice clarified” (Medical Board of California Newsletter)
“Cost-effective staffing with medical assistants” (The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine)
What’s your question?
Do you have a critical question or need help with a complicated medical practice management issue? With MGMA’s Ask an Advisor program, you can depend on our team of experts to provide answers, recommendations and the tools you need to be successful.