Summary of Duties and Standard of Care


Medical assistants are hired to provide specific technical supportive and patient care services in an ambulatory medical office setting. The supervising physician, licensed, practicing healthcare provider, or clinician who hired them authorizes these services to patients who are under his, or her care. These services, whenever provided must be a usual and customary part of the medical office, or practice where the medical assistant is employed. A record of any medical care and services rendered must be made in the patient’s medical record or chart by the medical assistant who provided it, indicating the name, initials or other identifier, the date and time, and a brief description of what was done signed, or initialed by the physician who gave the order. The supervising physician may, at his or her discretion, provide written instructions to be followed in the performance of such tasks. It is the physician’s responsibility to assure the medical assistant is competent and proficient in performing any such delegated technical and patient care services at the appropriate standard of care. According to Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, and executive director and legal counsel for the American Association of Medical Assistants, the standard of care of a reasonably competent medical assistant is not necessarily the same in all parts of the United States.

Do I Need to be Certified to Work as a Medical Assistant?


In general, NO, you don’t have to be a certified medical assistant to accept a medical assisting position. Check with your State Medical Board, the State Medical Board/Board of Medical Examiners is the entity which oversees how doctors run their medical practice and how their staff can be utilized and is to be supervised.

Often the minimum requirement to qualify for a medical assistant position is being 18 years old, having a high school diploma, CPR and First Aid certification, and a clean criminal record background check, if that much, since this does not apply to everywhere; however, there ARE a handful states that require special training and specific limited licenses for medical assistants whose duties include highly technical and invasive skills, such as venipuncture and phlebotomy, starting and flushing IV lines, administering certain types of injections, dispensing medications, or exposing patients to X-rays and ultrasound examinations. The State Board of Medical Examiners in your state can tell you more.