By Joanne Rodriguez
We have been trying to change the scope of practice of Medical Assistants for the past 4 years with the state legislative bodies, to include the administration of medications. This has been led by the Connecticut Society of Medical Assistants under Policy Chairperson, Holly Martin. Connecticut and New York remain the last two states where this task cannot be performed. Last year several of us testified before the Public Health Committee, and we were advised to compromise by settling for Medical Assistants to administer vaccines. We were told that the senate would pass the bill if we would take the “baby steps” approach, and then perhaps in a few years revisit the issue of “medications”. In 2015 we followed this advice. The bill, SB 981 passed the senate, but there was not enough time left in the House for it to get heard. Our bill died on the floor as time ran out. Now, in 2016, the legislative session reconvenes, and we are back…our bill again presented to the senate, we testify before the Public Health Committee, now it is called HB 5129. This year is a short calendar year, and the final gavel rings down this spring. What will the outcome be? We are being very patient.
In order to get the bills before the Public Health Committee swiftly heard, we hired a lobbyist. The AMT is splitting the cost with the CSMA (the cost must be covered by the state chapters). Nurses and respiratory therapists oppose our agenda. These groups mass email their representatives their opposition. To help our cause, we must do the same.
Our wonderful staff at Ridley-Lowell has come to the rescue. The medical instructors have all co-operated in getting our students to email their reps to support HB 5129. Every letter counts. They are letting our reps know that they are skilled and prepared to use the training and education that they received. There is no liability or cost to the state of Connecticut.
Calling all Medical Assistants to band together and write letters today in support of your future! To make this easy, you can find your local representative and sample letters here.
Medical Assistants receive at least 60 hours of pharmacology training, which is equal to the syllabus of at least 2 LPN programs. The MA passes competencies set by a national board with a minimum score of 85. They pass a national exam for certification (CMA or RMA) which tests to knowledge in pharmacology. Our students are well educated, well trained, and certainly ready to take on this change to the scope of practice.
Joanne Rodriguez is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Medical Assisting program and the incoming President of AAMA CT. She teaches all of the clinical courses, anatomy & physiology, Medical Terminology and CPR/First Aid. Her medical career spans 20 years. For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s Medical Assisting program, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at email@example.com.