Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Medical Assistant Charged with Felonies and Unlawful Practice of Medicine

An Unsuspecting Medical Assistant Was Charged with 10 Felonies and Unlawful Practice of Medicine in Nevada for Administering Botox Injection Under the Supervision of a Physician.

Nevada law prohibits medical assistants from administering any kind of medications, this includes injections. While the restriction had largely gone unenforced it wasn't until a medical assistant's arrest on 10 felony counts on allegations of "unlawful practice of medicine" received media attention.

The medical assistant was arrested in 2009 in Las Vegas for administering Botox treatments in her role as a medical assistant while under the direction of a doctor. She was under the impression that she was simply doing what all medical assistants do, and it never crossed her mind that she may be practicing outside her scope of practice as legislated by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners. Her whole world came to a crashing halt when she was charged with 10 felony counts on allegations of "unlawful practice of medicine".


It is a massive risk that some medical assistants take, especially when they are trained on the job without access to current information from a professional membership organization, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants, American Medical Technologists, or National Healthcareer Association; and not having received formal training from an accredited vocational training institution where expertly trained faculty instruct future medical assistants on what they can and cannot do. This leaves them open to the assumption that as long as they work under the umbrella of the doctor who taught them what to do they are allowed to do what is asked. However, this is a  misconception.

The rule is that ALL medical assistants, regardless of the amount of education, training and experience must realize that they are subject to certain laws and limitations and can practice only within their specific scope of practice. For example, certain US states require medical assistants to have a special license from their state to expose patients to X-rays. Other states mandate special training before a medical assistant can administer certain types of needle injections, vaccinations, and screening tests such as for allergy testing, or PPD/Mantoux skin tests.

The Nevada Sate Board of Medical Examiners, in an emergency meeting on Sept. 18, 2009 adopted a regulation to stop medical assistants from performing certain services, such as administering the cosmetic drug Botox. But the regulation allowed medical assistants to give flu shots and vaccinations.

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