Friday, October 21, 2011

Medical Assistants and Intravenous Infusion (IV) Therapy


Medical Assistants and IV Therapy Procedures

One subject that is hotly debated among medical office staff, doctors and mostly, medical assistants in the USA is whether a medical assistant is allowed to start or discontinue IV lines, even if the doctor is present on the premises. Various medical assistant textbooks and formal vocational training programs are now including IV therapy chapter overviews and IV therapy lessons into their curriculum.

While the medical assistant may be asked to lay out IV equipment, or monitor and inform a patient about their IV therapy procedure, which is fine, however, when it comes to starting or discontinuing IV lines, there are certain limitations. Therefore, if a medical assistant is asked to initiate or discontinue IV therapy equipment and lines, it is extremely important to contact the Sate Medical Board/Board of Medical Examiners, which oversees the practice of medicine within their state, to check state laws and regulations to find out whether this is permitted and deemed within the medical assistant's scope of practice before proceeding. Some states my permit it, some likely don't.

Most State Medical Boards rule that only certified or licensed professionals are allowed to start and discontinue IV therapy lines on patients, which typically is a physician, specially licensed technologist, such as an Emergency Medical Technologist (EMT), LVN/LPN, Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant (PA).

Every medical office should have an organized plan that outlines the duties of every staff member in the medical office, especially for their medical assistants, and spell out what the medical assistant can and cannot do. This should also address who handles and how to handle patient assessment, triage, administration of medication, treatment procedures and responses to emergency situations, who is responsible for exactly what and how to follow the so-called chain of command.

To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

No comments: