Knowledge Library

Medical Assistant Update: Training and Scope of Practice

A medical assistant (MA) is an unlicensed individual who performs basic administrative, clerical or technical support services on behalf of a licensed practitioner. Many MAs are certified by an educational institution or their employer as being competent to perform specified tasks. Although the specific scope of practice for medical assistants varies from state to state, unlicensed personnel generally may not diagnose, treat, prescribe for, operate upon, or perform any invasive procedure upon patients. Physicians should be aware of their responsibility to ensure that MAs working under their direction are adequately trained and supervised. General Recommendations: Ensure your MAs’ level of...

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New California Laws Going into Effect in 2019

Do you prescribe controlled substances? Do you provide prenatal or postpartum care, or pediatric care for infants? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you will want to know about some new laws taking effect in 2019. Laws are effective January 1, 2019 unless otherwise noted.   AB 1753 (Low) Controlled Substance: Security Prescription Forms This law requires controlled substance security prescription forms to include a unique serialized number in a format approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The legislation did not include a transition period to allow for continued use of old prescription forms after January 1....

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Hawai’i Members: Our Care, Our Choice Act Takes Effect in 2019

The state of Hawai’i just became the seventh state in the nation to allow physicians to assist terminally-ill patients in ending their own lives, in a move described by the state’s governor to allow those patients “to make their own end-of-life choices with dignity, grace and peace.”[1] Beginning on January 1, 2019, under the Our Care, Our Choice Act, Hawai’i residents who are mentally capable and suffering from a terminal illness are able to obtain prescriptions for medications to facilitate their death.  HB 2739 was signed into law by Governor David Ige on April 5, 2018, and it is modeled...

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Closing A Medical Practice Upon Retirement

When physicians decide to close their medical practice, whether due to retirement, change in practice, or a career change, several questions come up. Common issues include how to smoothly transition patients to another provider, who to notify, and what should be done with medical records. This article will address some of those questions.   Attorney Consultation Physicians who plan to retire and sell their medical practice should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in business and/or healthcare law for advice on signing sales contracts, determining appropriate compensation, selling office equipment, etc. Among other things, the attorney may advise that...

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How Long Should We Keep Medical Records?

One of the most common questions asked of MIEC’s Patient Safety & Risk Management Department is how long physicians should maintain their medical records after a patient leaves the practice, or upon retirement. While many might assume that there are clear laws and regulations around this issue, in fact there are few laws that address it (please see the table below for information on state laws). MIEC’s recommendations are as follows:   What Attorneys Advise “Keep medical records forever.” This is the advice of many malpractice defense attorneys, because in the event of a medical malpractice claim, the medical records...

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