The Daily

Candy Stripers

A famous critical care doctor once told me that “they want candy stripers delivering medicine.” That choice of the phrase probably dates both of us, but hopefully, it’s not too prehistoric to make the point. He was griping about what he viewed as an institutional assault on physician judgment and prerogatives. Long after that, I ran across case after case that proved his point. In one, a physician’s assistant was allowed to treat a patient’s skin cancer for years without any apparent supervision or input by the medical group’s medical doctors. The diagnosis and treatment were – of course – bungled. The problem isn’t going away, despite warnings.

It is not permissible for MAs to perform tasks that constitute the practice of medicine or require the skill and knowledge of physicians or other licensed providers. Balasa noted physicians or administrators may believe if a physician thinks the MA is competent at a task, then the task may be delegated, but that is not correct legally. If the task requires the skill and knowledge of a licensed provider, it cannot be delegated to an MA.

Here’s the link to the story in Medical Economics.

MGMA 2022: What duties can medical assistants take on? Some principles for delegating