Clarification of medical assistant duties sought

The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Feb. 26 on a bill that would clarify the assignment of tasks by a physician or osteopathic physician under the Medicine and Surgery Practice Act.

Sen. John Arch
Sen. John Arch

LB838, introduced by Sen. John Arch of La Vista, specifically would allow individuals who are not licensed, certified or registered under the Uniform Credentialing Act to be assigned tasks if done in a manner consistent with accepted medical standards and appropriate to the skill and training of the persons to whom the tasks were assigned.

Arch said he introduced to bill to “clear up confusion” about the assignment of tasks to non-medical personnel that currently exists in state law.

Michael Israel testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Nebraska Medical Association. He said LB838 would clarify the role of medical assistants, whose duties often include obtaining a patient’s height and weight, sterilizing equipment and maintaining patient medical files.

“These are the tasks that make a clinic run more efficiently,” Israel said.

Rita Weber, representing the Nebraska Nurses Association, also testified in support. She said the tasks non-licensed personnel perform are routine and pose little risk to patients.

“We’re comfortable that this [bill] will not give authority to anyone to practice a profession that they’re not licensed to practice,” Weber said. “It doesn’t give authority for others to practice nursing that are not lawfully authorized to practice nursing.”

No one testified against LB838 and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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