Legislation Passed This Session May Help Bring Back the Joy in the Practice of Medicine

| Posted On Aug 15, 2016 | By:

Last week Governor Charlie Baker signed into law HB3895 “An Act Increasing Access to Immunizations” introduced by Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Boston) and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston). The legislation was widely supported by a broad based group of health care providers, including Atrius Health, that advocated for passage of the bill during the legislative session.

The legislation amended current state law (MGL Chapter 94C) to allow certified medical assistants to administer immunizations under the direct supervision of a primary care provider. Until passage of the bill, state law did not permit certified medical assistants to administer medications, including vaccinations, and only permitted certain licensed professionals (e.g., nurses, licensed practical nurses, physicians, etc.) to administer medications.  The legislation was important because this restriction adds unnecessary costs to healthcare by requiring such licensed professionals to perform a function that can be safely performed in a more cost effective manner by certified medical assistants.

Like many providers in the state, Atrius Health works to ensure that all of our patients are current on recommended vaccines where indicated; however, there is an increasing volume of influenza, pneumococcal, shingles and other routine vaccinations that take up clinicians’ time. Atrius Health employs hundreds of certified medical assistants at our 29 practice locations who play a vital role as part of our patient care teams. We are confident that our medical assistants, with the supervision and oversight of physicians, can be trained to the necessary competencies to administer immunizations to our patients without compromising patient safety.

As one primary care provider at our Harvard Vanguard Wellesley practice noted yesterday when told that the legislation was now law, “This will be so great for our clinicians as well as for our medical assistants who truly are members of our team!”

Massachusetts will now join a growing list of states that expressly permit certified medical assistants to administer immunizations to patients, and we look forward to working with the Department of Public Health as they draft regulations to implement this important piece of legislation as soon as possible.

Atrius Health would like to publicly thank Representative Jeffrey Sanchez and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz for their tireless work in shepherding this bill through the Legislature and also thank Governor Baker for signing the bill into law.

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