House Passes Sánchez Legislation Increasing Access to Immunizations

House Passes Sánchez Legislation Increasing Access to Immunizations

Bill would allow doctors, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to see more patients and focus on more complex clinical care

BOSTON— The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation Monday that would authorize certified medical assistants employed in a primary care setting to administer immunizations under the direct supervision of a primary care provider.

Medical assistants are allied health professionals who perform medical and administrative tasks in primary care practices, community health centers, and other clinical settings. Although medical assistants are trained to administer immunizations and are authorized to do so in many states, Massachusetts law does not explicitly authorize these professionals to perform this task.

The bill seeks to address this concern by explicitly authorizing licensed primary care providers to delegate the administration of immunizations to certified medical assistants under their direct supervision. This simple provision will allow primary care providers, particularly those practicing in underserved communities, to more easily meet the demand for immunizations and free-up these providers to see more patients and focus on more complex clinical care.

“This is a simple clarification to our state law that will improve wait times and quality of care,” Representative Sánchez said. “It will give our children better access to life-saving vaccines and improve health outcomes in communities across the Commonwealth”

To ensure quality administration, the legislation requires medical assistants to be employed in the medical practice of a licensed primary care provider, function as a medical assistant under the direct supervision of a licensed provider acting within their own scope of practice, and graduate from an accredited post-secondary medical assisting program.

After being passed unanimously in the House, the bill now moves to the Senate for further action.

Update: This legislation was signed into law by Governor Baker on August 10, 2016.

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