There is much controversy about whether or not a Medical Assistant should be allowed to work by himself, on his own time, and without supervision. Proponents of Medical Assistants Rights contend that a Medical Assistant is an essential part of the health care team in a hospital. As a result, they argue that they cannot be evicted from their job without notice or pay for dismissal. The opponents of Medical Assistants Rights claim that a Medical Assistant is only there to assist doctors in administering care to patients. In other words, the role of the Medical Assistant is limited to just that; helping doctors do their jobs.
Unfortunately, Dr. Parker is wrong on one fundamental premise about his rights as a Medical Assistant. He is wrong in stating that a Medical Assistant is an essential part of a hospital’s health care team. To make his point even more ludicrous, he has also suggested that if the Medical Assistant is not working under him, they have no right to be there. This is legally incorrect, and quite frankly, ridiculous.
The fact of the matter is that a Medical Assistant is considered by many to be an essential worker because they keep the patients healthy. Without a Medical Assistant present, the doctor may ignore the need for medication, prescribe the wrong medicine, or overlook other symptoms of a patient’s condition. It is the Medical Assistant who keeps the pulse on the health of the patient. The Medical Assistant ensures that the doctor’s orders are carried out and not merely suggest them. Without a Medical Assistant, the doctor would have no means to maintain control over their staff, and patient care would suffer.
The Medical Assistant must report any patient requiring additional treatment, and the doctor must order that the patient be moved to a place of better health. This is an essential service that every Medical Assistant should be provided daily. The claim by Dr. Parker that … cannot trust a Medical Assistant with a task that a doctor would gladly take upon himself is, in my opinion, illogical and very unprofessional. It would be like a mechanic not allowing a mechanic to do the task of fixing your car; the mechanic would put the car aside and begin working on it. It makes no sense, and I’m sure it makes no sense to a doctor as well. Let’s face it; most doctors are just too busy to sit around and read the paper!
Dr. Parker also maintains that a medical assistant is under no obligation to patients and cannot be trusted to follow orders. This is also an ignorant view of how medical assistants work. As the coordinator for a leading hospital, I have had to reorganize the entire department for the last two years. In those two years, we went through literally tens of thousands of patient files, and every day we saw new patients who needed to see new doctors.
In addition, there were several nurses and other staff members who were assisting the doctor in his work. Along with many others who came to the ER during their appointments, these patients depended on the assistant to ask them questions, explain treatments, prescribe medications, etc. Without this staff, some patients could wait hours before getting the care that they needed. This was not possible, and it certainly was not the responsibility of these assistants.
There were many cases when a patient became upset or even injured while waiting for a doctor to finish another appointment. In those cases, the Medical Assistant was there to calm these patients down as they waited for the doctor to complete another assignment. Without these people, some patients may have become irritated and aggressive. These individuals could not tolerate having a Medical Assistant present while the doctor tended to their needs.
Dr. Parker maintains that ultimately, a medical assistant is needed in every health care setting. Some offices do not employ them because they believe that they are overrated. But, if you take a good look at the job description and the statistics that back it up (an M.A. will see an increase in productivity and revenue while working from home will decrease some of the downtimes that employees experience), it would seem that it would be an overstatement to say that there is no need for a medical assistant.