When Medical Assistants are Forced to do Things They Shouldn't Do

I was reading an article about NextCare Urgent Care, which is a nation-wide chain of clinics, and was deeply troubled to see what they were making their employees do.

What the Medical Assistants were forced to do

In particular they were forcing Medical Assistants to urge patients to take unneccessary tests, according to a report by Jim Hall at fredericksburg.com

The report centers around a federal lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, which had 5 states in total join the civil action. I must point out that NextCare have settled the case with a $10 million payment, and have denied they did anything wrong.

It was alleged that NextCare forced their Medical Assistants to recommend allergy tests when they were interviewing patients - this is despite the fact that deciding whether or not diagnostic tests are necessary is a job that should be done by Physicians or someone with the applicable qualifications. Note that this is different to entering orders into a the CPOE that have been deemed appropriate by a qualified supervisor.

To quote the actual complaint: "NextCare effectively placed judgment regarding medical necessity in the hands of medical assistants and clerks, as opposed to medical providers."

According to court documents filed with the complaint, NextCare threatened to fire anyone who refused to ask patients to take the unnecessary tests.

What you can do if this happens to you

Hopefully you will never encounter this kind of appalling behavior by an employer, but let's face it - there are always a few bad people out their that will try to take advantage of their patients and employees to make a few extra dollars.

Obviously if you find yourself in this situation you don't have any power to object to your Employer - after-all if they're that unscrupulous they might fire you standing up for your patients.

Instead you should approach your local chapter of the AAMA, or contact the head office directly via their website at www.aama-ntl.org.

If you aren't a member of the AAMA then contact Legal Eye On Medical Assisting for advice (and I also strongly recommend you become a member of the AAMA as well).

This way you can get help without your employer knowing about your objections - the AAMA will look after your interests and those of your patients.