Florida Legislature repeals certification language in MA Practice Act.
The Florida Legislature has repealed a subsection of that state's medical assistant practice law that acknowledged the availability of private certification through AMT and AAMA. The repealed provision did not require MAs to be certified, but recognized the two primary credentials (RMA and CMA) in existence at the time the law was originally enacted in 1984.
Proponents of the repeal pointed out that because certification is not mandatory, and because there are other organizations that provide medical assistant credentials, the language in the subsection could create confusion and was no longer appropriate. AMT and its Florida State Society expressed opposition to the repeal, noting that credentialing of medical assistants is more important than ever particularly in view of CMS's Stage 2 and Stage 3 EHR Meaningful Use regulations. AMT attempted to convince the committees considering the bill to modify the language to make it more inclusive rather than repealing it outright. The AAMA and its Florida affiliate similarly opposed the repeal. In the end, however, each of the several committees to which the bill was referred unanimously approved it without amendment. The bill passed the Florida Senate in January and the House in late February, and was awaiting the Governor's signature at press time.
Although it is disappointing that the RMA credential is no longer expressly acknowledged under Florida law, the repeal does nothing to change the status of RMAs in Florida or the scope of medical assistants' practice under the state's MA practice act.
by AMT Legal Counsel
Michael N. McCarty
Holland & Knight LLP, Washington, DC