New Bill Would Regulate MAs in South Carolina

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, April 30, 2021

A new bill filed in South Carolina would provide for the certification of medical assistants (MAs) and provide practice guidance. Representative G.M. Smith is the sponsor of the bill, which is known as House Bill 4296 (H 4296). It has initially been referred to the House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs for further consideration.
Currently, MAs in South Carolina are referred to as unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP), and they may be delegated a limited number of tasks by certain licensed health care professionals who provide supervision. H 4296 would create an additional profession known as a certified medical assistant (CMA). Under the bill, CMAs will have graduated from an accredited post-secondary medical assisting program and will be able to perform a wider scope of delegated tasks than a UAP. CMAs would be able to perform tasks that do not pose a significant risk to patients when under the onsite supervision of a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse. While these tasks can include administering medication, CMAs would be specifically prohibited from performing many medical spa procedures, including both cosmetic injections of toxin or fillers and using lasers or instruments for destruction of tissue. In contrast, UAPs can provide services such as patient hygiene and nutrition tasks and take vital signs but are specifically prohibited from administering medication.
Under current rules, UAPs are already limited in the tasks they may be delegated, including being unable to perform most medical spa treatments. H 4296 would further restrict the UAP scope of practice while providing an expanded role for those who become certified as CMAs. Under the current language of H 4296, all current MAs would qualify as CMAs for an initial two-year period to allow them to complete the education program. Most states do not provide for MA certification at all, so H 4296 may mark the beginnings of a larger trend to regulate unlicensed personnel. We will be monitoring this legislation this year.