Can a CNA do everything a Medical Office Assistant can do in a clinic setting?

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asked in Work by anonymous
New York State

1 Answer

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answered by Joann M.

As far as I know, medical assisting is considered an unlicensed profession in New York, and state law prohibits the delegation of clinical duties to any unlicensed support staff. Based on the fact that medical assistants can be trained on the job and that a license or certification is not required, I don’t see why a CNA wouldn’t be able to do this type of work after being properly trained.

The New York State Board for Medicine published a position statement intended to clarify the functions that can be performed by unlicensed persons such as medical assistants. The position statement titled “Utilization of Unlicensed Persons, such as Medical Assistants, in Clinical Settings and Private Medical Offices“ can be found here. In addition to secretarial work such as assembling charts or assisting with billing, medical assistants in this state have extremely limited clinical duties such as:

  • measuring vital signs,
  • performing ECGs,
  • taking laboratory specimens including blood work,
  • assisting an authorized practitioner, under the direct and personal supervision of said practitioner, to carry out a specific task, as a "second set of hands".

State law prohibits medical assistants or other unlicensed persons from performing the following duties:

  • triage,
  • administering medications through any route,
  • administering contrast dyes or injections of any kind,
  • placing or removing sutures,
  • taking x-rays or independently positioning patients for x-rays,
  • applying casts,
  • first assisting in surgical procedures.

This of course, is not an exhaustive list. I am confident this is correct but it is not legal advice and you should contact the New York State Board for Medicine by e-mail at or by telephone at 518-474-3817 ext. 560 for additional information.