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Medicine Aides versus Medication Technicians - What's the Difference?
When the law requiring certification of the nursing assistant was passed in 1998 (Health Occupations Article Title 8-6A-01 et. seq.) an individual entitled Medication Assistant was created. A Medication Assistant was defined as an individual who completes a Board approved 16 hour Medication Administration Training Program. In addition, the law also required that Medication Assistants be registered with the Board of Nursing. Once the Medication Assistant was registered with the Board, the Medication Assistant could administer selected medications to individuals in selected community based setting, when: 1) a registered nurse has delegated this function; and, 2) the registered nurse was available to supervise, instruct and evaluate the Medication Assistant’s performance. The settings that the Medication Assistant could function in included but were not limited to: assisted living, a Developmental Disabilities alternative living unit, the Department of Juvenile Service’s residential placement programs, and the school health setting. In order for the individual to be eligible to take the Board approved Medication Assistant Training Program, the person had to be employed in the setting and be recommended by their employer. An individual was not required to be a Certified Nursing Assistant to become a Medication Assistant.
In 2004, new legislation was passed, SB405, that certified the Medication Assistant under the new title Medication Technician. The legislation also enacted other changes that affected the Medication Technician (MT), including defining a minimum age to work as a MT and allowing disciplinary action against an MT. At that time, the hours of training also increased from 16 hours to 20 hours.
In contrast, the Certified Medicine Aide (CMA) has been in existence in the licensed nursing home setting regulated under COMAR 10.07.02 since the 1970s. In 2005, the Board has permitted the CMA to also work in the additional structured care setting known as the Intermediate Care Facility/Mental Retardation (ICF/MR) regulated under 42CFR Part 483 et seq.
The qualification to become a CMA includes the individual holding a current active CNA certification in good standing and current employment and work experience (e.g. current employment and two years of full time experience as a CNA in a facility licensed under 42CFR Part 483 et seq. or current employment and one year full time experience as a GNA in a facility licensed under COMAR 10.07.02). In addition, the CMA must have the recommendation of the Director of Nursing to attend the Board approved 60 hour medicine aide training program taught in a Maryland community college.
The CMA performs the delegated nursing functions of medication administration by specifically identified routes, under the supervision of the licensed nurses, (RN or LPN). \Please review the regulations governing these assistive personnel. The regulations are contained in the Nurse Practice Act or may be viewed on line by clicking here for the link to COMAR at the Division of State Documents. Because of the similarities of the two names, both nurses and employers confuse these two ancillary personnel.
Effective October 1, 2007, both the CMT and the CMA must meet an active practice requirement in order to renew his or her certificate. The individual must have 100 hours of active practice (as a CMT or CMA whichever certification applies) in the 2 years immediately preceding the renewal of his or her certificate.
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