Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 | 1:13 p.m.
The uproar caused by our story regarding disparate treatment of medical assistants has resulted in much ado about nothing and a return to the status quo. Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford announced this morning an agreement among state leaders that allows medical assistants to administer drugs, including cosmetic procedures, under the direct supervision of a physician. What "direct supervision" means is anyone's guess and bound to be the subject of debate.
Meanwhile, medical board director Louis Ling wants the resignation of a board member who had the nerve to be straight with the media. In contrast Ling has not called for the resignation of Dr. Benjamin Rodriguez, a board member who admits he allowed his medical assistant to inject cosmetic fillers while he spurred a legislative crackdown on MAs doing the same procedures incompeting medical spas.
Check out last Wednesday's program (posted to the right along with today's news release) and the assertion from attorney Maria Nutile, who practices before the board, that some doctors have been out to close down medical spas in Southern Nevada for years. Nutile says she's heard the plans at the meetings and during breaks.
Unresolved in the resolution is the case of Betty Guerra, the medical assistant licensed as a doctor in three countries who faces ten felony counts for doing nothing more than what the state has now deemed to be the standard of care. While some medical assistants have lost work during the interim of this fiasco, Guerra has lost much more. In addition to the felony counts Guerra faces deportation, can't afford to complete the classes that would have allowed her to become a nurse, had her pay slashed from $23 an hour to $10 and lost her job last week because of media attention, the day after her husband landed in intensive care with a brain aneurysm. Much ado about nothing? Maybe for some but not for Guerra.