Replacing LPNs with medication techs - Is this legal?

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    I'm an lpn in ltc. They are talking about replacing the lpns with med techs! Is that legal in skilled care?
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  3. 19 Comments so far...

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    Whats a med tech? If it is someone who passes medication the answer is no. In Oregon we have certified medication aides and they cant replace LPNS because all they are licensed to do is pass pills.
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    Quote from aelmore
    I'm an lpn in ltc. They are talking about replacing the lpns with med techs! Is that legal in skilled care?
    The med tech can not replace the LPN because of their scope of practice unless the facility is an assisted living.
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    Depends on your state and its laws. In Virginia, the *only* place medication aides can practice is assisted living - not LTC, not skilled - assisted living only.
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    I am in Texas, where medication aides are widely used.

    A medication aide is not interchangeable with an LPN. However, facilities that employ medication aides around here tend to use less LPNs. For example, I once worked at a LTC facility that staffed one unit of 80 residents with 4 LPNs. However, to save money, they changed the staffing grid to work the same 80-bed unit with 2 LPNs and 2 medication aides.

    In other words, the remaining LPNs became responsible for more residents, but much of their time is freed up because they are not passing pills. The LPNs are doing wound care, finger stick blood sugars, breathing treatments, insulin injections, and other tasks that only licensed nurses are allowed to do.
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    Does anyone know how much the med aides make? Is that really the only thing they have to do? Do they note orders or do charting? I feel like we do everything under the sun as an LPN. I was even doing things like sitting with a client and holding the phone for her to talk, which I really do not have time to do. (that took up part of my break)
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    From what I understand, med techs only pass meds,routine meds, and no narcotics. They are NOT nurses and should not let the residents think they are. Studies have shown that med techs make fewer med errors than nurses because passing meds is ALL they do. They don't assess anyone, they don't toilet anyone, they do not transcribe orders....they had out pills and that's it.We do not allow them in Massachusetts. A few months ago a bill allowing med techs came up but the Massachusetts Nurses Association members came out in droves and the bill was defeated.
    cienurse and morte like this.
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    I say states that allow med techs are on a slippery slope. Today it's just PO meds. Tomorrow it's narcotics, too. Then insulin and fingersticks. Then every facility has a "wound tech" who makes 10 bucks an hour. Pretty soon a 100 bed facility will have one nurse a shift with a dozen CNAs and various "techs" running around. I say any LTC facility that employs med techs has pretty much degraded the care level they provide from "skilled" to "assisted living".
    barbyann likes this.
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    Quote from Anne36
    Does anyone know how much the med aides make? Is that really the only thing they have to do? Do they note orders or do charting? I feel like we do everything under the sun as an LPN. I was even doing things like sitting with a client and holding the phone for her to talk, which I really do not have time to do. (that took up part of my break)
    In the state where I live, medication aides pass oral pills and give eye drops. They do not take off orders, chart, report changes in condition, answer phones, or do other licensed nursing tasks. All they do is administer oral meds and eye drops. That's it, nothing more.

    In the metro area where I live, medication aides are paid between $12 and $15 hourly. LPNs in the LTC facilities around here are paid between $19 and $25 per hour.
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    I'm in Indiana and my state allows med techs - called a QMA here (qualified med aide). I think the trend in my area has to move away from the use of QMA's. Back in the day it seemed that we used them heavily in all facilities but as people have come in sicker, required more monitoring, etc it seems nealy all local LTC's have moved away from QMA's except in a scheduling crisis. Our QMA's can pass scheduled narcs and need a nurses OK to give PRN narcs. They can do blood sugar checks and can give Gtube meds. They can not assess (that is legally a nurses scope of practice only) and they do not chart. Generally they are paid a couple dollars more than the CNA's.

    I agree that for the most part, the QMA's I've worked with do a fantastic job at passing meds. That is there only responsibility and that allows them the time that most nurses lack. I swear they find more med errors than any nurse simply because they are taking the time to really study what they are doing.
    Forever Sunshine likes this.


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