Florida Registered Chiropractic Assistants

Hi all! I’ve received a lot of questions about “registered chiropractic assistants” and what they can and cannot do. I’ve decided to research it and provide my readers with the information they need.

(1) What is a Registered Chiropractic Assistant?
“Registered Chiropractic Assistant” means a person who is registered by the board to perform chiropractic services under the direct supervision of a chiropractic physician or certified chiropractic physician’s assistant. Florida Statute 460.403 (10).

More specifically, an RCA means a professional multiskilled person dedicated to assisting in all aspects of chiropractic practice under direct supervision of a chiropractor. An RCA assists with patient care management, executes administrative and clinical procedures, and often performs managerial and supervisory functions.
Florida Statute 460.4166 (1)

(2) What does “direct supervision” actually mean?
A lot of people ask me what direct supervision means.
Direct supervision requires the physical presence of the chiropractor for consultation and direction of the actions. It does not mean “available by phone.” Florida Statute 460.403 (7).

(3) What can an RCA do?
-prepare patients for the chiropractor’s care
-take vital signs
-observe and report patient’s signs/symptoms
-administer basic first aid
-assist with patient examinations or treatments other than manipulations or adjustments (major gray area)
-operate office equipment
-collect routine laboratory specimens
-administer nutritional supplements
-perform office procedures under direct supervision.
Florida Statute 460.4166 (2)

Abe’s side note: the law above says “assist” with patient treatment other than adjustments. Does that mean an RCA can apply hot packs? How about e-stim? How about more sophisticated procedures like manual therapy?
Do you see how that can be a gray area?

(4) What can a Certified Chiropractic Physician’s Assistant do?
-A CCPA may perform chiropractic services in the specialty area or areas for which the CCPA is trained or experienced when such services are rendered under the (indirect) supervision of a licensed chiropractor.
Florida Statute 460.4165

(4) What is biggest difference between RCA and “Certified Chiropractic Physician’s Assistant”?
The RCA requires registration with the board (no course or test) and requires direct supervision (ie physically present on site). Click here to register an RCA.

The CCPA requires completion of an approved program (about a 200 hour long course) but allows the chiropractor to indirectly supervise the CCPA (ie availability over the phone). Click here to see the requirements.

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