A Standing Order Program or Protocol (SOPs) is a policy that allows non-physician clinical staff to assess for eligibility for vaccination and vaccinate patients without a specific physician's order. SOPs are the most powerful tool for increasing immunizations, and are allowable under CMS regulations. Most states do not have legislation prohibiting medical assistants from administering immunizations under SOPs, with some specific exceptions such as hospital based clinics. Medical Assistants vaccinate under the license of the physician who signs the practice's SOP.
If you have an existing SOP in place, it should be reviewed with your staff to ensure that it is being utilized. If you do not have a SOP policy, we have provided links to sample SOPs produced by the Immunization Action Coalition that can be freely downloaded and adapted for use in your practice. Adoption of SOPs is a critical element to the success of this vaccination improvement program. The SOP should be added to the practice's policy manual and all current and new staff should be aware of and adherent to this policy.