How Do You Feel About PAs Being Called Physician Associates?

The American Academy of Physician Assistants voted to change their title from “physician assistant” to “physician associate” on May 24. They argue that the change helps to promote the growth of their profession, as well as to deliver quality care to patients.

Susan Bailey, MD, outgoing president of the American Medical Association, doesn’t think so. “AAPA’s recent move to change the title ‘physician assistant’ to ‘physician associate’ will only serve to further confuse patients about who is providing their care,” she says. “Given the existing difficulty many patients experience in identifying who is or is not a physician, it is important to provide patients with more transparency and clarity in who is providing their care, not more confusion.”

The American Osteopathic Association also denounced the AAPA’s impending name change, issuing a statement saying that PAs simply do not have the education and qualifications to advertise themselves as on par with physicians and that doing so could endanger patients.

On the other hand, most PAs are happy about the new name, saying that it more accurately reflects their work and the level of their responsibility.


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