AAPA still doesn’t tell members to use the title ‘Physician Associate’

A year after the American Academy of Physicians Associates (AAPA) announced it would change the official title of the PA profession from physician assistant to physician associate, the academy still recommends that its members continue to use the old title , according to the organization’s website. .

“Changing the title of the profession is a long-term process,” said an AAPA spokesperson. medpage today in an email. “Implementing the title change is a complex undertaking that involves a variety of stakeholders, not only other national PA organizations and AAPA constituent organizations, but also state and federal governments, regulators and employers.”

The academy is working to implement the title change in two main ways, the spokesperson said. The first is to use the title internally by updating the name of the AAPA and other local PA organizations. For example, the academy has now legally changed its name to “American Academy of Physician Associates, Inc.” The second approach is to advocate for legislative changes at the state and federal levels, a plan that will take time to achieve, according to the academy.

The academy voted to change the name of the profession from physician assistant to physician associate at its annual meeting in May 2021. The decision came after a years-long process that involved research into the financial and legal ramifications of the change and a survey. of 7,000 PAs, approximately 600 patients, 125 physicians, and 120 employers. The effort resulted in the decision to begin the long process of changing the official title of the profession.

That decision was met with opposition from several medical groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA). The medical organization was reportedly concerned about the confusion the change would create for patients. It was also reported that the AMA and the American Osteopathic Association saw the change as a move to increase the scope of practice for PAs, who are legally required to have a permanent agreement with a doctor in order to practice.

In addition to a medical association, PAs must also have a master’s level education that includes more than 2 years of classroom education and more than 2000 clinical hours in several different specialties. Once PAs complete their training and licensing process, they are authorized to perform a variety of responsibilities, from diagnosing and treating patients to prescribing medications and assisting in surgery.

Shortly after the name change announcement, the AAPA released a letter highlighting the academy’s commitment to continue collaborating with physicians in a “team-based, patient-centered medical practice.” At the time, AAPA Executive Director Lisa Gables, CPA, said the change was meant to provide clarity rather than confusion because the new title is a better description of the role and responsibilities of PAs.

The academy will continue to recommend that its members use a physician assistant or PA until the jurisdiction governing a member’s license and practice formally adopts the title of physician associate. The academy said this recommendation is especially important when PAs interact with patients in a clinical setting.

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    Michael DePeau-Wilson is a reporter for MedPage Today’s business and investigative team. He covers psychiatry, prolonged covid, and infectious diseases, among other relevant clinical news from the US. To follow

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