To stay up to date on the National movement for title change on the PA profession, visit https://www.aapa.org/title-change/general-faqs/ to see the progress.
Can PAs start to call themselves “physician associates” yet?
PAs should continue to use “physician assistant” or “PA” as their official legal title in a professional capacity, particularly in clinical settings and with patients, until the jurisdiction governing their licensure and practice has formally adopted the title of “physician associate.” AAPA’s legal counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP, recommends that PAs refrain from representing themselves as “physician associates” at this time. Their view is based on the following:
- Implementing the new HOD policy is going to be complex and challenging and may take several years to complete. There are many considerations that require thoughtful due diligence to ensure we do not jeopardize any aspect of implementation. It would be unwise for the profession to appear to be out in front of legislatures and regulators at the local or federal level. The next few years of work will be critical and must be strategically undertaken.
- Prematurely using the term “physician associate” could subject the PA to a regulatory challenge or discipline from their licensing board or an attorney general’s office action.
- Employers or healthcare facilities where the PA has privileges could view the action as a violation of policy, procedure, or professional staff bylaws.
- There may be professional malpractice issues if adverse outcomes are linked to perceived “informed consent” violations from patients who claim they believed they were being treated by a physician. A malpractice insurer could use this as an excuse not to cover the claim.