AAPA responds to medical groups' opposition of rebrand

The American Association of Physician Assistants responded to resistance over its intent to rebrand the PA title to "physician associate" in a June 4 letter posted on its website. 

In the letter sent to several medical organizations, AAPA said it believes the new title "more distinctly articulates the role and responsibilities of PAs" while also "reaffirming our commitment to team-based patient care."

The group did not say which medical organizations received the letter, though the American Medical Association and American Osteopathic Association both issued statements opposing the change last week. The associations argued that the new title could cause confusion about medical roles and undermine the importance of physician-led care.

"We kept 'physician' in our title to demonstrate the value we place on our longstanding relationship with our physician colleagues and our historic roots within the physician community," AAPA said in the letter.

The association said there has never been a greater need for increased access to healthcare than there is now, noting that the PA profession emerged in response to a primary care physician shortage in the mid-1960s.

"We respect our relationship with your organization and the healthcare team members you represent, and we believe that our common interest — to best serve the needs of patients — unites us and presents collaborative opportunities to strengthen the fabric of America's healthcare system," the group wrote.

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