AMA joins opposition to 'physician associate' rebrand

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Physician assistants' recent move to change their title to "physician associate" will create confusion for patients about who is providing their care, American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, MD, said in a June 2 statement to Becker's.

On May 24, the American Academy of Physician Assistants voted to adopt "physician associate" as the official title for the PA profession. The change comes about three years after the academy hired a healthcare marketing research and branding firm to determine the best title and marketing strategy for the profession.

"AAPA's effort to change the title of physician assistants to rebrand their profession will undoubtedly confuse patients and is clearly an attempt to advance their pursuit toward independent practice," Dr. Bailey said. "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 AMA believes this effort is "incompatible with state laws" regarding truth in advertising and is prepared to work with other medical societies to block efforts to implement the title change in state or federal policy, Dr. Bailey said in the statement. 

The medical association's stance echoes that of the American Osteopathic Association, which released a statement opposing the proposed title change May 28.

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