AAPA Provides Update on PA Title Change and Brand Development

Timeline Details June – July 2021 Accomplishments

August 26, 2021

Since AAPA’s House of Delegates voted to change the profession’s title to physician associate during its May 24 meeting, AAPA has been working on title change implementation and on branding development. Here are several milestones during the past few months.

  • AAPA’s Advocacy team surveyed Constituent Organizations to better understand their legislative priorities for pursuing Optimal Team Practice and title change.
  • AAPA sent letters to 19 medical organizations with which we have medical liaison relationships to address the intent of and rationale behind the title change.
  • AAPA CEO Lisa Gables is conducting external outreach efforts with representatives of medical organizations, government agencies, employers, payers, and medical boards to bring clarity to the rationale behind title change, to discuss practice barriers, and to identify areas of collaboration for the benefit of all patients. To date, we have conducted meetings with U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, leaders at the Veterans Health Administration, and leadership from the American Osteopathic Association, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Emergency Medicine, College of Urgent Care Medicine, American College of Radiology, and the Primary Care Collaborative.
  • AAPA continues its work with legal counsel to proactively address specific challenges and/or concerns.
  • AAPA continues its collaborative efforts with partner organizations PAEA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA.

As title change implementation continues, AAPA’s legal counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP, recommends that PAs refrain from representing themselves as physician associates at this time. For more details on the rationale behind this decision, as well as other legal considerations, please see the Title Change FAQs.

Brand Development
In addition to title change, AAPA is also working on new branding for the PA profession. As you know, WPP’s research indicated that regardless of a title change, the profession is in need of branding.  AAPA began a partnership with national communications and advocacy firm GMMB in late June to begin the profession’s brand development. This plan will become the roadmap for how we communicate the value of PAs and maximally leverage the profession in the healthcare landscape.  While we have not yet determined the launch timeline for the new brand, we will be counting on each of you to be a new-brand ambassador!

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