A Note About Updates to the FAQs
Given the complexity associated with implementing a title change, and as we learn more during meetings with stakeholders, AAPA will be updating these FAQs on a regular basis. Please check back frequently for updated content. For questions not covered here, please email [email protected].
Why Title Change
Timing of Title Change
Considerations for COs
Educating the Public
First, AAPA is developing a branding campaign to demonstrate the vital role that PAs have in healthcare. It will likely include advertising, earned media, communications toolkits for our key audiences, and more. Branding gives meaning to consumers; our campaign’s goal is to increase awareness about the PA role in healthcare. The branding campaign will also help to educate all stakeholders on the new title.
It’s also vitally important that all PAs take part in showcasing the PA brand. Brand can be reflected in those very personal and caring conversations you have with a patient, and then that patient shares with their friends, family, and colleagues. Here are some more examples of how a brand might be showcased:
- Brand is the stories shared via earned media or paid media focusing on medical interactions a patient has had with a PA that have resulted in successful treatments in conjunction with real compassion.
- Brand is showcasing a PA on a panel of experts at a hospital conference where the PA is providing perspective, learnings, and education on how the healthcare system can deliver high-quality care to patients.
- Brand is a media story featuring a PA working with an Indigenous population in Alaska, bringing preventive care to a place in the U.S. that has been ignored – providing these patients with the hope that they too can lead healthy lives.
- Brand is a social influencer or entertainer who is your patient – and they tell the story of how the best value in healthcare needs some attention. The PA, who has been part of their healthcare team, is the one who made the biggest difference in their care: their true partner in wellness.
- Brand is a major network interview with a PA astronaut and her thoughts around the future of healthcare.
- Brand is partnering with corporations or medical celebrities who can amplify PA voices and tell your stories to bigger audiences.
- Brand is sitting on an esteemed National Panel at a revered medical organization to represent the profession on a body of work that will impact the way primary care is delivered.
- Brand is research (AAPA or PA) that provides insights into how mental health can best be addressed with patients during well visits.
The PA brand is who you are and what you do each day to deliver on your purpose. Those interactions, stories, and your devotion to your patients will serve to educate and elevate the PA role in healthcare.
Title Change Implications
The estimated cost in the final Title Change Investigation report is $21.6 million. This estimate was based on discovery, research, and environment at the time of publication. For details, please refer to the Financial Impact Analysis section of the November 2020 Final Report to the AAPA House of Delegates, pg. 81-85.
Pursuit of state legislative initiatives such as OTP will continue to be determined by PA state chapters. Each state chapter will make its own determination about pursuing the profession’s title change as well as OTP, which remains a top priority of AAPA.
In developing the plan, AAPA made sure the strategy was flexible enough to enable us to pivot as necessary to account for the variety of possible outcomes with both the Title Change Investigation and Optimal Team Practice.
Each organization prepared a report for the HOD on the impact of a potential title change on their respective organization. Each organization will make its own decision about implementation. AAPA is committed to working with all PA organizations to ensure ease and accuracy of adoption.
We continue to work with PAEA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA on the complex implementation of title change.
AAPA will continue to provide high-quality resources and services to its members as the organization implements a title change. We are committed to our mission, values, and plans to support and lead the profession.
Title Change Investigation
Title change has been the subject of discussion within the PA profession for many years. There has been a long-standing concern about the disconnect between the PA profession’s brand identity – which includes title – and the role of PAs in day-to-day medical practice . . . that the title does not adequately reflect their role and responsibilities in delivering quality healthcare to patients.
The decision by AAPA’s House of Delegates (HOD) to change the PA title was the result of a methodical process that unfolded over the course of three years and was informed by rigorous and substantial research by independent experts.
At the root of title change discussions was the fact that the title “physician assistant” does not accurately describe to patients what the profession does, nor does it convey the value of PAs within the healthcare team and healthcare delivery system.
Please refer to the November 2020 Final Report to the AAPA House of Delegates, which includes input from WPP, the firm hired to conduct the investigation (to include Kantar, Kantar Research, and Landor); AAPA, the national professional organization; and Foley & Lardner LLP, AAPA’s external legal counsel.
Title Change Vote: 2021 AAPA House of Delegates Meeting