PA Name Change | May 2021

AAPA House of Delegates Votes to Change Profession Title to Physician Associate 

Submitted by: Monica Morrison, PA-C, DFAAPA | 2021 Chief Delegate, Washington Academy of Physician Assistants

On May 24th, 2021 the AAPA HOD passed a resolution affirming that physician associate would be the new official title for the PA profession.  The resolution passed by a vote of 198-68.  There was a lot of passion regarding this change and testimony from all sides of the discussion. Several supported the marketing and communications firm that proposed Medical Care Practitioner as the new title. 

During this historical time, I would like to thank the WAPA delegation of Leanne Brink, Anju Jain, John Tomchick, and Justin Thibeault who served our members with distinction, hard work and diligence.  It is not an understatement to say that we are living in extraordinary times.  A monumental meeting of the House of Delegates for such an important resolution itself would have been difficult as we came together as an academy and ironed out the details and implications of changing our title.  But to do this in a ZOOM format, for four days, while considering a full consent agenda AND this resolution... it added a challenge that I could never have anticipated.  The AAPA and the HOD leadership should be commended for pulling off such a large, complex and intense meeting successfully.

The WAPA delegation was resolute in representing its membership during this time.  We sent a survey to PAs in Washington State prior to the HOD meeting and this informed us as well as the HOD reference committee as we proceeded towards the final recommendations and vote for the name change.

Thank you to members and hopefully future members who participated in this survey, it was heard at the national level. Survey Results: Survey Results on Name Change

So, what does this mean? As soon as the resolution passed, the AAPA cautioned that we not represent ourselves as physician associates until the proper regulatory title changes are in place. This will require that the title change is approved by the Washington State Legislature.  Given the current timeline of the legislative session in Olympia, we would not be able to submit a bill until the following session- at the earliest.  And we are being mindful that enabling legislation such as Optimal Team Practice will provide the best use of our lobbying resources.

We will keep you informed regarding progress towards this change as well as the efforts we are making towards Optimal Team Practice.  Remember, your membership dues go towards representing you at a state and national level.  To donate to our lobbying efforts: Legislative Contribution Form

I highly encourage you to support WAPA and its legislative efforts at such a crucial time.  Thank you for the honor of serving you as we write a new chapter in our history. MM

Read more from AAPA on the name change to Physician Associate: