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Which PA would you choose for your healthcare?


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Imagine you are a patient and arrive at the clinic.  You are handed a piece of paper that describes two health care professionals that are available for you to pick from.  Which PA would you choose?

 

Physician Assistant:  A Physician Assistant (PA) is a health care provider licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician.  PAs can examine a patient, order labs and radiology studies, interpret the studies, diagnose and treat patients and provide health education.  PAs can not practice independently and can prescribe medications under a delegation act from a physician. 

 

Physician Associate:  A Physician Associate (PA) is a health care provider licensed to practice medicine and works collaboratively with physicians and other health care professionals.  PAs can examine a patient, order lab and radiology studies, interpret the studies, diagnose and treat patients and provide health education.  PAs make autonomous treatment decisions and can prescribe medications in all settings. 

 

Which PA would you choose?

Which way would you like PAs to be described in news article, in state laws, with state legislatures and at your employer's office?

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Absolutely ASSOCIATE. Our name and technical description is our detriment to our future.

 

Just shortening it to PA isn't going to work. Everyone will still ask what it stands for. Have to use tge legal answer.

 

KFC tried to shorten its name to hide the word FRIED. The food is still fried. Can't hide behind an acronym.....

 

I always tell my patients I am a PA or Physician Assistant and I am Dr SoandSo's PARTNER. That IS what I am.

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First I agree with associate.

 

Playing the devils advocate,

 

The OP's "questionnaire" is not very well written. One could simply swap the "physician assistant" with the "physician associate" in the above options and I would wager patients would "pick" the second option despite it starting with physician assistant. Also one could make both choices "physician assistant" and the patient would be likely (IMO) to "pick" the second option as well. This is most likely due to the description/narrative associated, not the title of the provider. 

 

If I opposed a name change (and was arguing against it) and read a "study" based on the OP's "questionnaire" I would discount it based partially on my above statement.

 

Using the OP's example, one way to set this up would be to have four options (different "questionnaires"). the first would be as the OP stated, the second would only swap the provider titles, leaving the narrative alone. the third and forth would have the titles the same for both narratives. Four choices, one would be randomly selected to be given each patient. I feel that would give a more accurate description of patients attitudes/thoughts.

 

Anyway, I'm sure there are many different ways this information could be gathered. And I'm sure my above example has its flaws so don't use it as a template.

 

I do however think Paula is on to something here.  

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Evolute is right, I think.  My survey so far is an abject failure.  So far, the patients have all circled Physician Assistant.

 

One stated to me........ I don't know what a Physician Associate is......since I know what a Physician's Assistant is I'll pick that one.  This patient is a nursing student.   UGH.

 

The other two (okay, I've only had 3 patients fill out the survey)  both circled Assistant too.  I think it is because I am their PA and they don't want to hurt my feelings!  LOL!

 

So the survey needs to be done outside of a medical office and not administered by the patient's PA.!!!  

 

I'm giggling to myself right now because at times I think I am so smart and then prove myself wrong.  Keeps me humble. 

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We had this discussion many times when i was in PA school and we had several staff involved in the political side of things.  I agree Associate would be great moving forward. 

 

Opposition exists for 2 reasons:

 

1. Changing legislature both nationally and in every state to reflect the name change would be incredibly costly as every bill and article would need to have an amendment to reflect the change.

2. Currently we use physicians as our backing to get much of our rights to practice, by moving to be more independent we would "threaten" our backers with the AMA who help us to pass legislation that provides us with the ability to provide care.

 

NP's have an immense backing with The nurse Union and lobbyist being immense which is why they can stand alone.  PA's as a profession simply do not have the backing. Our other option would be to try to team up with NP's ie nurse unions to  still maintain or legal / lobbyist push with the legislators.

 

Hope this helps.

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I don't buy the cost argument.  It did not cost Missouri a lot of money (to my knowledge no one mentioned it) when the assistant physician profession law was passed.  No legislator said "we can't have this new title for a medical profession because it will cost too much money to change the physician profession to add another definition for it".  Nope, they just passed the law. 

 

AMA, state medical societies and medical examining boards generally oppose any expansion for PAs to have independent practice or expansion to our scope, etc. 

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Evolute is right, I think.  My survey so far is an abject failure.  So far, the patients have all circled Physician Assistant.

 

One stated to me........ I don't know what a Physician Associate is......since I know what a Physician's Assistant is I'll pick that one.  This patient is a nursing student.   UGH.

 

The other two (okay, I've only had 3 patients fill out the survey)  both circled Assistant too.  I think it is because I am their PA and they don't want to hurt my feelings!  LOL!

 

So the survey needs to be done outside of a medical office and not administered by the patient's PA.!!!  

 

I'm giggling to myself right now because at times I think I am so smart and then prove myself wrong.  Keeps me humble. 

Paula, Your study is not a failure. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, you just found one way that it don't work.

Also, realize that you are working against 40+ years of name recognition (physician assistant vs physician associate). I think the survey could be administered in the medical clinic ( and other places) Just not by the clinical staff, maybe by the registration person? IDK, but that would help remove bias from the clinical staff. Just a thought.

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We had this discussion many times when i was in PA school and we had several staff involved in the political side of things.  I agree Associate would be great moving forward. 

 

Opposition exists for 2 reasons:

 

1. Changing legislature both nationally and in every state to reflect the name change would be incredibly costly as every bill and article would need to have an amendment to reflect the change.

2. Currently we use physicians as our backing to get much of our rights to practice, by moving to be more independent we would "threaten" our backers with the AMA who help us to pass legislation that provides us with the ability to provide care.

 

NP's have an immense backing with The nurse Union and lobbyist being immense which is why they can stand alone.  PA's as a profession simply do not have the backing. Our other option would be to try to team up with NP's ie nurse unions to  still maintain or legal / lobbyist push with the legislators.

 

Hope this helps.

 

First, I don't believe the cost argument. Sure there will be some cost associated with someone having to change "assistant" to "associate". I guess the cost of said changes depends on if the person doing the changes works for the government or not.

 

Second, the AMA, or any other physician association (to the best of my knowledge) has never lobbied for the advancement of the PA profession. Having said that, why  should we be concerned about them?

 

We, as a profession need to promote our own identity.     

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