329 Physician Assistant Scope of Practice 2015
those in opposition to altering the name argue that such an endeavor is an
intricate and expensive one, particularly for such a heavily regulated profession. 400 The work involved in achieving a title change could potentially undermine more important endeavors, such as improving educational opportunities for PAs, removing legal barriers to PA practice, and sponsoring
philanthropic ventures. 401 Changing the title of the profession would require
legislative and regulatory amendments at the federal state and territorial
level. 402 Finally, those who support upholding the profession’s current name
point to the fact that efforts to amend laws, regulations or policies to the
contrary could potentially endanger current law or policy because when
statutes are “open” for modification, new limiting language can be incorporated within them. 403
A second issue of wording surrounds the concept of PA “supervision.” 404
While the PA profession strongly embraces team practice with physicians,
values the depth and breadth of physician knowledge and clinical expertise,
and affirms that the team practice model is good for patients, the term “
supervision” inadequately describes the method in which doctors and PAs in-we have maintained high standards for the profession, we will be certain to have a vital role
in the future of health care in this country . . . . What we are called by our patients is not the
issue. How we are perceived by them in the care we provide is more important. Our patients
expect only the best care they can possibly receive and rightfully so! Their judgment of the
quality of care is not always made on the basis of the title of the practitioner who is delivering the service but, more importantly, on the outcome”).
400. James F. Cawley, Get Used To It: Why the Name Change is Impractical, PA PROF.
27, 27 (June/July 2011) (“Changing the name of the PA profession would be a monumental
task where the statutes of virtually all states and legislative jurisdictions, plus all federal and
state regulations pertaining to PAs, would need to be amended. This clearly would take decades and millions of dollars.”).
401. AFPPA Membership Supports PA Name Change from “Assistant” to “Associate,”
supra note 394.
402. Cawley, supra note 400, at 27 (“Changing the name of the PA profession would be
a monumental task where the statutes of virtually all states and legislative jurisdictions, plus
all federal and state regulations pertaining to PAs, would need to be amended.”); see also
William B. Mosher, Redefining the Physician Assistant Profession Will Take More Than a
Name Change, THE CLINICAL ADVISOR (Nov. 30, 2011), http://www.clinical
change/printarticle/217900/ (“ A change to our name will necessitate a great deal of time and
expense, ranging from changing federal and state legislation and re-licensing to changing
logos and stationery, etc.”).
403. Id. (“Veterans of state legislative campaigns also know that when a statute comes
up for review by the legislature, it presents the opportunity for opposing groups to add unfriendly language/amendments that could unwittingly restrict PA practice or directly undo
hard-fought0for prescribing or scope of practice stipulations.”).
404. See Mosher, supra note 402 (“Analogous to a name change is the need to change
or clarify the perception of our profession. ”Assistant” and “supervision” are two confounding terms that go hand-in-hand to hinder our role in the health-care delivery system. A name
change must be accompanied by an accurate redefinition of how a PA is trained, what a PA
does and how a PA does it.”).