The AOA Grows a Pair and Fights Back Against Non-doctors Calling Themselves Doctors

For those that don’t know, Physician Assistants have rebranded themselves to Physician Associates. This is all in the name of competing with NPs and to confuse patients as they get their doctorate. You can read the article here: AAPA House of Delegates Votes to Change Profession Title to Physician Associate.

Finally, one of the medical organizations that represents doctors has come out with a statement. The whole thing is here but here are some highlights we liked:

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), which proudly represents its professional family of more than 151,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and medical students nationwide, is deeply concerned by the potential harm to patient care and patient safety resulting from the erosion of physician-led, team-based care. A physician-led team ensures that professionals with the highest level and most extensive degree of medical education and training are adequately involved in clinical decisions and patient care. “Physician-led” does not imply “physician optional.”

Non-physician clinicians, including APRNs and PAs, are an integral part of physician-led healthcare teams. Healthy discussions and collaboration, regarding safe and appropriate skill set substitution, roles and responsibilities are in order, and we welcome them.  However, recent rhetoric has limited this important discussion to claimed territory and optical positioning through the use of professional titles, such as “Doctor” in a clinical setting by non-physicians and “Physician Associate” without consultation with the physician community.  Further, we recognize the struggle of achieving professional parity (i.e. scope of practice, prescribing and compensation) between APRNs and PAs. However, efforts to seek parity among non-physician clinicians must not be at the expense of the truth in advertising and clarity of roles in our healthcare system.

The problem is that “statements” aren’t enough. All the physician organizations need to come together and pool some funds for a massive PR campaign to educate patients. They need to know who is treating them and the incredible differences in training between the APRNs/PAs and real physicians.

Remember when these non-doctors wanted collaboration? Well, the Trojan horse is here. They always wanted competition and we let them right in through the front door.

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