We need to continually reinforce the message that board certified dermatologists are experts due to our extensive training, when compared to the limited training of physician assistants.
ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (PRWEB) June 21, 2021
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) signed on to a joint statement opposing the American Academy of Physician Assistants (PAs) House of Delegates vote to change their title from “physician assistant” to “physician associate.” ASDSA respects the role physician assistants play in a physician-led team, but the ambiguous change in title will confuse patients, who may think they are seeing a physician who is an associate in the practice.
“Patient safety is always our top priority. I see patients who have been injured by devices pioneered by dermatologic surgeons but used by non-physician providers. We need to continually reinforce the message that board certified dermatologists are experts due to our extensive training, when compared to the limited training of physician assistants,” said ASDSA President Mathew Avram, MD, JD. “I fear that this change in title will only further confuse patients, who already need to navigate a complex medical system.”
State Affairs Work Group Chair Mona Sadeghpour, MD, stated, “Patients deserve to know who is responsible for their health care. In a climate where there is already patient confusion about whether the clinician they are seeing is a doctor, this title change only further complicates the transparency of health care delivery. If physician assistant training has not changed with regards to content and duration, then neither should the name. We will continue to fight to protect transparency in healthcare delivery for our patients.”
At the recent American Medical Association (AMA) Special Meeting of the House of Delegates, ASDSA was a co-sponsor of a resolution passed by delegates that directed the AMA to actively oppose the name change. Additionally, AMA will actively advocate that the stand-alone title ‘physician’ be used only to refer to doctors of allopathic or osteopathic medicine, and not be used in ways that could potentially mislead patients about the credentials and level of training of who is providing their care.
This is not the first time ASDSA has worked to preserve physician-directed care. In 2017, ASDSA sponsored a resolution to keep physician assistant regulation under the auspices of state medical boards, which was adopted by the AMA House of Delegates. ASDSA will continue to monitor state legislation that would allow for physician assistants to practice independently of a physician by advocating for direct, on-site supervision of all non-physician providers; truth in advertising legislation; and ensuring that physician assistant regulation stays under the purview of the state medical board.
With a membership of 6,400+ physicians, ASDSA is a 501(c) (6) association, dedicated to education and advocacy on behalf of dermatologic surgeons and their patients. For more information, visit asds.net/ASDSA
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