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I recently wrote an article about the topic of rebranding – specifically the attempt by the AAPA to change the title of “Physician Assistant” to “Physician Associate.”

I did not mean in any way to denigrate the noble profession of the PA.  PAs are wonderful and talented people who spend long hours dedicating themselves to the well-being and health of others.  Especially during this past pandemic, they have stood nobly in places where no one else would stand – caring deeply for others.  They undergo very extensive training as well.  Chalilah that anyone should every question the capabilities of a PA or their dedication.

I apologize to those who have taken offense.  And was wrong for beginning the article with an illustration of something that had happened to a good friend. I realize that the article, the way it was written, could have chalilah adversely affected the reputation and income of some pretty holy people.  The community, as well as this author, is in great debt to the PAs who stood at the frontlines protecting our health.

I still feel that the title should not be changed, but that is a separate issue.

I wholeheartedly apologize for any hurt and pain I may have caused and I thank them all for their dedication and service.

Yair Hoffman


  1. “I still feel that the title should not be changed, but that is a separate issue”

    And why Not?
    I’m all for it.
    I’m in the medical field.
    But it’s a BIG problem when Laymen don’t know the difference between a medical assistant and a Physician assistant!

    Can PAs start calling themselves “physician associates” now?

    AAPA’s legal counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP recommends that PAs refrain from representing themselves as “physician associates” at this time. Our view is based on the following:

    Implementing the new HOD policy is going to be complex, challenging, and take many years to complete. There are many intertwined considerations that require thoughtful due diligence to ensure we do not jeopardize any aspect of implementation. It would be unwise for the profession to appear to be out in front of state and federal legislatures and regulators. The next few years of work will be critical and must be strategically undertaken. Winning and keeping allies will be essential. The profession should not do anything to make this already-challenging process harder.

    Prematurely using the term “physician associate” may be viewed as confusing to patients and could be interpreted as the PA stepping beyond the scope of their current license. This could subject the PA to a regulatory challenge or discipline from their state licensing board or an attorney general’s office action. Other professions looking to hold back the PA profession may seize upon such premature usage to file complaints with the regulators.

    Employers or healthcare facilities where the PA has privileges could view the action as a violation of policy, procedure, or professional staff bylaws.
    There may be professional malpractice issues if adverse outcomes are linked to perceived “informed consent” violations from patients who claim they believed they were being treated by a physician. A malpractice insurer could use this as an excuse not to cover the claim.

  2. “I apologize to those who have taken offense”
    So basically you stand by what you said initially and are apologizing because you got called out.
    With an apology like this you should be a politician.

  3. Given the frequency and very high quality of Rav Hoffman’s columns, and his 99 percent track record of presenting his views and opinions in a respectful way, I really don’t think we need to dwell on this one instance where he should have used alternative terminology. Just move on.

  4. Physician Assistants should be allowed to be called Physician Associates. Also Covid wasn’t created in a wuhan lab and I never once disrespected President Trump. Additionally, please get the covid vaccine so we can all get better reception. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

  5. bk613:
    No; some subtlety and discerning would be useful here.
    He apologized for any hurt and for anyone who might have thought less of a PA as a result of his original article.
    However, he does still feel that the present title of …Assistant rather than …Associate, is the right one.
    Seems very reasonable to me.