OREGON Bill Looks to Rename Physician Assistants to Physician Associates

Posted By Mike Meyer, Friday, January 20, 2023

Bill Name: House Bill 2583 (HB 2583)

Primary Sponsor: Representative Ed Diehl

Status: 1/13/2023 Referred to House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care.

AmSpa’s Take: While “physician associate” may better reflect the skills and training of these professionals, this bill wouldn’t make a practical difference to current PA practice. Many states have been moving towards greater practice independence for PAs, similar to how many states allow nurse practitioners to be independent. It would be more beneficial to PAs if legislators focused on improving PA practice.

Outlook: This bill is in the first steps of the process and, based on the sponsor’s past record, it has a lower likelihood of passing.

Analysis: Currently, Oregon refers to the medical licensees that operates under physician supervision (or collaboration) as “physician assistants” (PAs), as does all other states. In 2021, the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) voted to adopt the terminology “physician associate” to reflect the greater education, scope and skills of these health care professionals. AmSpa covered some of the background to that vote when it happened.

As noted in that article, this change didn’t have any effect on state terminology; states still issued licenses for physician assistants. With HB 2583, Oregon seeks to become the first state to adopt the “physician associate” title.

The bill itself is rather lengthy, but its effect is to replace the old PA term for the new term in all the places where PA occurs in Oregon’s statutes. Beyond that, it would have no effect on the practice or licensing for these professionals. If you would like additional information, to read the language of the bill, or to contact the sponsors or committee, you can find the information you need here.