Physician Assistants

The AAFP position is that the term "physician assistant" should be reserved for those who undergo specific training in an accredited program as a "physician assistant." The physician assistant should be nationally certified and meet all relevant state requirements (e.g., licensure, certification, or registration) as a physician assistant.

The AAFP position is that the physician assistant should only practice in an integrated practice arrangement under the direction and responsible supervision of a practicing, licensed physician. In no instance may duties be delegated to a physician assistant for which the supervising physician does not have the appropriate training, education and demonstrated competence.

The AAFP position is that the training programs preparing physician assistants, like the training programs for all health care providers, should be constantly monitored to assure the quality of training provided and that the number of graduates reflects demonstrated needs.

The AAFP supports the concept of patient and third-party payment for services of physician assistants only where services are provided in an integrated practice arrangement and all payment for his/her services should be through the supervising physician. (1984) (2009 CoD)