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NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)12/18/2015
December Newsletter

Message from the President/CEO: Call for Comments on New Recertification Exam Model Issued

New Personalized Reports

Announcement of 2016 Policy Changes

"Wrap Up" Outstanding Requirements

Android Users: Your Turn!

Emergency Medicine CAQ Exam

PA History Society

Smiles For Life

Message from the President/CEO: Call for Comments on New Recertification Exam Model Issued

Last month NCCPA announced that – after a year-long study of PA practice, PA perceptions and preferences regarding today’s PANRE, and other data-gathering efforts – the Board of Directors has selected  a new recertification exam model for further exploration.

As NCCPA’s first PA president/CEO, I took on this role last year with a real commitment to be responsible to the public while being responsive to my profession. This new approach to the recertification exam does exactly that in my view. It maintains the generalist PA-C credential and PA flexibility while providing the opportunity for PAs to select assessment content that more directly relates to individual PAs’ practice areas; it facilitates continued learning and knowledge retention in more effective ways; and it offers borderline test-takers an opportunity to remediate through CME instead of facing retesting or loss of certification.

In “Re-examining Recertification for the PA Profession,” a white paper published this week online, we lay out the two key principles on which work to develop a new model was based, the perspectives and data that informed the model’s development, a description of the model ultimately selected for exploration, and the rationale for that choice.

I hope you will take the time to read that paper to understand this important issue more fully. Then starting on February 1, 2016, you will be invited to participate in a profession-wide survey to provide your reaction to the model. Between now and then, we will continue to post “Q&A” items on our website and to seek the opportunity to talk with PA groups throughout the country to support informed participation in this comment period and in the survey. If you have questions or comments now about this new model, please write to

Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C

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New Personalized Reports Coming to Your PA Professional Profile

Ever wonder how your experience as a certified PAs compares to that of your peers?

Later this month we are releasing new personalized reports that will compare your Profile response to those of all certified PAs, to PAs in your state, to PAs in your specialty, and to PAs who are in your state and specialty. These reports will show you comparisons in the areas of salary, years in practice, hours practiced per week, and more, giving you greater insight into where you fit on the PA practice spectrum.

If you haven’t updated your PA Professional Profile in your online record at, please do it now. Then check back later this month or in the new year to see the new comparative reports.

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Announcement of 2016 Policy Changes

More Flexible PANRE Scheduling

Starting in 2016, PAs will have more flexibility and control over the timing of scheduling PANRE attempts.

Recertifying PAs will still have four total attempts to pass PANRE in the final two years of the certification maintenance cycle, but starting next year up to three of those attempts can be made in the last year of the certification maintenance cycle. (Previously, PAs have been limited to two attempts per year in the final two years.)

Beginning in 2016, PAs may take PANRE up to two times in the ninth year (or fifth year for those completing a six year certification maintenance cycle) and up to three times in the tenth year (or sixth year for those completing a six year certification maintenance cycle), with a maximum of four total attempts.

And while the 90-day waiting period between exams is still in effect, we have added more flexibility with this policy, too. In short, the 90-day limit on PANRE attempts will be waived when (1) there are fewer than 90 days left in the certification expiration year and (2) you haven’t already exhausted all PANRE attempts for the year. If you fall into this scenario, one final attempt to pass the exam will be permitted.

PANCE Now Limited to Initial Certification

Beginning Jan. 1, PANCE – the initial certification exam -- will no longer be a testing option for PAs who are maintaining or regaining certification. PANCE will be used only for initial certification, as designed.

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Reminder: "Wrap Up" Outstanding Certification Maintenance Requirements

Sign in now to check the status of your certification maintenance requirements and wrap everything up if yours expires in 2015. Then relax and enjoy the holidays!

And thank you from NCCPA for all you do for the PA profession. We wish you a wonderful holiday and a healthy and prosperous 

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Android Users: Your Turn!

The new NCCPA app for Androids will be available – free – later this month in the Google Play store as promised!

With this app you can log CME, edit CME activities, upload photos of CME certificates to your permanent record, view your personal dashboard to check the status of your certification maintenance activities, and more.

The app will work on the following Android versions (but may work on older versions):

4.1.x  Jelly Bean

4.2.x  Jelly Bean

4.3      Jelly Bean

4.4      KitKat

5.0      Lollipop

5.1      Lollipop

6.0      Marshmallow

Have questions or feedback to offer? Email with your comments or suggestions.

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Emergency Medicine CAQ Exam

NCCPA will offer a special administration of the Emergency Medicine Specialty Exam in conjunction with SEMPA 360 on April 4, 2016. The exam will be offered at Pearson VUE’s two San Diego locations. Registration for the exam is now openon the NCCPA website. Since the test centers will also be testing for other groups on that date, we encourage you to schedule your exam early to secure a spot.

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Happy Holidays from the PA History Society!

The PAHx Board of Trustees are pleased to welcome three new members:  John Davis, PA-C; Henry Heard, MPAS, PA, PA-C; and Stephen Wilson, PA-C, who will begin serving on the Society board in January.

Also next month, Karen Mulitalo, MPAS, PA-C will begin her term as President; Maryann Ramos, MPH, PA, as Secretary-Treasurer;  and Fred Sadler, MD, as Immediate Past President.

We would like to extend a very special thank-you to Tom Piemme, MD; Gino Gianola, PA, MA, DFAAFA; and Mary Warner, MMSc, PA-C for their years of dedication and service on the PAHx Board, as their terms conclude at the end of December.

Are you looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? The Society’s illustrated history book makes a terrific gift for your favorite PA or “PA wannabe”! Order forms are available online.

History is always being made... find out more by visiting the PA History Society's website for the latest features and new exhibits throughout the site.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to "like" PA History on Facebook to receive updates, and to try your hand with PA history trivia!

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Smiles for Life ... There's a FREE App for That!

The three-minute oral exam just got easier with the Oral Health App, a free reference tool designed to assist clinicians in formulating real-time diagnoses for oral conditions.

“The mouth provides a window into the body, and science has documented how oral health is connected to overall health,” said Cynthia B. Lord, MHS, PA-C, nccPA Health Foundation Board Chair.  “This tool provides all PAs with ready access to the knowledge and resources needed to provide a more comprehensive physical exam that includes the oral cavity.”

The app allows clinicians to input patient concerns and physical findings for assistance in formulating potential diagnoses, and it offers triage and treatment recommendations as well as practical advice to provide the best care for patients.

The app supports the continuing PA oral health movement, a collaboration of national PA organizations, including the NCCPA and the nccPA Health Foundation, as well as PA and interprofessional champions striving to integrate oral health in practice, particularly as PAs have been recognized by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and others as “front-line primary care providers” who can make a difference.

The Oral Health App is available on both iOS and Android platforms and also includes an interactive version of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) caries risk-assessment tool and an extensive photo gallery of tooth and oral soft tissue findings.

How do you get the app? Visit the Apple or Google Play Store and search the phrase Smiles for Life Oral Health. Or, download the app from the Smiles for Life website at

Smiles for Life is the nation's only comprehensive oral health curriculum specifically designed for primary care clinicians. Developed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Smiles for Life includes eight online and downloadable modules covering oral health across the life span; completion of this free activity is approved for 8.5 Category I CME credits. Learn more at

Development of this app was supported by funding from the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH).

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At NCCPA, we work to promote the role, impact and qualifications of PAs in many ways including through the media. Here are some recent results.

This month, NCCPA is advertising the role and value of certified PAs in AAP News (American Academy of Pediatrics) and AIS Health Business Daily, targeted at insurers/payers.

Also Physicians Practice posted this blog by Valery DeSimone, PA-C, on Medicare’s annual wellness visit: A Win-Win for Patient and Practice

Want to get involved? If you have a great article idea or a story to share, contact PR manager, Mary Rittle, at

Be the change: Expand your impact. Apply for nccPA Health Foundation fundingfor an event in your community.

Don’t get caught next year without the latest browser! In our August issue, we wrote about PCI standards that require the most current versions of internet browsers be used when making payments. To be in compliance with these standards, we are updating our website early next year. When you go to the sign in area of the website you’re alerted whether the browser you’re using is compatible with those new standards. If it’s not, you’re directed to further information and instructions on what to donext.

We encourage you to perform this check from all devices you use to access our website before next year so you don’t find yourself unable to sign in at a time when you might have requirements due to maintain your certification.

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants is dedicated to serving the interest of the public. We do so with a passionate belief that certified physician assistants are essential members of the health care delivery team who provide millions access to more affordable, high quality health care.

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