Throughout the last seven months, NCCPA has repeatedly invited meaningful dialogue and substantive discourse with AAPA, hoping for a collegial and constructive discussion about how to improve the relevance of the PA recertification exam process given that more than 70% of PAs now practice outside of primary care.

We have been disappointed by the actions taken by AAPA over this past year and their unwillingness to engage in dialogue around this important issue.  AAPA has reversed course on over three decades of support for the recertification examination model, publicly attacking not only the details of NCCPA’s proposal for changes to the recertification examination but now demanding that NCCPA eliminate the PA National Recertifying Examination entirely. A timeline of events showing the interaction between our two organizations has been posted on our website.

Earlier this week, AAPA announced its intention to take steps toward the creation of an alternative certifying body, presumably under a model that abandons any testing of PA knowledge, skills, or competence after initial entrance into the profession.

We are concerned that this move on the part of AAPA may undermine the credibility of the profession, and we are not alone. Already we have heard from current and former members of the AAPA HOD who have expressed grave concerns about this AAPA Board decision. In May, the HOD defeated not one but two resolutions that suggested an alternative to NCCPA should be explored.  

The timing of this precipitous decision is also strange given that it has been well publicized that NCCPA is still in the exploratory stage of its discussions about potential changes to the recertification process; no decision has yet been made. Also, NCCPA’s Board has not met since early May and thus has not yet had an opportunity to discuss AAPA’s HOD resolution and subsequent communications. We find it puzzling that after this Board extended the public comment period to allow time for the HOD to offer its views of potential changes to the recertification exam, AAPA has gone on to issue a threatening legal letter and now this most recent decision before NCCPA’s Board has even had opportunity to meet and discuss the HOD resolution.

Over the last several months, AAPA has publicly challenged NCCPA to prove that recertification testing is relevant to patient outcomes, safety, and satisfaction. NCCPA has already posted on its website the abundant evidence, from published studies in peer-reviewed journals, that support NCCPA’s recertification examination model and NCCPA’s proposed changes to that model.  We look forward to a similar standard of evidence to document that AAPA’s proposed alternative certifying body and elimination of the recertifying exam requirement would best serve the interests of PAs, the profession and the patients served.

We remain committed to working on your behalf and for the benefit of patients to improve the recertification process, and we will continue to report here on those efforts.

Click Here for a Timeline of Interaction Between NCCPA and AAPA on the Subject of Potential Changes to the Recertification Exam Process