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NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)4/20/2016
April 2016 Newsletter

Update on Consideration of a New Approach to the Recertification Exam

Will We See You in San Antonio Next Month?

You and Your Fellow PAs are Caring for Over 7 Million Patients Weekly Across Every State and Specialty!

October Psychiatry CAQ Exam to Follow the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress held in Texas

Historical Happenings Spring Newsletter

Honoring PA Veterans and the Pioneers of the PA Profession

Join Your Colleagues in Receiving Grants from the nccPA Health Foundation

Update on Consideration of a New Approach to the Recertification Exam

We want to thank the more than 30,000 certified PAs who responded to our survey on the proposed PANRE model. Analysis of the results is underway, and we will publish findings soon. The formal comment period remains open until June 15. Email your comments to 

In the meantime, NCCPA leaders continue to meet with state and specialty organizations for dialogue about the model, and we are soliciting input from other stakeholders as well.


We recently added two videos to our website of NCCPA’s president/CEO answering questions about the proposed model. View them here

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Will We See You in San Antonio Next Month?

NCCPA and its partner organizations, the nccPA Health Foundation and the PA History Society, will be participating in the AAPA Conference coming up next month and hope to see you there! We are exhibiting Friday – Tuesday in the Fountain View area on the Meeting Level. There will be something for everyone at our booths, so be sure to stop by!  Read below to see what each organization will be up to at the conference:



  • Bring us your questions about your certification record, certification maintenance requirements or the CAQ program.

  • Become a part of our campaign to spread the word about the amazing work you do as a certified PA as we tell the world #PAsDoThat. (We will be giving away “Certified PAs Do That” t-shirts to the first thousand or so who visit us.) ·Earn Category 1 CME while getting an update from NCCPA during our session on May 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Download our app for Apple and Android, then stop by our booth for a quick tutorial.

nccPA Health Foundation:

  • Learn about grant opportunities that can help you make a difference in your community.

  • Tell us and share with your PA colleagues what “Be the CHANGE” means to you.

  • Meet Board members passionate about advancing the role of certified PAs to improve health and learn about the opportunity to join the Board.

 PA History Society:

  • Be the first to preview an upcoming U.S.-wide traveling exhibit on the PA profession and renderings of our vision for the Stead Center Veterans Memorial Garden– two initiatives in honor of the profession’s 50th anniversary coming up next year.

  • Check out the Society’s Educational and Historian Toolkits!

  • Tell the world (or those at the conference at least) how much you love PA history with our fun badge ribbons and other giveaways!

Stop by during our exhibit hours:

  • Friday, May 13, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Saturday, May 14, 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  • Sunday, May 15 – Tuesday, May 17, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

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You and Your Fellow PAs are Caring for Over 7 Million Patients Weekly Across Every State and Specialty!

We’ve just release a report, the 2015 Statistical Profile of Certified PAs, representing data from over 93 percent of all certified PAs in the United States. This report points to rapid growth in the profession, which currently has almost 109,000 certified PAs practicing across every state, specialty and clinical setting. Highlights of the 2015 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants include:

  • Over 70 percent of certified PAs work in specialties outside of primary care, including over 18 percent in surgical subspecialties and 13 percent in emergency medicine.

  • The states with the largest number of PAs per capita are Alaska, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Maine and New York, showing that they are in high demand in both populous and rural areas.

  • It is a young profession, and the median age of certified PAs is 38.

  • Over 22 percent of PAs communicate with patients in a second language. Over 81 percent of those PAs are speaking to patients in Spanish.

  • Full time PAs treat an average of 75 patients a week in their principal clinical position. All PAs cumulatively care for over 7 million patients weekly.

  • More than 13 percent of certified PAs work in a second clinical position, averaging 10 hours a week and treating 22 patients in that position.

The report, which has been picked up by many media outlets, is the most comprehensive data on the PA profession available anywhere, with profile information compiled from over 101,000 certified PAs. “What it tells us is that certified PAs are an integral part of today’s healthcare system, opening up much-needed access to care for all populations,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, president and CEO of NCCPA. “The ever increasing demand, as evidenced by the fact that PA degree programs are expected to grow from 199 today to 273 in 2020, means that certified PAs will continue to step up and fill the healthcare gaps wherever they exist.”

Have you viewed your personalized profile reports yet?

Just over 25,000 PAs have signed in to view the personalized reports now available within your PA Professional Profile. Those reports compare your Profile responses 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 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.

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October Psychiatry CAQ Exam to Follow the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress held in Texas  –  Register NOW to Secure a Spot!

In conjunction with the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, NCCPA will offer a special administration of the Psychiatry Specialty Exam for those pursuing a CAQ in that specialty on Oct. 24 and 25, 2016. The exam will be offered at both of Pearson VUE’s San Antonio locations. Since the test centers will also be testing for other clients on that date, we encourage you to schedule your exam early.

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Honoring PA Veterans and the Pioneers of the PA Profession

The PA History Society established the John McElligott Veterans Memorial Garden at the Stead Center in Durham, N.C. in 2007 when a bronze statue of a medic bandaging the wounds of a fallen soldier was given to the Society to commemorate the contributions of former military corpsmen as pioneers of the PA profession.  

Ten years later, the Society is now raising funds to update the overgrown landscaping, add a sitting area near the statue, spotlights for the flag pole, and a fence to enclose the garden area.

Will you help us honor PA veterans and the pioneers of the PA profession by supporting the garden renovation project with a tax-deductible donation? We plan to dedicate the professionally landscaped Veteran Garden in April 2017 as part of a year-long celebration of the PA profession’s 50th anniversary.  

The Stead Center and gardens are regularly visited by PAs, veterans and PA students. 

Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to: PA History Society, 12000 Findley Road, Suite 160, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097.  

Please mark “Garden” on the memo line of your check. For more information about this project, please see our website, or write to us at

Check out the spring edition of Historical Happenings, the Society’s quarterly newsletter, for the latest news in PA history!

The Society’s illustrated history book is an excellent way to learn about incredible PA profession, along with some of the people, places and events that have shaped the history of this growing profession. Order forms are available online.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to "like" PA History on Facebook to receive updates. 

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Join Your Colleagues in Receiving Grants from the nccPA Health Foundation

In 2015, the nccPA Health Foundation awarded 11 grants to PAs, PA students, and PA educators; don’t miss out on the Foundation’s three funding opportunities already announced for this year.  

“Our mission is to advance the role of certified PAs to improve health,” said Cynthia B. Lord, MHS, PA-C, Foundation Board Chair.  “We know PAs and students are doing good work that fits with our mission, and we want to empower and equip them to do more to advance equitable health care.”

See PAs and others sharing about their commitment to equitable health care in this new trailer for the Foundation’s Joining the Fight: Promoting Health Equity video.

The Foundation’s grant opportunities include two funded by the National Interprofessional Initiative in Oral Health (NIIOH) and its funders who are seeking to support PAs in taking a leadership role in outreach or in education to reduce oral health disparities:

  • Community Outreach Grant:  Receive up to $500 to work with PA colleagues in your state or specialty society, your student society, or your PA program to design a project around oral health in your community.

  • Research Integration Grant: Receive up to $3,000 to integrate oral health into your PA program curriculum or your clinical practice and evaluate your strategies.

See another need in your community? Take advantage of the Foundation-funded Be the CHANGE (Create Health Access Now for Greater Equity) grant to design a volunteer or service-learning opportunity that delivers patient education and care in your community. Certified PAs, PA organizations, and PA students may all apply to receive up to $1,000 as part of the Be the CHANGE program.  

More funding opportunities are on the way! Be on the lookout next month for an announcement about a NEW competitive, grant opportunity, especially for PAs and students who are committed to social accountability and reducing health care disparities. Stay tuned!

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At NCCPA, we work to promote the role, impact and qualifications of PAs in many ways including through the media. Recent publicity includes:


  • An article in Executive Insight by NCCPA Board Member Cynthia Griggs-Flournoy and NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias. Read Certified PAs Boost Patient Satisfaction.

  • A press release on the new 2015 Statistical Profile on Certified PAs citing national demographics, which was picked up by major publications including Fierce Practice Management and Becker’s Hospital Review.

  • Meeting with reporters and editors at the Association of Healthcare Journalists in Cleveland to create interest in articles about certified PAs.


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


PA Health Foundation


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Feedback and questions are always welcome. Send general inquiries and comments to and messages about the new recertification exam model to Or contact our President/CEO.

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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