Back to Newsletters
NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)8/22/2016
August 2016 Newsletter

Broader Range of Potential Changes to PANRE Now Under Consideration

Changes to CME Requirements Effective Immediately

You are Not Alone!

Thanks to PA Director-at-Large Applicants

Last Chance - One More CAQ Window Left

Practice Exams - a Good Way to Prepare for PANCE, PANRE and CAQ Exams

PA History Society Seeking New Board Trustees

Foundation Video Selected for the APHA's Film Festival

Broader Range of Potential Changes to PANRE Now Under Consideration, Invitation Issued for Discussion with AAPA and Others

At its recent meeting, the NCCPA Board decided to expand the range of potential changes to PANRE under consideration, recognizing PA concerns that have emerged regarding the model published last fall for public comment.

During that public comment period, announced in November 2015 and concluded in June 2016, NCCPA gathered PA feedback through a variety of means, including a profession-wide survey, meetings, email and online channels. Response from PAs was mixed, and a common theme of concern was the introduction of a specialty-related proctored exam (as one part of the recertification process) and the perception that it could potentially impede PAs’ ability to easily change specialties.

The Board is taking those concerns seriously. NCCPA has said from the start that its consideration of potential changes was predicated on two key principles: serving the public’s interest in ensuring that certification is a reliable indicator that certified PAs have the clinical knowledge and cognitive skills to practice safely and effectively throughout their careers, and supporting the professional flexibility PAs have to change specialties by maintaining the generalist nature of the PA-C credential.

In continuation of a lengthy data-gathering process, this summer NCCPA has surveyed state licensing board members and the public and will soon survey employers regarding their view of the current PANRE and potential changes.

Results of those stakeholder surveys and the substantial feedback collected from PAs will be considered when the Board meets in November, at which time the group hopes to reach a decision regarding the future format and content of the PA recertification exam process.

In the meantime, NCCPA has invited leaders of AAPA, PAEA and the ARC-PA to a September meeting to discuss their perspectives on the PA recertification process and the current state of relationships among the organizations.

“We have an obligation as a certifying organization to identify the most appropriate, valid and relevant ways to assess maintenance of the knowledge needed for safe and effective practice,” says Board chair Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C. “From the beginning of the public comment process, we have sought dialogue with other PA organizations, and we are happy to see those conversations are continuing.”

In addition to these additional stakeholder surveys and meetings, NCCPA’s staff is working on cost estimates and implementation timelines the reflect the range of potential changes to PANRE supported by the data gathered thus far.

NCCPA President/CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C adds, “The challenges and opportunities in certifying such a professionally diverse group in ways that are both effective and relevant are significant. We have welcomed the input of many into this process and continue to do so. Ultimately, the NCCPA Board will weigh stakeholder perspectives with data on the current state of PA practice, consider the practical implications of change for those we certify, and ensure that the outcome will continue to serve well the public’s interest. NCCPA is committed to an evidence-based recertification exam process that supports the delivery of high quality, affordable, accessible health care.”

NCCPA will publish findings from stakeholder surveys here later this fall.

Back to Top
In Case You Missed It: Changes to CME Requirements Effective Immediately

Last week, NCCPA announced that self-assessment CME and PI-CME are no longer required. However, in recognition of the value of these very interactive types of CME, NCCPA will weight those types of CME more heavily, awarding extra credit for these now optional types of CME. Read the full announcement online.

Back to Top

You are Not Alone!

As the profession has buzzed online and elsewhere about potential changes to PANRE, it has become apparent that many PAs mistakenly believe that ours is the only medical profession that requires practitioners to periodically take and pass secure, proctored exams to remain certified. PAs are far from alone in being held to the standard of periodic exams. For more, view a snapshot of recertification requirements across the health care professions online.

Back to Top


Thanks to PA Director-At-Large Applicants

Almost 100 PAs have applied to join the NCCPA Board in 2017, a record response to our call for candidates. Thank you to all who applied! Applications are now in review, and the NCCPA Board will elect new members at its November meeting.

Back to Top


Last Chance – One More CAQ Window Left

If you want to achieve recognition for your specialty experience through NCCPA's voluntary CAQ program, with only one window left this year, now is the time to schedule your CAQ exam. All CAQ exams will be administered nationwide on Sept. 12-16.

The Psychiatry Specialty Exam is also being offered on Oct. 24-25 in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the  U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress.

To sign up for the program or schedule an exam, sign in to your record.

NCCPA offers CAQs in seven specialties: cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, nephrology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry.

Back to Top


Practice Exams – a Good Way to Prepare for PANCE, PANRE and CAQ Exams

NCCPA offers practice exams for PAs preparing for PANCE, PANRE or any of the seven specialty exams we offer to those pursuing a CAQ. Our practice exams help you assess your relative strengths and weaknesses across the content areas covered on the actual exams, which can help you direct your preparation efforts most effectively.

These online practice exams cost $50. Sign in to register for a practice exam, or read more online.  

Back to Top

Seeks New Board Trustees

The Society plans to fill two Trustee positions for a three-year term (2017 – 2019), with a second three-year term optional after completing a successful first term.  

Interested candidates should email a Letter of Interest and a CVor resume (student candidates also include Program Director Acknowledgment Form) to: PAHx Nominating Committee, c/o Lori Konopka-Sauer at

Applications will be accepted through September 12, 2016. For more information on these voluntary board positions please visit the PAHx website.

Fundraiser Continues for the Veterans Memorial Garden Located at The Stead Center

PaversTax deductible donations can be mailed to: PA History Society, 12000 Findley Road, Suite 160, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097. Please mark “Garden” for a general monetary donation, or “Paver” on the memo line of your check.  

Credit card payments for general donations (non-brick paver orders) are accepted via the PAHx website here. Please mark “Garden” next to your name. 

Veterans GardenThe History Society continues to raise funds for the Veterans Memorial Garden, a site that honors the contributions made by former and current military PAs to the PA profession. In addition to accepting general monetary donations, the Society has also established a “buy an engraved paver” program with the Bricks R Us Company. The tax deductible 9x9 inch brick pavers, which honor PA veterans and PAs on active duty in the Uniformed Services, can be purchased online here. The engraved paver will include the appropriate uniformed service logo and 3 lines for name, branch and years of service. The engraved brick pavers will be embedded in the wheelchair accessible walkway and the patio surrounding the centerpiece of the garden, the life-size bronze combat medic statue and flagpole. The pavers are a great way for PAs to honor their PA veteran colleagues, especially those who are no longer with us. Please consider making a donation in honor of the veterans who are honored by this garden. For more information about this project, please visit our website, or write to us at

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

Back to Top

Video Selected for the APHA's Film Festival

Health Foundation VideoThe Foundation’s Joining the Fight for Oral Health: Promoting Health Equity has been selected for inclusion in the American Public Health Association’s Film Festival at its Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver, Colorado, this Fall. Watch the video (9:15) and trailer (1:38) online.

Launched in March, the video featured 5 certified PAs, 2 PA students, a patient, and interprofessional champions sharing their experiences in doing more to improve the oral health and the overall health of all and especially those most in need.  

“At the Foundation, we wanted to place a spotlight on the impact of poor oral health and other health disparities where we believe PAs are leaders in creating opportunities for everyone to reach optimal health,” said Board Chair Cynthia Booth Lord, MHS, PA-C. “We also hoped this video would invite a larger conversation about how to foster more equitable health care.”  

The video will be presented with other short (5-15 minute) films at the APHA meeting, and its inclusion will extend the video’s message about the role and scope of PAs to improve health to the public health audience.

“With more than 110,000 certified PAs and counting, we are excited to showcase the vitality and passion of PAs to impact health,” said CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C.  

The video’s clarion call to “be the change” has become the centerpiece of the Foundation’s Be the CHANGE (Create Health Access Now for Greater Equity) grant program, which provides up to $1,000 in funding for PAs, PA students, or PA organization to address a public health need in their community PAs can also take advantage of grant opportunities for oral health integration and outreach. Learn more about all of the Foundation’s grants online.

Curious about what “be the change” means to your PA colleagues? Follow the Foundation on Twitter @nccPAHealthFdn  and find out!

Back to Top

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

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

Get the free NCCPA app!

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.

Delivered by NCCPA 12000 Findley Road Suite 100 Johns Creek, GA 30097
Website | P: 678.417.8100 | F: 678.417.8135

To ensure you always receive these emails please add to your address book.

© NCCPA, All Rights Reserved.
Back to Newsletters