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NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)2/28/2017
February 2017 Newsletter

Certified PAs Pass PANRE at High Rates

Response to "Full Practice Authority & Responsibility" Proposal

PI-CME Benefits Practice, Patients and PAs

Schedule Exams Early at Pearson VUE!

April CAQ Exams Fast Approaching

Do You Think PAs Need More Visibility to the Public?

Employers Are Looking for You!

Call for Applications

Congratulations, PA History Society!

Don't Be Afraid to Say "Open Your Mouth"

Celebrating Record Number of Grants to PAs Improving Health

Data Shows Certified PAs Pass PANRE at High Rates

Recent word on the street has been that a growing number of PAs are struggling to pass PANRE, and so we ran the numbers.

Five-year PANRE test results show that Certified PAs have consistently done well on the PANRE exam. NCCPA offers the opportunity to take PANRE up to four times in the last two years of the PA’s certification cycle. The data show that the vast majority of PAs (92%) pass PANRE on the first attempt, with 97% of PAs ultimately passing the exam. This has been relatively consistent over the past 5 years.  

See more information and five years of PANRE data at

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Response to “Full Practice Authority & Responsibility” Proposal

An AAPA task force has proposed development of a new policy in favor of “full practice authority and responsibility,” which they have said should address four points:

  • Emphasize the PA profession’s continued commitment to team-based practice;

  • Support the elimination of provisions in laws and regulations that require a PA to have and/or report a supervisory, collaborating or other specific relationship with a physician in order to practice;

  • Advocate for the establishment of autonomous state boards, with a voting membership comprised of a majority PAs, to license, regulate, and discipline PAs; and

  • Ensure that PAs are eligible to be reimbursed directly by public and private insurance.

NCCPA's response to AAPA’s request for feedback on that proposal is as follows:

NCCPA appreciates the work that is underway to advance the PA profession and the importance of enabling PAs to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training. As the profession’s certifying body, our primary responsibility is to patient safety and the protection of the public. We remain committed to the preservation of the professional flexibility and high standards that are foundational to the PA profession. NCCPA acknowledges the complexity of full practice authority and responsibility for PAs and its implications for patients and other stakeholders. There are many details about FPAR that layer into every aspect of the PA profession that have not yet been clarified, and NCCPA looks forward to ongoing dialogue informed by thoughtful and objective analysis of valid data and information regarding this important issue and its potential implications.

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PI-CME Benefits Practice, Patients and PAs

While Performance Improvement CME (PI-CME) is no longer required for certification maintenance, some Certified PAs are voluntarily completing PI-CME activities and proving their value and positive impact. Following simple steps can lead to practice improvement and significant advances in patient care. Plus, now PAs earn double credits for this type of CME--the first 20 PI-CME credits logged during every two-year cycle will be doubled when logged with NCCPA.

Two case studies show how Certified PAs are using PI-CME to make simple but impactful improvements to patient care. Read these PI-CME success stories.  

Do you have a PI-CME story to share? Email a summary and your contact information to

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Schedule Exams Early at Pearson VUE!

If you’re planning to take an NCCPA exam this year, please make your testing appointment as far in advance as possible for the greatest likelihood of getting your preferred test date and location. Physicians, dentists, nurse anesthetists and others are using these exam centers as well, so these centers are in high demand. However, there is still a high likelihood of obtaining your preferred location and date if you sign up early.

When this issue surfaced on social media recently we quickly analyzed the data. Surveys of our 2016 examinees show that 92.7 % tested at the location of their choice, 94% were satisfied with the date of their appointment, and there is no downward trend.

Pearson VUE stats

We would like those satisfaction numbers to be higher, though, and know you want to test at the time and place that works best for you, so please register early for your next exam!

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April CAQ Exams Fast Approaching: Your Chance to Get the Recognition You Deserve!

If you’ve ever considered earning a CAQ in your specialty area – ever wanted to earn special recognition for your experience and expertise, to make yourself more competitive in your field, to position yourself for promotion and advancement… the time is now!

For the first time NCCPA is offering CAQ exams in the Spring, Apr. 3-4. The application deadline is March 31. Learn more about the experience, CME and physician attestation requirements, and then register today to take advantage of the Spring (Apr. 3-4) or Fall (Sept. 18-19) exam administrations.

NCCPA offers CAQs in:

Cardiovascular and thoracic surgery

Emergency medicine

Hospital medicine


Orthopaedic surgery



Special opportunity for PAs looking to earn a CAQ in Emergency Medicine: you can complete your CME requirements at the April 6-10 SEMPA 360 Conference in Phoenix and take a special administration of the Emergency Medicine Specialty Exam in Phoenix at the Phoenix and Chandler Pearson VUE locations on April 10-11. In the past, the exam after the SEMPA conference has sold out all seats, so go online and sign up now.

For those who aren’t ready to take a CAQ exam in April, CAQ exams will be offered again Sept. 18- 19 at Pearson VUE exam centers across the country. So plan your CME early in the year, and apply for a seat at the exam center of your choice as soon as possible.

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Do You Think PAs Need More Visibility to the Public?
(Part 2)

We do, too! Beyond leveraging social media (covered last month in Part 1 of this article), there are several other ways you can help educate employers, insurers and the public about the importance of Certified PAs and your contributions to the healthcare system.

NCCPA has provided resources to support all of these things on our website.

  1. Explain what Certified PAs do by delivering a presentation at your local rotary club, hospital, schools, etc.).

  2. Print and share fliers with your patients in the exam room or waiting area of your workplace.

  3. Use our press release templates to share news with your local publications, alumni newsletters, and employer newsletters when you recertify or join a new practice.

Visit to access these resources, and help spread the word.

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In Case You Missed It: Employers Are Looking for You!

Employers are looking for Certified PAs from Seattle to Miami and Boston to San Diego. Visit the new PA-C Career Center to search for a job, post a résumé or just see what others are looking for in your practice area.

Career Center

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Call for Applications: PA and Physician Directors at Large NCCPA Board Members

NCCPA is seeking applicants for 2018 Board positions.

While a majority of NCCPA’s Board members are Certified PAs, our Board also includes members who represent those who regulate, partner with and receive health care from Certified PAs. These various perspectives come together around a shared passion for the profession and a belief in the important role of certification in facilitating patient access to high quality health care.

Board members are elected to four-year terms, eligible for re-election to a second term. More details about the role and responsibilities of NCCPA Board members as well as the application process are available on our website.

If you are interested in applying to serve as a PA director at large or know a physician who is passionate about the PA profession and may be willing to contribute his or her time to advancing the work of NCCPA, please read more and share the information available at

The application deadline is April 21, 2017.

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PA History Society LogoCongratulations, PA History Society!

This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the PA History Society-- 15 years of preserving and sharing 50 years of PA history for the next generation of PAs, patients and policymakers.

Please be sure to “like” PA History Society on Facebook to receive weekly updates and follow the Society on Twitter & LinkedIn. The Society also recently launched a Blog.

The history of the PA profession is being written right now. See what it’s all about at!

NCCPA proudly supports the PA History Society in service to all Certified PAs, past present and future.

There is still time to order engraved brick pavers for the only Veterans Memorial Garden Dedicated to PAs!

Thanks to generous donations from throughout the PA profession, construction at the Stead Center’s Veterans Memorial Garden is nearly complete. This beautiful garden will honor the contributions made by former and current military and uniformed services PAs to the PA profession. Engraved Brick Pavers 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.

  • This the only Veterans Memorial Garden in the United States to be dedicated to military and uniformed services PAs.  

  • The Society has received special permission to feature the U.S. Department Veterans Affairs Seal on the garden “Wall of Remembrance”; a rare privilege!

  • The centerpiece of the garden is the new patio area that features the “Life-savers then, Care-givers now” bronze medic statue, two brick benches, flag pole, and a wall of remembrance with the seals of the military branches and uniformed services.

Tax deductible donations for the Veterans Memorial Garden can be made via credit card online, or by mailing a check to:PA History Society, 12000 Findley Road, Suite 100 Johns Creek, GA 30097.

Walkway image 2Pavers

Check all the projects the Society is working on to Celebrate the PA Profession’s 50th Anniversary in the last edition of “Historical Happenings”.

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“Don’t Be Afraid to Say ‘Open Your Mouth’”:  

New Video Series Emphasizes Small Steps to Make a Big Impact  

The nccPA Health Foundation released the first of four new short videos highlighting opportunities to improve health by addressing the oral health of every patient. Watch here (3:44).

learn health video image

The call to recognize oral health as integral to systemic health hasn’t abated: Earlier this year, the national media reported the tragic story of a young California father who died after a tooth infection spread to his blood and lungs. Read the story here.  

This new series builds on Joining the Fight for Oral Health:  Promoting Health Equity, released in 2016. Designed with clinicians in mind, the clips share the experiences of PAs and interprofessional partners and provide easy-to-implement next steps.   

“The oral-systemic connection is well documented as are the barriers that keep patients from receiving needed care, including lack of access, cost, even fear of the dentist,” said Cynthia Booth Lord, MHS, PA-C, past chair of the nccPA Health Foundation Board and video participant. “As PAs learn about oral health, we can make a value-added impact for our patients.”

Watch future issues of the NCCPA News for additional small steps you can take to connect the dots about the oral-systemic connection, foster interprofessional collaboration, and activate patients for better self-care.  

Are you willing to take a small step to make a big impact for your patients?  

The videos are part of the PA Leadership Initiative in Oral Health supported by the National Interprofessional Initiative in Oral Health (NIIOH) and funding from the DentaQuest Foundation and Washington Dental Service Foundation.   

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Foundation logoCelebrating Record Number of Grants to PAs Improving Health

Congratulations to the PAs and PA students who received more than $31,000 in grants awarded by the nccPA Health Foundation during the 2016 grant cycle.  

foundation image

“PAs and PA students are doing inspiring work, including caring for the underserved, educating patients for better self-care, and fostering partnerships with diverse community organizations,” said NCCPA and nccPA Health Foundation President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C. “We’re pleased to support continuation of the profession’s legacy of outreach and engagement to improve health.”

The Foundation awarded 22 total grants, more than double the number of grants issued in 2015. The grants were awarded for projects that focused on oral health integration into curriculum or outreach as well as for diverse projects that encouraged PAs to design activities to promote access and equitable care in their communities.  

“Offering some tangible solution for participants’ stressful situations builds trust and strengthens the bond between staff and patients,” said Cynthia Bunde, MPAS, PA-C, the recipient of the 2016 Kathy Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care, who is piloting an innovative text messaging program for patients with mental health diagnoses.  

Please join us in applauding all nccPA Health Foundation grantees:

  • Arcadia University – Jami S. Smith, MPA, Med, PA-C

  • AT Still University – Tessa Tibben, MS, PA-C and Michelle DiBaise, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA

  • Case Western Reserve University (two awards) – Casey M. Schroeder-Jenkinson, PhD, and Micaela Carter, PA student

  • DeSales University – Corinne Feldman, MMS, PA-C

  • Elon University – Shaun Lynch, MS, MMSc, PA-C

  • Kean University – Denise Rizzolo, PhD, PA-C

  • Lake Erie College – Ashlee Grow, PA student

  • Mercer University – Mallory Aycock, MPA, PA-C & Catherine K. Sadowski, MHS, PA-C

  • Ohio University – Melissa Bowlby, MSBS, PA-C, AT

  • Pace University – Nadya Tsytsyna, PA student

  • Pocatello Free Clinic – Cynthia Bunde, MPAS, PA-C

  • Quinnipiac University – Dennis Brown, MPH, PA-C, DFAAPA

  • Samuel Merritt University and Hands for Global Health – Jessica Warner, PA student

  • Tufts University – Beth Buyea, MHS, PA-C

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham – James R. Kilgore, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA

  • University of Findlay (two awards) – Christi Gierhart, MPAS, PA-C

  • University of Toledo – Natalie Walkup, MPAS, PA-C

  • University of Texas Medical Branch (two grants) – Wendy Carazo, PA student and Kate Corbin, PA student

  • University of Utah – Heather Hollier, RDH, PA student

While most of our 2016 grant recipients were PA program faculty and students, we welcome applications from practicing PAs as well. If you are looking to make a difference in your community, apply for the Foundation’s Be the CHANGE grant to create health access now for greater equity through patient education, screenings, or other outreach to deliver care.

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

  • NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias discusses the importance of lifelong learning, a cornerstone of the PA profession, in Health System Management: Lessons in Lifelong Learning.

  • Certified PA Kendra Thomsen explains how PAs Alter the Course of Chronic Kidney Disease in Physicians Practice.

  • Subscribers to Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News will find the February issue includes “How Certified PAs Make a Difference in Gastroenterology,” in which Marissa Fistola, PA-C and Michael Butensky, MD provide their insights.

  • NCCPA just released its updated Statistical Report of Certified PAs by State. All statistical reports are available to you on at Read the press release.

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, 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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