Q&A on NCCPA Legislative Activities (May 8, 2017)

Why is NCCPA taking a position on proposed state legislation?

NCCPA believes in PAs and the PA profession and supports efforts to promote access to care by PAs in every state.  We also believe that maintaining high standards through certification and recertification protects patients and the credibility of the PA profession. In keeping with our mission, when actions diminish the high standards that ensure the public’s trust and acceptance, it is our responsibility to defend the rigor and credibility of the certification and recertification processes. It is for these reasons that NCCPA is monitoring legislative changes that impact certification and recertification.

What bills have been introduced to change licensure requirements for PAs, and what is the status of those bills?

In New Mexico, Illinois and West Virginia, bills were introduced during this legislative session that proposed the elimination of current certification as a requirement for licensure renewal. The West Virginia bill also eliminated current certification for initial licensure. These bills also included other changes designed to modernize the PA law, an effort NCCPA supports. Click here for NCCPA’s legislative action timeline, including more details about the status of those bills.

Is NCCPA trying to change the requirements for licensure for PAs in Illinois or to block renewal of the state’s PA practice act?

No, NCCPA’s legislative efforts focus solely on proposed changes to certification and recertification. In Illinois, current state law specifically states that a person shall be qualified for licensure as a PA if he/she “holds a certificate issued by the [NCCPA] or an equivalent successor agency.” Until this legislative session, employees of the state’s medical licensing board, AAPA, NCCPA and others have interpreted that to mean that to become and remain licensed in Illinois, PAs must be currently certified. The bill that was introduced eliminated that language. NCCPA disagrees with the new interpretation of the statute, and we shared that perspective with appropriate parties at the state house. We know the importance of timely renewal of the PA practice act since the current act sunsets this year. There were absolutely no efforts to block its renewal.

What legislative actions is NCCPA taking now?

We continue to monitor for legislative changes that impact certification and recertification. As was evidenced by discussions during the AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Summit, we understand many state PA organizations are working to improve the practice environment in their state and NCCPA welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively regarding efforts that impact certification and recertification.

Is NCCPA lobbying state medical boards to require recertification in every state?

No. As the certifying body for the PA profession, NCCPA relates with several stakeholder groups, including state medical and PA boards. In August 2016, the NCCPA Board authorized staff to provide state-specific updates of NCCPA’s current certification and recertification requirements for medical and PA boards. The presentations topics include an update about NCCPA, PA practice patterns in the state, and an update on the PA certification & certification maintenance process, including the outcome of NCCPA’s 2015 exploration of potential changes to PANRE. The latter is important since state medical boards provided input regarding changes that were under consideration. These informational update presentations began in November 2016. View a sample copy of this state medical board presentation.

Click here for a Timeline of NCCPA Legislative Activities. Last updated May 23, 2017

Click here for Statements on the PA Bill in West Virginia. Last updated May 23, 2017