Nov. 2016: NCCPA Board determines that advocacy efforts are needed to preserve existing legislative and regulatory requirements for certification and certification maintenance.
Dec. 2016 – Feb. 2017: NCCPA secures government relations support necessary to publicly register in several states including Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. Active monitoring for the introduction of adverse legislation begins.
Feb. 2017: In Illinois, NCCPA learns that draft bills eliminate references to NCCPA and remove certification maintenance as a requirement for licensure renewal. Current Illinois law had been recently interpreted to mean that certification maintenance is not necessary, in contradiction to longstanding interpretation by AAPA. NCCPA registers disagreement with the new interpretation.
In New Mexico, a PA practice bill that would eliminate all references to current NCCPA certification for licensure renewal is introduced. NCCPA offers and all parties agree to a compromise that the certification maintenance requirement shall remain in effect but language is added to allow for acceptance of certification from NCCPA or “another certifying agency, as designated by rules promulgated by the (state medical) board.”
Mar. 2017: NCCPA learns of a bill in West Virginia that was amended on the floor of the senate to eliminate the requirement that PAs maintain certification as a condition of licensure and to eliminate the requirement that PAs be currently certified for initial licensure. NCCPA engages government relations firms in WV and seeks an audience with key legislators. NCCPA representative testifies before the House Health and Human Resources Committee. The bill that includes elimination of certification requirements is passed by the legislature.
In Illinois, NCCPA representatives testify before house and senate committees with jurisdiction over PA licensing and meet with legislators to relay its position.
Apr. 2017: In New Mexico, the bill including the compromise language related to certification maintenance is signed into law.
In Illinois, NCCPA offers compromise language that would allow PAs to submit proof of current NCCPA certification as an alternative to fulfilling a continuing education requirement, thereby reducing the administrative burden for the vast majority of PAs who will maintain their certification with or without a statutory mandate to do so.
In West Virginia, the governor vetoes the PA bill, citing his concern that the bill “weakens existing professional safeguards governing the medical knowledge and skills of physician assistants that have been serving the public interest for years, even as it grants greater autonomy to physician assistants.” NCCPA leaders have several discussions with leaders from the WV Academy of PAs, offering to lend support to local efforts if the PA bill is reconsidered during a special legislative session, offering the same compromise language agreed to in New Mexico.
May 2017: In West Virginia, the governor reintroduces the PA bill into the state’s legislative agenda for reconsideration during a special legislative session. This new version of the bill maintains current certification as a requirement for initial licensure, an important improvement over the version that was vetoed in April.
June 2017: In West Virginia, the legislature passes and the governor signs the PA bill introduced in May.