No Further Changes to PANRE and the Recertification Process

Two years of study and deliberation about the recertification exam process came to a close this month when the NCCPA Board of Directors decided to make no further changes at this time. The Board agreed that the modifications announced in August represent the totality of the  change resulting from its comprehensive assessment of NCCPA recertification processes and analysis of stakeholder feedback sought over the past 18 months.

The changes announced previously eliminated the requirement for self-assessment CME and performance improvement CME (PI-CME). Also, NCCPA announced that during the next few years PANRE will become a core knowledge exam focused on the essential foundational knowledge and cognitive skills all PAs should maintain, regardless of their area of practice. Today PANRE is a broader, general medical and surgical knowledge exam.

Board chair Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C says, “As an accredited certifying body, we have obligations not just to those we certify but to the public and other stakeholders who depend on NCCPA to provide a reliable, valid and relevant certification program. When making decisions about our exams and other requirements, we always consider science, psychometrics and the considerable dataset we have about PAs and PA practice. This year we also went to great lengths to gather the perspectives of PAs, PA organizations and other stakeholders and weighed that feedback heavily as well.”

Reflecting on the emotionally charged discourse sparked by NCCPA’s call for PA feedback on potential changes to the recertification process, Woodmansee added: “While the conversation did not unfold as we had hoped, we certainly have appreciated the active engagement of certified PAs in this process. Our commitment is to ongoing, thoughtful, evidence-based evaluation of PA practice and proven methods for assessing and fostering the development and maintenance of the competencies necessary for safe and effective PA practice. NCCPA is an organization committed to continually seeking the most effective means of accomplishing our public mandate while remaining attentive to the very strong desire to maintain PAs’ professional flexibility, credibility, and accessibility.”

Work has already begun on the identification of core medical knowledge content for PANRE; changes to the exam’s content will be gradual but steady over the next several years.