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NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)9/16/2015
September Newsletter

PANRE Survey: Your Voice Sought

Last month in NCCPA News, our president/CEO announced that this fall the NCCPA Board will undertake an “intensive review of the purpose, format and content of PANRE.”

As  she noted, there are many factors that must be considered in this discussion: the needs and expectations of the patients we serve and the other stakeholders who rely on certification as an indicator of competence; the diverse role of the PA in primary care and the many specialties and subspecialties of medicine and surgery in which they practice (informed by the Practice Analysis Survey thousands of you completed earlier this year); PAs’ desire to be tested on content relevant to your current role as well as the importance of protecting flexibility to change specialties; the range of potential assessment methods and their relative cost and accessibility; and certification accreditation standards and best practices in assessment.

Another key factor is your perspective

Last   week, 29 certified PAs from across the U.S., representing a wide range of experience in terms of practice specialty, length of time in practice and history with NCCPA exams, met for three days at the NCCPA office with our exam development team and other staff members. They considered wide ranging and complex issues as they worked to identify viable improvements to the current recertification exam.

There is much work yet to be done, and we now ask for your input on several questions that will help us more clearly understand the priorities and opinions of those we certify.

Click here to participate in the survey:

The survey will close on September 30.

Results of this survey will be added to feedback we have already collected from certified PAs through the Practice Analysis Survey, other PA surveys conducted during the last 18 months, and comments captured through ongoing and regular communication with PA groups and individuals in preparation for this important discussion.

We will provide an update on those discussions before the end of the year.

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PA Week Coming Soon! Invite Your Patients into the Celebration

Your patients know how great you are, and we want them to spread the word. NCCPA has designed fliers to encourage your patients to recognize your hard work on social media during PA Week (October 6-12).

Click here to view the fliers (one featuring an adult patient and one a child), print copies of one or both, and post them in exam rooms or other places your patients may see them. Get them to help us   tell the world that #PAsDoThat!

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Wake Up Call for Prescribers
Katherine Adamson, PA-C, MMS, MA
NCCPA Medical Advisor and Director, Review and Appeals

In my role with NCCPA and as a certified PA myself, I see a lot of cases related to abusive prescriptive privileges and drug misuse. Perhaps this is why a recent article from the Alabama state medical board on “Patients, Pain and Physicians” struck such a chord with me.

The author writes that for the 17- to 45-year-old cohort, the leading cause of death is not accidents but opioid overdose.

My hope is that we, as a profession, can be part of the solution to this growing problem. As a first step, please read the article.

When I have the opportunity to address audiences, especially PA students or new graduates, I close with a list of simple but critically important advice adapted (based on review of hundreds and maybe thousands of disciplinary cases) from a presentation given by Ann Davis, PA-C, based on the AAPA's Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession. Some of these points are     relevant to this topic, and so I share the list here today.

  1. Do NOT prescribe for individuals who are not patients of your practice – N-E-V-E-R.
  2. Maintain clear and complete medical records on all your patients.
  3. If it is important, do it yourself (e.g. file licensure/certification paperwork).
  4. Maintain professional relationships with your patients at all times; if you wish to pursue a personal relationship, then terminate the professional relationship first, and then wait.
  5. Remember that regulators/commissioners are happy to evaluate your story but are unlikely to forget you lied.
  6. Know the law as well as you know clinical medicine; it is just as important.
  7. Do NOT utilize pre-signed prescriptions…this is an all too common ILLEGAL practice.
  8. Don’t let novelty or greed cloud your judgment.
  9. Your license & certification are more important than a job.
  10. Social media is best left to your personal life.
  11. Verify the licensure status of the professionals you work with closely.
  12. In summary, live and practice with integrity.

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Keeping Up with PA History

History is always being made... find out more by visiting the PA History's website for the latest features and new exhibits throughout the site.

The Society's illustrated history book is an excellent way to learn   about the incredible PA profession, along with some of the people, places and events that have shaped the history of this growing profession...and it also makes a terrific gift! Order forms are available online.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to "like" PA History on Facebook to receive updates, and to try your hand with PA history trivia!

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PA Oral Health Summit Highlights Leadership, Opportunities

In August, 22 PA champions participated with interprofessional partners from medicine, dentistry, nursing, and philanthropy in the 6th PA Oral Health Leadership Summit at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado.  

“When PAs joined the fight for oral health five years ago, the prevailing sentiment was who knew what we might be able to accomplish if we worked together,” said Cynthia B. Lord, MHS, PA-C, chair of the nccPA Health Foundation. “As of 2015, we have made measurable gains in PA education and have a big vision to support the integration of oral health in PA practice regardless of setting or   specialty.”

Leaders from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Student Academy (SAAAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), NCCPA, and the nccPA Health Foundation shared strategies each organization had implemented to support integration of oral health within their respective spheres of influence and brainstormed about future   opportunities to extend the initiative’s reach.

This year’s Summit included new interprofessional partners from social work and the community health workforce as well as stakeholders from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.  

Additionally, time was dedicated to learning from emerging science around dental caries (cavities) as participants were reminded that tooth decay is a transmissible, infectious disease with surprising reach:  50% of adolescents suffer tooth decay while 25% of seniors have lost all of their natural teeth.  

Lord added, “The goal of eradicating dental disease is lofty, but the summit provides an opportunity to dare greatly and envision our next steps to advance the role of certified PAs to improve and promote health for our patients.”

The annual Summit was strengthened this year with the release of a Qualis Health white paper, Oral Health:  An Essential Component of Primary Care, which offers a care delivery framework composed of five activities already taking place in PA practice.  

The PA Leadership Initiative in Oral Health is supported by the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) with funding from the DentaQuest Foundation, Washington Dental Service Foundation, and the Reach Healthcare Foundation.  

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At NCCPA, we work to promote the role, impact and qualifications of PAs in many ways including through the media. Here are some recent results.

In Health Affairs Blog, NCCPA’s president/CEO explains to policy makers How PAs Factor Into Improved CMS Patient Satisfaction Scores.

In the cover story of Managed Healthcare Executive, she writes about the 10 Ways Certified PAs Improve Quality, Reduce Cost.

Dr. Francisco Prieto of Sutter Health writes about Why PAs are Critical as Health   Systems Evolve in a blog on Kevin MD.

Read how certified PA C.J. Chun explains “The Diabetes Crisis and How PAs Can   Help Manage It”n a recent Physicians Practice blog.  

In August, we sent over 100 press releases to local media recognizing the PAs   who have been continuously certified since NCCPA’s inception 40 years ago. Many of those PAs have gotten great recognition, potlighting the role and qualifications of all certified PAs, Here is an example of what one newspaper published about Don Massie, PA-C.

Want to get involved? If you have a great article idea or a story to share, contact PR manager, Mary Rittle, at

Feedback and questions are always welcome. Email us at or contact our President/CEO.

The Foundation Board Needs You! Deadline Extended to Sept. 30.

We’re looking for PAs who are passionate about health and the critical role of PAs to shape a healthier future. If that’s you, please learn more about this opportunity online, and apply to join the nccPA Health Foundation’s Board of Directors.  The deadline to apply for one of the three anticipated vacancies has been extended to Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Submit your materials to Tiffany Flick at

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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