The NCCPA Board selected a new model for PANRE Review and recertification of physician assistants.
This is exciting and good for our profession. Period.
In this new model, general or core medical and surgical knowledge would be assessed during every 10-year PANRE review certification maintenance cycle on periodic “open book,” take-at-home exams that cover content across the broad range of organ systems and task and skill areas included in today’s PANRE. There would be opportunities for remediation for those whose performance is below the passing standard but within a defined performance range. This prevents people to expand their PANRE review and preparation and not lose their job.
Specialty-related knowledge would be assessed on a secure, proctored, timed exam during the final years of each 10-year cycle (like today’s PANRE review and recertificaion process). These exams would assess knowledge PAs need to practice safely and effectively in their chosen area of practice. Exam options would include family medicine, general surgery, and a number of others that will be selected after additional analysis of PA practice patterns.
For the specialty-focused exam, three performance levels would be established:
(1) a minimum level below which examinees would be required to retest
(2) a mid-range level of performance in which examinees would be required to complete CME activities related to areas of knowledge deficiency
(3) a higher level of performance at which examinees would be eligible for a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in that specialty provided they meet related CME and experiential requirements.
Like today, all PAs who successfully complete the recertification process would be awarded the same generalist PA-C credential, and those earning a CAQ would have that additional, specialty-related credential.
We are preparing now to launch a public comment period to gather response and insight from certified PAs, state medical boards, and other key stakeholder groups that will help inform final decisions next year about this new model. More details will be published when the formal comment period is launched later this year, and every certified PA will be invited to complete a survey soliciting feedback on the model.
The selection of this model followed a year-long study of current PA practice, perspectives of PAs and other stakeholders gathered through focus groups and surveys, psychometric analysis, and consideration of a wide range of assessment methods.
I applaud the NCCPA’s commitment to hear from those of us in clinical practice and make the PANRE review and re-certification process impactful and relevant.