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An Important Update About the NCCPA & PANRE

In this urgent Dermcast post, SDPA President, Matthew Brunner, MHS, PA-C, provides an important update on the NCCPA and the PANRE.

Recently, the NCCPA proposed a new model for the PANRE that would drastically change the way you and I maintain our certification. If you haven’t heard about this proposed change, I encourage you to become engaged in this discussion. The format currently favored by NCCPA would require PAs to ‘periodically’ take at home exams covering “a broad range of organ systems and task and skill areas.” In the final years of the ten-year cycle, each PA would take a timed exam in a testing center on one of 10-12 specialty exams selected by the PA. If a PA scores in the ‘exceptional’ range on the specialty exam, he/she would qualify for a Certificate of Added Qualification.

This model poses a number of concerns to me as a practicing PA. I already spend a great deal of time and financial resources maintaining my required one hundred hours of CME during every two-year cycle. This is in addition to the time, money, and energy that go into preparing for a recertification exam every six years, now transitioning to every ten years. We also have new CME requirements of forty hours of Self Assessment and forty hours of Performance Improvement CME over the first eight years of the new ten-year cycle. Finally, the actual cost to PAs of this new model of recertification has not been determined.

The SDPA has written a letter to the NCCPA asking them to not make additional changes to the recertification model while PAs adjust to the new ten-year cycle and the new Self Assessment and Performance Improvement CME requirements. The SDPA is also concerned that more testing will increase both the cost and the time that individual PAs spend on recertification.

The NCCPA is right to point out that for forty years they have served the profession as our certification body. While that certification exists to serve the interests of patients and the public in providing confidence in the skills of individual PAs, the NCCPA also exists as a service to the PA professionals who hold that certification.

The SDPA and the AAPA oppose Certificates of Added Qualification since they have the potential to limit PAs’ ability to move from specialty to specialty. This flexibility is particularly important for PAs since in most cases we are employees and not employers. It does not improve patient access if failure to have a Certificate of Added Qualification either prevents PAs from entering a specialty or being reimbursed by an insurer for their services.

The NCCPA will be collecting feedback from PAs during February 2016 via email and a survey sent to certified PAs. I encourage you to take the time to become engaged in this important discussion.


To learn more about the NCCPA’s proposed model visit:

To submit questions or comments email: