Physician assistants are required to maintain certification by earning and logging at least 100 credits of CME every two years while also passing a recertification assessment at the end of every 6 to 10-year cycle (depending on when they originally obtained their certification).
However, changes to the recertification process are set to take place in 2019 in order to better prepare physician assistants for delivering quality care.
Let NP PA Recruiters keep you up-to-date on these changes to the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE).
A Brief Overview of PANRE
By the end of their sixth or tenth-year of their certification maintenance cycles, PA-C designees are required to pass a recertification exam known as the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE). This test covers general medical and surgical knowledge.
Physician assistants who are eligible to take PANRE for recertification include:
- PAs in the fifth or sixth year of their PA-C certification maintenance cycle
- PAs in the ninth or tenth year of their PA-C certification maintenance cycle
Additional requirements can be found at NCCPA.
Changes to the physician recertification process, spurred by AAPA’s Board decision to work with an independent research organization to explore alternative methods and examinations for the recertification of health professionals, coincided with the NCCPA’s investigation into remodeling exams to optimally assess currently practicing PAs.
NCCPA ended up revising the PANRE to focus on core medical knowledge including:
- Knowledge of the diseases and disorders physician assistants encounter; and
- Knowledge and skills related to tasks physician assistants perform when treating patients.
All certified physician assistants will begin to take the newest PANRE version in 2019, regardless of their practice discipline or work setting.
Pilot Alternative Program
In order to provide additional means to recertification, the NCCPA developed an alternative pilot program to PANRE. Individuals who registered to participate in the program will begin in January 2019.
The program will consist of PAs answering 25 test questions online each quarter for two years – from January 2019 to December 2020 – for a total of 200 questions. Participants will have the opportunity to answer these questions all at once or throughout the quarter with the multiple choice questions covering core medical knowledge.
As of may 2018, more than 12,000 PAs had registered to participate in the pilot program which will allow PAs to test at home or at work. While participants are permitted to use reference material, they will have a limited amount of time to respond to each question.
Because this is a pilot program, a cohort of PAs will help to determine the passing standard for this alternative assessment. Physician assistants who successfully complete the pilot as determined by the passing standards will be deemed to have satisfied their PANRE requirement.
PAs who do not meet these completion standards will have one year to pass PANRE.
Individuals who have signed up for the recertification pilot program can find the policies and participation requirements here.
While there was some debate on whether the new PANRE test and pilot program were sufficient alternatives to the existing PANRE, Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C, Board Chair of the NCCPA, released a statement defending the action of the organization and helping to quell the controversy of changing the exam model.
As your team at NP PA Recruiters learns more about the new PANRE and pilot program, we’ll share relevant information here.
NP PA Recruiters seek to place qualified and passionate nurse practitioners and physician assistants into meaningful careers all throughout the nation. For more information, contact us today at 214-351-3880 to find the job of your dreams or take a look at our job listings.