To NCCPA From a PA in Orthopaedics


As a certified PA-C with 15 years of Orthopedic employment experience, I  do agree with other Orthopedic PAs that it is ludicrous that we need to take exams at all, EVER, to re-certify.  I am happy to hear that there are proposals to do away with the PANRE.  I support those proposals 100%.  No other medical profession needs to take exams to maintain certification.  It is a fact.  Check your facts.

I agree that an initial certification exam is appropriate, but I was unemployed for three months a couple years ago because I had difficulty passing a PANRE exam on topics including the finer points of gynecology and dermatology.  Let me say that again: I had to be UNEMPLOYED because I was unable to answer questions that bear zero relevance to my orthopedic surgical abilities and requirements as a PA-C.  I am a Navy veteran employed by the Federal government as a PA-C in a Veteran’s Hospital, and the NCCPA PANRE requirement put me out of work.  The NCCPA further prevented me from taking the exam again for a couple months and refused to hand-score the exam.  Appalling.  When I passed (thereby proving my knowledge of various types of non-orthopedic issues that will never be remotely relevant in my actual job as an orthopedic PA), I did get my job back immediately and was able to resume serving our fine country’s fine veterans.  I promise you that you will be hard-pressed to find any “stakeholder” that thinks the NCCPA’s PANRE exam (new or old) is a good way of assessing an orthopedic PA’s knowledge and skill.  That is a determination that only a PA’s supervising physicians can make, and due respect should be given to them.

I would say that the PANRE model that the NCCPA is proposing is better than the current model, yes.  And my NCCPA survey results will indicate the same.  But where was the question on the NCCPA survey asking for other options?  You gave us the option of the current model or the new model for PANRE, but where was option C, which would be to abandon the exam and demand CME alone?  And make it sensible CME only…the P&I CME is ridiculous.  My employer, the Federal Government, directs me entirely, and I am proud to serve our veterans according to their commands and under their leadership.  It is not appropriate nor respectful for me to suggest otherwise, as the P&I CME requests.  Again, I challenge you to find a Federal Government leader who supports P&I CME and who finds it valuable.  It should be optional or eliminated altogether.

Thank you for listening.  In summary:  eliminate the PANRE exams, eliminate required P&I CME.  This is the most sensible model of all, in my opinion.