American Academy of Physician Assistants

AAPA’s Response to NCCPA Press Release

July 22, 2016

Contact: Steve Gardner, 571-319-4482,

NCCPA yesterday issued a press release about its new recertification testing proposal and AAPA’s actions that contain errors in fact. Here is AAPA’s response:

The recent decision by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) Board of Directors to investigate the creation of an alternative certifying body for PAs was made after careful deliberation, extensive communications with the leadership of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)  and in response to the large number of concerns voiced by PAs to AAPA. The decision to explore the establishment of a new certification organization was not made lightly and reflects the priority of PAs to put patient care ahead of burdensome and unnecessary recertification testing.

The Board’s action was the direct result of the overwhelming vote by the AAPA House of Delegates in May to reject the principles that underlie NCCPA’s recertification proposal. NCCPA is incorrect when it asserts that AAPA hasn’t engaged with it about the proposal. We have. At AAPA’s invitation, NCCPA has spoken to a gathering of national and state PA leaders  and, in an unprecedented move, has addressed AAPA’s House of Delegates this year. The AAPA Board has also issued numerous invitations to speak directly with NCCPA leaders, which have been rebuffed or pushed off to lawyers. AAPA’s invitation for a board-to-board dialogue remains open.

NCCPA is incorrect when it says it has evidence that recertification testing helps patient outcomes. There simply is no such evidence. NCCPA is especially incorrect when it says that PAs support its recertification proposal. We have heard – and hear daily – from individual PAs and their elected representatives in state and federal chapters, specialty organizations and other groups  who disagree with the NCCPA plan. AAPA has not yet decided to stand up a new organization. Yet it will continue to take the steps that are in the best interest of PAs and the patients they serve.

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About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 108,500 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. Visit to learn more.