At its meeting last weekend, the NCCPA Board of Directors responded to concerns from PAs and to a new analysis regarding the availability of self-assessment and PI-CME activities and reached a decision to relax the self-assessment and PI-CME requirements introduced with the new 10-year certification maintenance process.
Effective immediately, self-assessment CME and PI-CME are no longer required. However, in recognition of the value of these very interactive types of CME, NCCPA will weight those types of CME more heavily, awarding extra credit for these now optional types of CME.
“PAs have voiced concern about the cost and availability of self-assessment and PI-CME activities related to their practice, and the data support those concerns” said Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C, NCCPA Board chair.
Concerns from PAs prompted a new, in-depth analysis of the array of self-assessment and PI-CME available across the medical and surgical specialties, and the Board determined the range of available options is insufficient to support maintaining those requirements.
“When NCCPA announced the self-assessment and PI-CME requirements in 2012, we did so with the expectation that the marketplace would develop a broad range of programs reflective of the many settings and specialties in which PAs practice,” said Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, NCCPA president/CEO. “Four years later, as the first cohort of PAs in the 10-year cycle face a year-end deadline for self-assessment or PI-CME credits, we felt we had to take another look at the available offerings. While there are many terrific self-assessment and PI-CME programs, there simply are not enough practice-relevant activities to meet the needs of all certificants.”
To encourage PAs to continue to pursue self-assessment activities, NCCPA will award 50% additional credit for all activities designated for self-assessment Category 1 CME credit (i.e., a self-assessment activity worth 10 credits will be converted to 15 credits by NCCPA). Also, the first 20 PI-CME credits logged during every two-year cycle will be doubled when logged with NCCPA.
“Evidence shows that these types of interactive, high engagement CME activities have a greater impact on practice and performance than more passive types of learning opportunities,” says Morton-Rias. “That value is reflected in the new weighting we have assigned, and we hope PAs will pursue these activities to the degree that they are relevant to their practice.”
It will take several months to complete the reprogramming and redesign of the certification dashboard and logging system to reflect these changes. In the meantime, PAs should continue to log these activities as you normally would, reporting the number of credits awarded by the CME provider. Once complete, the weighting will be applied retroactively to all approved self-assessment and PI-CME activities previously logged; then when new self-assessment or PI-CME activities are logged, the weighting will be automatically applied by NCCPA.
Also, recognizing this new weighting process will give some PAs more CME credit than is needed for the CME logging cycles already in progress, those PAs will be given the opportunity to apply their additional CME credits to their next two-year cycle. PAs in that situation will be contacted directly by NCCPA with more instructions about this when the logging system changes have been made.
In a related action, the NCCPA Board voted to form an advisory group to help the organization establish new, broader criteria for the types of CME NCCPA will accept. In the areas of self-assessment CME and PI-CME, the expectation is that this effort will ultimately result in the identification of a larger number of existing CME activities that would be classified as self-assessment and PI-CME.
NEXT WEEK: Watch for the August issue of NCCPA News for an update on the NCCPA Board’s ongoing consideration of potential changes to the recertification exam.