It makes sense that the PA over the years would become specialized and therefore would like to have some form of recognition above and beyond his or her generalist credential, says Lathrop.
And it is not just physicians who are looking for assurance. "If I am a hospital credentialer, the more documentation and assurances I have from a national organization that someone is knowledgeable and capable, the better I feel," says Lathrop.
In the world of medicine, many healthcare professionals can earn multiple credentials after their name. But PAs currently have (and will continue to have) only one generalist credential. "It was important to deliver something that would satisfy [PAs' and physicians'] needs while maintaining our generalist credential," says Lathrop. But offering additional CAQ documentation that shows PAs' expertise in a specialty is essential to help them further their careers in the industry, she explains. This is something that the PAs have clamored for.
"We are also hopeful that it will help some PAs move into different areas that they may not have been able to move into easily before, such as psychiatry and nephrology," says Lathrop. PAs have struggled to break into those fields of care because they lacked confirmation that they had the knowledge and skills to work in these specialties. The generalist credential wasn't sufficient, she says. PAs in those two specialties asked for our [the NCCPA's] help to provide documentation that would demonstrate their specialty skills.
"Our hope is that now these PAs will be able to provide this recognition and that they will be more employable and hired in these areas," Lathrop says.