Hospitalist Physician Assistants Can Apply for Hospital Medicine Credentials in 2014


The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the organization responsible for credentialing PAs, recently announced an opportunity for certified physician assistants (PA-C) to obtain a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Hospital Medicine. An examination for this voluntary credential will be given for the first time in September 2014.

In the meantime, eligible PAs can register for the process and start gathering the prerequisites, which include 3,000 hours of work in hospital medicine, 150 credits of HM-relevant continuing medical education, and a supervising physician’s sign-off on their ability to perform 10 procedures and patient care requirements derived from SHM’s core competencies (

“I also look forward to taking the exam. As a hospitalist PA, this is one way to show my hospital-based skills and expertise.”

–Zachary Hartsell, PA-C

NCCPA, which estimates that 3,000 PAs currently work in hospital medicine, certifies PAs in general medical knowledge and experience and has implemented five specialized CAQs.

Zachary Hartsell, PA-C, who has 12 years of experience and directs PA services at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., is one of the question writers for the upcoming CAQ-HM exam. “I also look forward to taking the exam,” he says. “As a hospitalist PA, this is one way to show my hospital-based skills and expertise.”

Hartsell expects the qualification to become an important consideration in hiring PAs for jobs in hospital settings.

“As an administrator, it represents to me that this person has specific skills,” he says. But he emphasizes that the new voluntary qualification should not be viewed as locking PAs into a single setting or specialization. “Our certifying exam as PAs is based on general medicine, and PAs have to keep up general medicine skills to pass that exam every six years,” he notes.

For information about the HM CAQ, visit

Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in San Francisco, Calif.


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