Correspondence to Stakeholders, March 2014
For an overview of our accreditation status please read our PA Program Accreditation Update above and read the following information below. In particular, please note that the first section in the following paragraphs is a notification of a change in our accreditation status as of March 2014 and the second important section below is the response to this change.
1. Change in Accreditation Status
"At its March 2014 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has placed the Central Michigan University Physician Assistant program sponsored by Central Michigan University on Accreditation - Probation until its next comprehensive review in March 2016.
Probation is a temporary status of accreditation limited to two years and conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
Once placed on probation, a program that still fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC–PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.
Specific questions regarding the program and its plans should be directed to the PA Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s)."
For accreditation status updates, we welcome your contacting the Program Director, Jessica Gardon Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org
; 989-774-6508). We also encourage you to periodically revisit this accreditation webpage at http://cmich.ly/arcpa.
What does this mean for CMU?
Central Michigan University’s PA Program remains accredited. The probationary status is a temporary decision (within the status of being accredited), which will give the program time over the next two years to address cited issues of concern and to ready for review in March 2016. To learn more about what this accreditation report means for current and prospective students, please review our PA Program Accreditation Update, found at the top of this webpage.
What has occurred?
Our PA program is a professionally accredited program. This means that it is part of a quality management review program where it (and other programs across the country) is evaluated by an external organization to determine if applicable and consistent standards are being met.
The accrediting body for the PA program is The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant or ARC–PA (http://www.arc-pa.org
). The ARC–PA teams of accreditors regularly visit and monitor programs to ensure ongoing quality and suggestions of areas for improvement. Following the most recent review by the ARC–PA in March 2014, a temporary accreditation - probationary
designation was assigned to the program for the next two years.
Will I be able to take the PANCE when I graduate from CMU's PA Program?
As noted by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), to be eligible to pursue taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), one must have graduated from "a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) as a Physician Assistant Program. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation
" (NCCPA PANCE
, para. 3, as of 3/2/15). This policy is also supported by the ARC-PA, which notes that student applicants enrolling into "a program that is on probation are entering a program that is accredited" (ARC-PA FAQ
, bullet/para. 5, as of 3/2/15).
2. Institutional Response to Change in Accreditation Status
- The ARC-PA's decision is of great concern. We are clearly disappointed in this change in our accreditation status as we were accredited for the past seven years; however, we will use this review as an opportunity to improve the program in order to best meet the needs of our students, our alumni, and the medical community.
- The CMU PA faculty and staff team is working diligently to maintain a robust and successful program that will continue to evolve in addressing community needs in a changing health care environment. Although the program is on temporary probation, it still is fully accredited. Most of the issues cited are administrative in nature and we are confident that we will meet the requirements for permanent accreditation during the next review in March 2016.
- Central Michigan University’s Masters in Science Physician Assistant Program remains a strong and vibrant educational program that educates outstanding PAs. We celebrate our markedly low attrition rate, taking pride that almost all our students graduate to pursue enriching careers. Furthermore, our graduating class of 2013 had an 88% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and a 98-100% first-time pass rate for the prior four years and most recently in 2014. All indications point to the class of 2015 experiencing similar success with the PANCE exam, and many of these students have already been extended clinical position offers.
- The primary reasons for the probationary status revolve about administrative policies and processes for self-assessment including the implementation of continuous quality improvement processes. In particular, ARC-PA focused its critique on inadequate analysis of data on program and student success, and use of these data for evidence-based improvements in the curriculum and program. We acknowledge that we can substantially improve in this area and have focused our efforts to meet and exceed accreditation requirements and to maintain our reputation as a top PA education program in the country.
Who can I contact for more information or to answer questions?
*The ARC-PA is an independent accrediting body overseen by a board composed of representatives of five physician organizations as well as commissioners from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).
[Updated March 27 '14, April 11 '14, November 19 '14, March 24 '15]