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FAQ - Florida PA Licensing Information

Where can I find the latest comprehensive instructions from the Board of Medicine on applying for my licensure?

Applying for licensure can now be done ONLINE on the DOH/MQA website. For complete instructions or a PDF printout of the application, go to their website at http://www.flboardofmedicine.gov/licensing/physician-assistant-licensure/

 

What forms can I duplicate on a copier?

The application, the licensure verification form, the NCCPA form, and the PA program verification form can be copied.

 

What constitutes a separate employment location?

A separate business practice. (Example): A medical group name "pediatric consultants" with ten offices would be considered one employment setting with ten satellite offices. Two medical groups with five offices each would be considered two separate employment locations.

 

Can a notarized copy of my license from another state be used as verification of licensure?

No. Verification of licensure must come directly to the Board of Medicine office from the source.

 

What if I can't find my original documents?

Obtain a duplicate from the source and submit a notarized statement explaining why you are unable to comply with this request.

 

Can supporting documentation be sent separately from the application to insure I have made the deadline date?

Yes. The application and application fee must be received by the deadline dates. The supporting documents can be mailed under separate cover.

 

What happens to the application if it's received a day or two after the deadline?

All applications are processed in date order as they are received in the PA Council office. If the application is complete and there are no questions or concerns noted by the PA Council staff, an appropriate license will be issued at that time. It will then be submitted to the PA Council at their next scheduled meeting for ratification.

 

Will you accept a fax?

Yes, the Board can proceed with a fax copy as long as the fax is followed up with the original.

 

How long will it take to process my application?

All applications are processed within 30 days. If the application is complete and there are no questions or concerns by the PA Council staff, the appropriate license will be issued at that time. Your application will be presented to the PA Council for ratification at the very next meeting but the issuance of your license will not be delayed unless it is incomplete or there are questions or concerns noted by the PA Council staff in which case you will be notified and given the chance to clarify them. This process was changed in the Spring of 2006 to help process license applications in a more timely manner.

 

You ask for a certificate from my P.A. program. Do you mean the diploma?

Yes.

 

What is the application deadline?

The PA council meets six times a year. The application should be in the board office two months prior to the meeting.

 

What are the requirements to become a licensed physician assistant?

All physician assistants must graduate from an accredited PA program in the U.S.

 

If I am convicted of a felony, is it still possible to become licensed as a physician assistant?

In 2009, a law passed stating that a PA (or any medical provider for that matter) may not be licensed in Florida if convicted of at least a 3rd degree felony.

In any lesser crimes, the Council on Physician Assistants makes the determination on who will be licensed, and may ask the PA applicant to appear before the Council to explain the charge(s).

 

Can I be licensed as a temporary physician assistant even though I have taken the NCCPA exam?

Only those who are eligible to sit for the exam and have not yet taken and passed the NCCPA exam can obtain a temporary physician assistant license.

 

Is there an age limit to become a licensed physician assistant?

Yes. You must be 18 and older.

 

Can I work as a PA in Florida if I do not yet have a Florida license?

No, you must be licensed as a physician assistant or a temporary physician assistant prior to practicing as a PA in Florida.

 

What should I do if I have let my PA license lapse?

Apply for a license renewal as soon as possible. Make sure that you are working under direct supervision at all times until you have received your new license.

 

Do I need current NCCPA certification to work as a PA in Florida?

No, however you need to have passed the initial certification examination. But please note that most hospitals, managed care organizations, and insurance companies now require current NCCPA certification, and so it is usually wise to maintain current NCCPA certification.

 

What are the Florida requirements in regards to CME and license renewal?

The law provides that physician assistants (PAs) will now only be required to complete one (1) hour credit in HIV/AIDS. This must be done prior to the first renewal of the license, but once the physician assistant has taken one (1) credit, he or she does not ever have to take it again. Most Florida physician assistants have already met this requirement and will not need to take the course again.

The new law provides that physician assistants (PAs) will now only be required to complete two (2) credits in Domestic Violence every third biennium which means during the last two years of a six (6) year renewal cycle.

The HIV/AIDS and Domestic Violence courses will no longer be required prior to initial licensure. For initial licensure, the only requirement will be two (2) credits in Prevention of Medical Errors in a state approved course. The biennial requirement for Prevention of Medical Errors in a state approved course also remains the same PAs must complete two (2) during each two-year licensure cycle.

Below is a summary of Florida CME requirements:

FIRST RENEWAL OF LICENSURE IN FLORIDA:

In addition to the requirements below as noted for prescribing or non-prescribing physician assistants, you will need to complete:

One (1) hour of Category I CME in HIV/AIDS in a state approved course. This is a one time requirement for only your first renewal cycle in Florida.

Two (2) hours in Prevention of Medical Errors CME in a state approved course.

Two (2) hours in Domestic Violence CME in a state approved course. 

Ninety seven (97) hours of General CME. 50 of these hours must be approved Category I CME. The remaining hours can be approved Category II CME. A current NCCPA certificate can be used as a substitute for the 97 required CME hours.

PRESCRIBING PAs have the additional requirement of:

A three (3)-hour continuing education course on Safe and Effective Prescribing of Controlled Substances is required prior to EVERY license renewal for ALL prescribing PAs in the state of Florida. This course must be designated as American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award Category 1 credit or designated by the American Academy of Physician Assistants as Category 1 credit.

In addition to the above, you will need proof of completing 10 hours of CME in the specialty area of your supervising physician(s). The 10 hours is inclusive of the 100 general CME hours listed above. If you are practicing in more than one specialty area, you will need proof of completing 10 hours of CME in each specialty area. 

 

EACH SUBSEQUENT RENEWAL CYCLE:

Complete 98 hours of General CME. 50 of these hours must be approved Category I CME. The remaining hours can be approved Category II CME. For Board Rule Approved Providers, a current NCCPA certificate may count for the 98 required CME hours.

Two (2) hours in Prevention of Medical Errors CME in a state approved course.

PRESCRIBING PAs have the additional requirement of:

A three (3)-hour continuing education course on Safe and Effective Prescribing of Controlled Substances is required prior to EVERY license renewal for ALL prescribing PAs in the state of Florida. This course must be designated as American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award Category 1 credit or designated by the American Academy of Physician Assistants as Category 1 credit.

In addition to the above, you will need proof of completing 10 hours of CME in the specialty area of your supervising physician(s). The 10 hours is inclusive of the 100 general CME hours listed above. If you are practicing in more than one specialty area, you will need proof of completing 10 hours of CME in each specialty area. 

 

EVERY THIRD BIENNIUM RENEWAL:

Two (2) hours in Domestic Violence CME in a state approved course. This is included in the 100 total required CME hours.

***Ensure that you have met all requirements prior to license renewal via the CE Broker and Florida Department of Health websites.

 

 

 

Where can I get the CME required for state licensure and NCCPA certification?

You can get the required CME at the AAPA national conference held at the end of May each year, or at one of the two FAPA sponsored CME conferences offered each year. You can get CME at local FAPA sponsored meetings which are held monthly in most locations; at your local hospital; other CME conferences in your specialty provided they are accredited courses; and you can get many online courses as well. Click here (https://fapaonline.site-ym.com/page/cmelinks) for a link to our "CME Opportunities" page. For additional information go to the Professional Practice tab on the front page on our website.

FAPA offers an approved course sponsored by the Physicians for PA Continuing Education (PPACE) in compliance with FL Statutes, Chapter 458, regarding the safe prescribing of controlled substances. 

o    The course is available free of charge to all FAPA members. The course is also available to non-members for $75. To access the course, click here.

o    To join FAPA and receive the PPACE course for free, click here.

 

Is CE Broker required for CME verification by licensees in Florida?

New CME reporting requirements to the DOH mandatory in 2016.

Please find below excerpts from a letter (March 2013) from the DOH, MQA to FAPA Leaders concerning the eventual change in CME reporting for PAs. Your Academy is working to make this a seamless transition for Florida PAs. We will work with NCCPA on your behalf in trying to make sure we are well positioned for this transition. This will be optional in 2014 however in 2016 the reporting changes will be mandatory. Until then CME reporting remains unchanged for Florida PA. CE Broker is the current reporting agency and we will work with them during this process as well.

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Section 456.025(7), F.S. requires the Department to implement an electronic continuing education tracking system for each biennial renewal cycle and to integrate such system into the licensure and renewal system. The two systems are now integrated.

The new online renewal process will verify a practitioner's continuing education record at the time of renewal. If a practitioner's continuing education record is incomplete they will be prompted to report their hours.

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will prompt practitioners to input required continuing education hours, but will not prevent licensure renewal. The second phase will require mandatory reporting of all required continuing education hours in order to proceed with license renewal. I attached a chart indicating each Profession's optional cycle and first mandatory cycle.

Practitioners can report their hours free of charge anytime during the biennium by registering for the Free Basic Account. This can be done in two ways. By visiting www.flhealthsource.com and log into their MQA Services account or they can visit www.CEatRenewal.com. The Department encourages practitioners to report early to avoid a delay in the license renewal process.

Florida Board approved providers are required to report on behalf of the practitioner. Practitioners are only required to report courses taken from a National association or Board rule approved organization.

I would like to add that our Physician Assistants are required to complete 10 hours of continuing education in each specialty area listed with the Department of Health. It is important for Physician Assistants to check with the Department and make sure the specialties that are listed are current. During continuing education audits we found a large number of practitioners were not deleting specialties. If a specialty is listed they will be required to have 10 hours in that specific specialty area.

More information on these requirements can be found at the MQA website at http://flboardofmedicine.gov/renewals/physician-assistants/

 

Do I have to submit the Supervision Data Form after I have been granted a license, or sent along with the license application?

You should get your license or temporary license first. You need that license number to complete the Supervision Data Form. Then the Supervision Data Form can be completed once you have a job and know who the supervising physician(s) will be. You have thirty days to submit it once you have a position, but the sooner you submit it the better.

The PA Supervising Relationship Changes are now available in MQA Online services. Click here for more information and instructions.

Can I send in documents under separate cover letter such as letters of recommendation?

Yes, but the application will not be submitted for consideration until all documents have been received and your packet has been reviewed by the administrative personnel and found to be complete and ready for consideration. You should read the instructions with the application form and follow them to the letter.

 

If I have passed the ECFMG tests can I get licensed as a PA?

No. Only a graduate of an accredited PA training program who has passed the NCCPA examination or is eligible to take the NCCPA examination may apply for licensure as a PA according to current state law.

 

Can I run a code as in an ACLS situation?

Your hospital privileges will delineate whether or not you may run a code. if you are ACLS certified and no physician is available, you would be expected to step in and take charge. Any orders for meds are covered by law since you are not writing a prescription for the patient to get filled in a drug store.

 

If you are being audited for CME purposed and cannot find proof that you took the state-required HIV, Domestic Violence, and Medical Errors courses during the period being audited, what will happen?

You will not lose your license, but you will be fined $250 for each certificate you are unable to produce. You cannot make up the courses after the audit period.

 

If you do not take any of the three required courses during the audit period, can you go online and take them to "make up"?

No, the courses must have been taken during the audit period. You cannot make up for not taking the required courses during the audit period.

 

Is there a substitute course for the required two hours course on Medical Errors?

No, there are no substitutes for this course.

 

How can I find out who is listed as a supervising physician in my file with the Board of Medicine?

The Board of Medicine in September 2006 added a tab to the online file on PA licensees that you can check to see who is on file with the state as one of your supervising physicians.

Click here for the Supervision Data Form.

Type in your name and license number and your file should appear. Then click on the tab for Supervising Practitioners and you will see the active supervising physicians on your file.

If it is not correct then you will need to submit a Supervision Data Form to add or delete physicians as appropriate.

 

Can we apply for our PA license online?

YES. As of 2012, the Florida Dept of Health has made online application for license available to PAs. Follow the link below to the DOH website for more information:

http://doh.state.fl.us/mqa/initial_licensure.html

 

Do PAs in Florida still need a separate PA prescribing license? If not, what do they need to do to notify the DOH that they are prescribing?

No. As of July 1, 2012, PAs do not need a separate prescribing license in order to prescribe medications as per Florida formulary.

However, for any PAs licensed on or after July 1, 2012, or any PAs who did not have a prescribing license prior to July 1, 2012, the Physician Assistant must ask his or her supervision physician to delegate that authority to the PA. If yes, then the supervising physician writes a letter to the DOH delegating that authority to the PA. (The DOH said it would be nice if they would list the specialty, but this is not required by law. Listing the specialty will help down the line with the 10-hour requirement.)

Then, the PA writes a letter to the DOH requesting prescribing privileges (with the doctor’s letter attached) and mails it to the DOH/PA Council. It is that simple. Only on initial licensure does a PA have to provide the course and transcript. They said they can’t require anything from currently licensed PAs other than the request and delegation by their supervising physicians.

Any changes after the fact such as supervising physician or change in practice specialty should be dealt with using the Supervision Data Form.

[This is only for PAs who do not currently prescribe but have been licensed previously in Florida. They are the only ones who have to send in the request and letter. If you currently have a PA prescribing number there is no change. You are already a prescribing PA so no need to do anything.]

For additional information, see: FAQ- - Prescribing Rights and Formulary

 

On the Florida license application there are questions regarding dates I attended colleges. Should I contact the schools and get exact dates? For example if I put 06/01/1994 and it ends up being 06/12/1994, is that going to be an issue?

It is always important to be as specific as possible on all questions. However, the PA Council and Board just really need the month more than anything. So while you should put in something in the day column, it is OK if it is rounded off to your best guess if there is no way to find out. If you cannot get the exact day, but you believe it was the earlier part of the month, you can put the 1st. (Such as 06/01/1994 in your example above)


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FAPA Mission Statement: Empower, represent, and advocate for Florida PAs

 

FAPA Vision: Fully integrate PAs into every aspect of health care in Florida.


 

 

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