IAPA is the only organization in Illinois that works to monitor, create, and expand the practice privileges for licensed PAs in the State.
The Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants serves as the primary resource on and for the PA profession in the state of Illinois, committed to advocacy, education and the highest quality of patient care.
The Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants will be the premier organization for all PAs in Illinois, promoting professional development, empowering PAs to achieve their full scope of practice and become recognized leaders in healthcare.
IAPA PA of the Year (2015) - Carleen Freesmeier
Carleen graduated from Marquette University with her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and then with her Master of Physician Assistant Studies again from Marquette University. She has over a decade of experience in emergency medicine where she is also the Lead Advanced Practice Provider for a 70,000 annual visit emergency department. As the Lead Advanced Practice Provider at Swedish American Emergency Department, Carleen recruits and trains new providers. She also works with emergency department and hospital administration on quality metrics and new initiatives. She speaks at local preschool, middle and high schools regarding emergency medicine and being a PA. Within Infinity HealthCare, a large regional medical staffing and management company where she is employed, Carleen was the first PA to be elected to the Board of Directors. She is also the first PA to serve on the hospital’s credentials committee and has worked to revise APP privileges. Carleen has worked on the leadership team through implementation of two new EMR’s and the development of a clinical decision unit. Carleen is dedicated to the education of future PAs and precepts students from four different regional PA programs. Carleen resides in Loves Park, IL with her husband, Tom, and sons William, Samuel and Henry.
The PA profession was founded on the concept of team practice. Working in all medical and surgical specialties, physician-PA teams enhance coordination and quality of care. The healthcare team is effective because of the similarities between physician and PA training. The professions commitment to team practice and the efficiencies created by utilizing the strengths of each professional in a clinical setting. (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
A PA’s scope of practice is defined by education, experience, state law, facility policy and the needs of the patients at the practice. Illinois state law allows the scope of the PA’s work to be determined at the practice level to customize team based patient care. PAs are educated in the medical model and practice medicine in every specialty and setting. This flexibility maximizes a patient’s access to care. (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
Board Certification & Licensure
Before they can practice, PAs who graduated from an accredited PA program must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA). Once they pass the exam, then they must apply for state licensure in the state they wish to practice in. In order to maintain national board certification, PAs must complete a board recertification exam every 10 years and complete 100 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) every two years. The “PA-C” after a PAs name means that they are currently certified.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR) resources including the PA Practice Act, Administrative rules, Applications for Licensure, Application for Prescriptive Authority, Supervising Physician Forms
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is dedicated to serving the interest of the public. We do so with a passionate belief that certified PAs are essential members of the health care delivery team who provide millions access to more affordable, high quality health care. Our vision is to transform the delivery of quality healthcare by certifying qualified PAs through programs that improve patient care while exemplifying a commitment to excellence unparalleled among certifying organizations.
Education & Training
Most PA programs are approximately 26 months in length and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. Most programs also require that students have at least 3 years of healthcare training and experience. Once in PA school, students take courses in basic sciences, behavioral sciences and clinical medicine across subjects such as anatomy, human physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and more. They then complete a total of more than 2000 hours of clinical rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
Areas of Specialty & Clinical Practice
PAs work in every medical specialty and setting. Some areas include: hospitals, physician offices, rural and urban community health centers, nursing homes, retail clinics, schools and university settings, uniformed services, and other federal government agencies and many more. (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
Become a PA
Step 1: Get prerequisites and healthcare experience
Step 2: Attend an accredited PA program
Step 3: Become certified
Step 4: Obtain a state license
Step 5: Maintain your certification
See more info on prerequisites and healthcare experience at the AAPA website.