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Competency Assessment

The PACE Competency Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of a physician's ability to practice safely. Each evaluation is custom-tailored to the participating physician's current (or intended) area of practice and reason for referral after careful review by our multidisciplinary team. 


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Reasons for a Competency Assessment

When does a physician need a Competency Assessment?

  • When concerns exist about a physician's knowledge, skills, or abilities.
  • When a physician has been out of practice and needs to demonstrate competence in order to re-enter the workforce. 
  • When a physician is complying with a consent agreement or medical board order.

Application and Enrollment

What is the application and enrollment process for a Competency Assessment?

Step 1. Submit an application. There is a non-refundable $350 processing fee due with the application. The $350 will be applied towards the total assessment costs.  This fee must be received before we will take any action on the case. 

Within 2 business days of receiving the application and non-refundable $350 application processing fee, PACE will email the participant and/or referring party an enrollment packet with detailed instructions.

Step 2. Enroll.  In order to be considered enrolled, the participant will need to:
  • Complete the enrollment packet
  • Pay the $10,150 initial payment towards the total cost of the assessment. 

Once the participant has submitted the enrollment packet and paid the $10,150 initial payment, PACE will send the participant a letter confirming enrollment in the program.

What happens after enrollment in the PACE Competency Assessment?

Development of Competency Assessment Program Outline  

Within 7-10 business days of completing enrollment, PACE will review all received background materials at a multidisciplinary case conference to determine the precise elements to be included in the Competency Assessment Program as well as any additional costs. 

The final cost of each Competency Assessment will not be determined until this review process occurs. Once the Competency Assessment Program Outline has been developed, it will be sent to the participant along with an invoice for the remaining balance due.


What is your scheduling process?

After the Competency Assessment Program Outline has been developed, PACE will begin working on scheduling. PACE will make its best effort to accommodate the scheduling requests of the participant; however, PACE is limited by the availability of its clinical faculty and staff. PACE will notify the physician once the assessment schedule has been confirmed. 

All assessments will take place in San Diego and will be conducted over 3 to 5 days. 


What is the cost of a Competency Assessment?

The total cost of each evaluation will vary because each assessment is customized to the specifics of the case. On average, most assessments will cost between $15,000 and $19,000.

14 days before the assessment start date, full payment must be received to avoid cancellation of the assessment. 

If full payment is not received by this cutoff date, PACE will notify the applicable party(ies) that the assessment was cancelled and before rescheduling can begin PACE must receive the remaining balance due plus a rescheduling fee pursuant to the Process Timeline, Cancellation, Refund and Rescheduling Policy

Components of a Competency Assessment

What are the components of a Competency Assessment?

Although each assessment will be custom tailored to the participating physician, there are certain "core" components, which together form the foundation of most PACE competency assessments. 

  • Oral Clinical Examination
  • Clinical Observation with UC San Diego Faculty
  • Physician Health Screening
ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENT ELEMENTS (selected on a case-by-case basis):
  • Standardized Patient Evaluation
  • History and Physical Examination on a Mock Patient
  • NOELLE High Risk Obstetrical Emergencies Simulation
  • Anesthesiology Simulation
  • SIM Man Emergency Medicine Simulation
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery Simulation
  • Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery Simulation
  • DaVinci Robotic Skills Assessment
  • Post Licensure Assessment System (PLAS) Exams
  • PULSE 360 Survey
  • Other Medical Specialty Consult or Evaluation
In cases where concerns exist about a physician's physical or mental wellbeing, we may include additional health-related evaluations as part of the competency assessment. In some cases the participating physician may be asked to undergo a separate Fitness for Duty Evaluation.


How long will it take to get the results?

Due to the complexity and high-stakes nature of the physician competency assessments, it takes on average 3-4 months to issue a final report from the date of the initial application. While every effort is made to complete the program as quickly as possible, ensuring that the work is done thoroughly and correctly is our first priority.

How does PACE make its determination?

Each Physician Competency Assessment evaluates the six general domains of clinical competence defined by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). These competencies include:

  • Patient Care
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based practice
A physician must be competent in each of these six domains in order to safely practice medicine. These six domains define competent physician practice in the United States. In addition, a physician must have the physical and mental ability to perform the duties of his/her job. 

With these six core competencies in mind, the results of the various components of each assessment are thoroughly reviewed, carefully considered, and laboriously discussed by experienced PACE faculty and staff in one or more dedicated conference sessions.

What are the possible outcomes of a Competency Assessment?

Each completed PACE assessment results in a comprehensive written report which summarizes the participating physician's performance on each aspect of the evaluation and includes a detailed summary and recommendations section which describes how the physician's overall performance relates to his/her ability to safely practice and outlines any recommendations necessary for ensuring the participant's ongoing safety to practice.  Each assessment report categorizes the physician's overall performance into on of four possible outcomes or final grades.

Category 1:  Signifies a good to excellent performance in most or all areas measured and is consistent with safe practice and competency. No significant deficiencies are noted. 

Category 2: Signifies a performance during which minor deficiencies were noted that do not affect the physician’s ability to practice safely, but may have an effect on optimal performance.  Physicians in this category performed competently overall, but did sub-optimally on one or more aspects of the assessment.  Recommendations for how to remediate deficiencies will be outlined.

Category 3: Significant deficiencies were noted.  The physician is capable of practicing safely, but may not currently be reaching his/her full potential.  Physicians in this category are likely to have broad deficiencies that cover multiple domains and will require a considerable educational investment and occasionally a change in behavior.  Recommendations for how to remediate deficiencies will be outlined.

Category 4: Signifies a poor performance that is not compatible with overall physician competency and safe practice. Physicians in this category performed poorly on all (or nearly all) aspects of the assessment.  Alternatively, the physician could have a physical or mental health problem that prevents him/her from practicing safely.  These physicians are unsafe and, based on the observed performance in the PACE assessment, represent a potential danger to their patients.

Cancellations, Refunds, and Rescheduling

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

A participant may cancel his/her assessment at any time. Refunds will be calculated based on the amount of work performed pursuant to the PACE Competency Assessment Refund and Rescheduling Policy. All refund requests must be made in writing in order to be eligible for a refund. Extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

What is your rescheduling policy?

A participant may request that his/her assessment be rescheduled at any time. However, the participant will be subject to a rescheduling fee pursuant to the PACE Competency Assessment Refund and Rescheduling Schedule. Extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Information

Is the Competency Assessment for physicians only?

In addition to offering Competency Assessments for physicians, we also offer Competency Assessments for Physician's Assistants.

Unfortunately, we do not offer competency evaluations for Nurse Practitioners or other medical professionals. We do offer Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses that NP's and some other medical professionals are welcome to attend.

Why choose the PACE program for a Competency Assessment?

The UC San Diego PACE Program's Competency Assessment is a state-of-the-art, rigorous evaluation of a physician's ability to safely practice medicine that is built on the vast knowledge and experience gained from providing services to medical professionals over the past 20 years.  

We are the largest assessment and remediation program for healthcare professionals in the country, and have provided services to thousands of physicians and medical professionals.

Learn More about us.