Assessment Menu:

Competency Assessment

Competency Assessment

The UC San Diego PACE Program's Clinical Competency Assessment is a state-of-the-art, rigorous clinical competency evaluation of a physician's ability to safely practice medicine built on the vast knowledge and experience gained from evaluating more than 2,000 physicians for over 26 years. It is a highly customized evaluation specifically tailored to each individual physician's current (or intended) area of practice and the reason for referral.

Common reasons for referral include:
  • Concerns about a physician's knowledge, skills, or abilities
  • Physician Re-entry: A physician has been out of practice and needs to demonstrate competence in order to re-enter the workforce
  • A physician is complying with a consent agreement or medical board order

Physicians are evaluated in the six general domains of clinical competence as defined by the ACGME and the ABMS: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. A physician must be competent in each of these six domains in order to safely practice medicine.


Upon successful enrollment into the PACE Clinical Competency Assessment, we will conduct a pre-assessment case review: a multidisciplinary case conference dedicated to formally examining all relevant background materials surrounding the physician's reason for referral as well as requested pre-assessment self-report measures with the purpose of creating an individualized assessment program .

Interested in making a referral to a PACE Clinical Competency Assessment? Learn more here...

Clinical Competency Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

  • Download and complete the application for a Clinical Competency Assessment, and email, fax, or mail it to us. Once your application is reviewed by our office, you will receive instructions on how to pay the $500 non-refundable application fee.

  • No, see instructions below for completing enrollment.

  • Once your application fee is paid, you will receive specific instructions via email for completing enrollment. Enrollment entails submitting additional background forms and materials as well as an initial payment of $10,500 ($10,000 plus the $500 application fee).
  • You will receive confirmation via email once your enrollment is complete.

  • We begin designing and scheduling your individualized assessment after you complete the enrollment process (described above). Because of the customized nature of our evaluations, scheduling timelines can vary greatly; however, a good estimate is 4-6 weeks after you complete enrollment.
  • Evaluations are scheduled Mondays-Fridays and are based on your availability and our faculty availability.

  • The clinical competency assessment takes place over approximately 3-5 days. Each customized program will include several evaluation components; some components will be completed at our onsite facilities and others will be completed remotely (via Zoom). All participants will have at least 1 day of in-person, onsite activities.

  • Due to the customization of our process, the timelines can vary; however, the final report is typically completed 6-8 weeks after completion of all elements of the assessment, and approximately 10-14 weeks from the receipt of application.

  • Most clinical competency assessment programs cost between $13,000 and $18,000. Each evaluation is completely customized, and the final costs vary depending on the participant’s needs and area(s) of specialization. The final amount due (after the $10,500 deposit) is billed in a separate invoice and must be paid before the scheduled assessment activities begin.

  • PACE has extensive experience evaluating a wide variety of medical specialties. As a part of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, PACE can evaluate physicians from all medical specialties. Furthermore, thanks to UC San Diego’s state-of-the-art Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS), one of the largest and most comprehensive surgical simulation facilities in the world, we are able to offer high-fidelity simulations of many highly specialized procedures. The CFS Simulation ORs are equipped with the latest surgical, laparoscopic, robotic, endoscopic and other developing technologies.

  • We do not offer any payment assistance or financing. We will allow you to make payments toward your balance due; however, the entire balance must be paid before you attend any scheduled activities.

  • The PACE clinical competency assessment is not constructed from a standardized textbook or other educational aid. The evaluation strives to assess competency to practice safely in your given area(s) using fair, practical measures of performance and knowledge reflecting years of study and clinical experience. Therefore, we recommend reviewing evidence-based resources (e.g., texts, courses, websites, etc.) that cover broad-spectrum knowledge in your chosen field(s) of practice.

  • A clinical competency assessment can be a vital part of an FFPE or OPPE, but they will usually involve other components in addition to an assessment (e.g., proctoring, case reviews, remedial courses, etc.) Your referring organization should provide you with a detailed list of requirements.

  • Each assessment includes several different components. The program is customized based on the participant’s specialty, reason for referral, and other relevant information. Most competency assessment programs will contain the following components:
    • Core assessment elements:
      • Oral Clinical Evaluation
      • Simulated clinical skills evaluation
      • Physical and cognitive screening of the participant
    • In addition to the above, assessments may include:
      • Chart-stimulated recall evaluation
      • Post Licensure Assessment System (PLAS) multiple choice exam(s)
      • PULSE 360-degree survey
      • Other health-related evaluations *

        * In cases where concerns exist about a physician’s physical or mental well-being, we will include additional health-related evaluation components; in some cases, the participant may be asked to undergo a separate Fitness for Duty evaluation.

  • Each assessment report categorizes the physician's overall performance into one of four possible outcomes or final grades: Competency Assessment Outcomes.

  • This will depend on who referred you for the clinical competency assessment.
  • For self-referred participants, PACE will disclose results only to authorized parties or as required by law or duly authorized regulatory agency.
  • Participants who have been referred by a 3rd party (e.g. state medical board, hospital, medical group, employer, etc.) will not receive a report directly from PACE.

  • The results of each clinical competency evaluation are confidential and will only be shared by PACE with the referring 3rd party or the participant (in the case of self-referred physicians).