Plan Crafted to Accredit Neurology Subspecialties: Behavioral Neurology, Neuropsychiatry Standards Are Expected to Be Available Early This Year

Article excerpt

A new organization is moving forward with plans to provide accreditation and certification services for neurology subspecialties.

The United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) is currently working on accreditation and certification standards in the area of behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry. Accreditation standards for behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry are expected to be available early this year and certification standards are expected to be available in 2006.

In addition, the group is reviewing applications from five other neurology subspecialties that are seeking to pursue accreditation and certification through UCNS. Officials at UCNS are keeping the names of the subspecialties that have applied for membership confidential until the process is complete.

UCNS was launched in 2003 to provide accreditation and certification of neurology subspecialties that are at an early stage in their development process. The group was established by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, the Association of University Professors of Neurology, the Child Neurology Society, and the Professors of Child Neurology.

The new body provides an alternative pathway for subspecialties that are established enough for accreditation and certification but are not large enough to go through the traditional routes--accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and certification through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

For example, the vascular neurology subspecialty recently succeeded in getting a certification exam for its subspecialists through ABMS; however, the subspecialty of behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry is much smaller and requires more developmental support to navigate the process.

The ACGME and ABMS criteria have been used as models for the UCNS requirements.

"We felt we needed to offer this," said Stephen Sergay, M.D., chair of UCNS and a clinical neurologist in Tampa, Fla.

For more than a decade, subspecialties have been a major part of neurology, Dr. Sergay said, but there has not been a recognition of the extra time and training that neurologists have invested in their subspecialty area.

Accreditation and certification for these subspecialties will help to ensure high-quality patient care, he said. …