Neurocritical Care Frequently Asked Certification and Accreditation Questions

The United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) has prepared answers to questions that may arise regarding the recent American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) approval of the
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology’s (ABPN) application to offer a Neurocritical Care (NCC) certification. 

Certification

Q: Will the UCNS continue to offer NCC certification examinations now that the ABPN is offering a NCC certification?
A: Yes. The UCNS has been offering certification for physicians in the subspecialty of NCC since 2007. The UCNS is committed to its continued support of the subspecialty and will continue business as usual including offering a UCNS Neurocritical Care Certification Examination, which will include the practice track pathway of eligibility.

Q: Can I continue my UCNS NCC certification?
A
: Yes. All UCNS diplomates, including those certified in NCC, will continue their UCNS certifications through the new continuous certification (C-cert) process that launched in 2020. UCNS diplomates will no longer be required to take a high-stakes recertification examination to maintain certification. New certificates, that don’t expire as long as the annual C-cert requirements are met, have been mailed to diplomates who are meeting C-cert requirements. Certification status will be updated on an annual basis.

Q: I am currently UCNS-certified in NCC. Will I need to certify in NCC again now that the ABPN examination is available?
A:
No. Current UCNS NCC diplomates may continue their current certification through the UCNS C-cert process. UCNS NCC certification does not transfer to the newly created ABPN NCC subspecialty certification. Anyone seeking certification through that certifying body will need to take the high stakes ABPN NCC examination. 

Q: My primary certification is from the AOA. As a DO, am I eligible to apply for UCNS certification in NCC?
A: Physicians who hold a primary certification by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) are now eligible to apply for UCNS subspecialty certification. The UCNS certification general eligibility criteria for certification have been updated to include doctors of osteopathy (DOs) who have trained at an AOA accredited residency program and are boarded by an AOA Board. Complete certification examination eligibility criteria and information for NCC is available on the UCNS website.
 
Q: Who is responsible for writing the UCNS certification eligibility requirements, certification examinations, and C-cert quizzes?
A:
The Neurocritical Care Society and the American Academy of Neurology’s Emergency Neurology and Critical Care Section are the sponsoring organizations that are responsible for nominating the subject matter experts who are responsible for the development of the subspecialty-specific initial certification eligibility criteria and training program accreditation standards. The sponsoring organizations have an ongoing active role as the source for providing expert volunteers who serve on the UCNS NCC Certification Examination Committee and the subspecialty’s representation on the UCNS Board of Directors. The NCC Certification Examination Committee writes the certification examination and C-cert quiz. 

Q: Will ABMS certification result in better reimbursement than UCNS certification?
A:
No. Reimbursement is not tied to certification. Reimbursement is tied to taxonomy codes that are approved by the National Uniform Claim Committee. The UCNS and the American Academy of Neurology were successful in obtaining a taxonomy code approved for NCC (2084A2900X) in 2016.

Q: Will my institution continue to recognize my UCNS certification?
A:
UCNS certification has been the recognized certification for NCC since 2007. The UCNS will continue to uphold the high standards of its certification examinations and the peer oversight of the process. Educate your institution, department chairs, chief medical officers, and credentialing committees about UCNS certification through distribution of the UCNS Certification Recognition Document found with the certification promotional resources on the UCNS website. If additional information is needed, please contact the UCNS and we are happy to speak directly to the appropriate individual(s) at your institution.

Q: How can I find out more about the ABPN certification requirements?
A:
As final requirements are developed and announced, the details will be available on the ABPN website.

Q: Who should I contact at the UCNS if I have additional questions relating to UCNS NCC certification?
A:
Information can be found on the UCNS website or contact Todd Bulson, Senior Manager, Certification at (612) 928-6067 or tbulson@ucns.org.

Q: Who should I contact at the UCNS if I have questions relating to NCC C-cert?
A:
 Information can be found on the UCNS website or contact Bryan Hagerla, Continuous Certification (C-cert) Manager at (612) 928-6326 or bhagerla@ucns.org.

Accreditation

Q: Will the UCNS continue to accredit NCC training programs?
A:
Yes. The UCNS has been offering accreditation for NCC training programs since 2007 and will continue to support and accredit NCC fellowship training programs. The UCNS accreditation criteria was established by the subspecialty sponsoring organizations and the process has the oversight of the Accreditation Council.

Q: Our NCC fellowship program is UCNS-accredited. Will we need to reaccredit through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)?
A:
Accreditation, like certification, is a voluntary process. UCNS-accredited NCC training programs may continue their accreditation through the UCNS and new applications may be submitted. Accreditation of a UCNS-accredited program will not automatically transfer to ACGME. Programs wishing to pursue ACGME accreditation will need to complete the ACGME application process for accreditation.

Q: Who should I contact at the UCNS if I have additional questions relating to UCNS accreditation of NCC training programs?
A:
Information can be found on the UCNS website or contact Amanda Carpenter, Senior Manager, Accreditation at (612) 928-6065 or acarpenter@ucns.org.