Certification Policies

Medical Licensure

If any license currently held by an applicant participating in the application process is restricted or qualified in any way, full details must be provided to the UCNS. The UCNS may, at its sole discretion, determine whether to investigate the license and the information provided. The UCNS reserves the right to determine if the license fulfills this policy. 

Licenses that have been revoked, suspended, surrendered, or not renewed to terminate or settle disciplinary proceedings do not qualify as meeting the requirements for medical licensure, and all such licenses must be reported for review and consideration. The UCNS will determine if the situation is cause to deny an applicant's certification application, deny a candidate's access to an examination, or revoke a diplomate's certificate. 

Diplomates must continuously fulfill the policy on medical licensure. Failure to do so will result in loss of certification.

Faculty Diplomate

The policy set forth below is intended to facilitate recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty for UCNS-accredited programs. 

Eligibility
In order to be eligible to sit for a UCNS certification examination as a Faculty Diplomate applicant, an applicant must:

  1. have a medical diploma from an institution registered in the World Directory of Medical Schools;
  2. be certified in their primary specialty by a competent medical board. Such a board may include:
    • an ABMS member board or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada;
    • a specialty certification board of the American Osteopathic Association;
    • an appropriate board of the European Union of Medical Specialists; or 
    • the medical board of the applicant's country of origin, to be approved by the Certification Council
  3. have an active, full-time appointment as a faculty member of a UCNS-accredited training program or have evidence of such an appointment. Such an offer must be written by the chairperson of the appropriate department of the academic institution and state the following:
    • when the appointment began or will begin;
    • the appointment is contingent upon the applicant sitting for, and passing, the next available UCNS certification examination; and
    • the retention and recruitment of the applicant is considered by the institution to be essential to the quality of the fellowship program; and
  4. have an active, unlimited license to practice medicine or be licensed to practice medicine in the institution at which they have, or shall have, the faculty appointment.

Review by the Certification Council
The Certification Council shall review all applications. In determining whether to approve an application, the Certification Council may consider factors it believes appropriate to verify the training and experience of the applicant, including information about the standards of the medical board of the applicant's country of origin. 

​The Nature of Faculty Diplomate Status
Faculty Diplomate status is conditional because it is linked directly to the diplomate's appointment on the faculty of a UCNS-accredited fellowship. That is, if the diplomate is no longer faculty of a UCNS-accredited fellowship, their certificate automatically terminates. In effect, the Faculty Diplomate status is issued jointly to the faculty member and their employing institution, which vouches for the faculty member's competence.

Faculty Diplomate is continuous and subject to meeting C-cert requirements.

If a physician holding Faculty Diplomate status leaves one institution to join another, his or her certification status will change to “Not Certified.” If he or she seeks to become a faculty member of a UCNS-accredited program at the new institution, he or she may apply for reinstatement of his or her Faculty Diplomate status. Once reinstatement is approved, their status will be changed to “Certified–Meeting Requirements.”

​Implementation of the Program
The Faculty Diplomate policy shall become effective for each subspecialty after the end of its practice track.

Applicants with Disabilities and Qualifications for Testing Accommodations

The UCNS recognizes that physicians with disabilities may wish to take the certifying examinations and will attempt to make accommodations for applicants with verified disabilities. Applicants who request accommodations because of a disability must do so at the time of application. The application and documentation substantiating the disability must be included with the subspecialty certification examination and be submitted by the subspecialty examination's posted application deadlines. 

General Information
The Board supports the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and will provide reasonable accommodations during testing to provide equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. Applicants are reminded, however, that "auxiliary aids (and services) can only be offered if they do not fundamentally alter measurement of skills or knowledge the examination is intended to test" (Americans with Disability Act, Public Law 101-336 & 309 [b][3]). To this extent, the UCNS will provide equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. Documentation requesting reasonable accommodations must identify the disability and provide a rationale for specified modifications to standard testing procedures. 

If the UCNS deems it necessary, an independent assessment may be requested at the expense of UCNS. Documentation and other evidence substantiating the disability includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • A report diagnosing the applicant's disability written by a professional appropriately qualified to evaluate the disability. The report must be printed on the certified examiner's letterhead, with the examiner's credentials, address, and telephone number given in the letterhead or title. The report must include the candidate's name, date of birth, date of testing, and it must be signed by the examiner.
  • A history of the disability, including previous settings in which accommodations have been granted. Having had prior accommodations granted does not necessarily influence the decision of the UCNS to grant or deny a current request for accommodation. If there is no history of prior accommodations, the examiner must explain why current circumstances necessitate accommodations.
  • Diagnostic information about the specified disability using standard nomenclature from sources, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-V). 
  • Specific recommended accommodations with a rationale for why each accommodation is needed. A description of any functional limitations associated with the disability is important to the UCNS's evaluation of the request.

The UCNS does not discriminate among applicants on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status. ​

Review of Documentation
Each report is reviewed carefully before accommodations are provided. If the UCNS does not find appropriate and sufficient evidence to grant accommodations, the applicant will be informed that the request has been denied. If a request has been denied, a written appeal may be submitted.

Testing Accommodations
Testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Assistance in indicating answers
  • Extended testing time
  • Large screen font
  • Large print examination
  • Separate examination room
  • Reader
  • Use of assistive devices

Refunds

Applicants requesting a refund due to unique or special circumstances rather than rescheduling their examination must submit a request in writing to the UCNS office for review. A notification letter will be sent to candidate with a decision and a refund, if applicable. Refund determinations are not subject to appeal. Qualifying refunds will be issued in the same method in which the original payment was received.

Candidate Withdrawal
​Candidates withdrawing from an examination may be eligible for a refund of the examination fee, provided they notify the UCNS Executive Director in writing no less than three months prior to the first date of the date range for the examination. Failure to notify UCNS in writing after that date shall result in forfeiture of the examination fee. Application fees are nonrefundable. Refunds are issued in the same method in which the original payment was received. 

Cancellation and Rescheduling
Candidates who are unable to sit for the examination on the date they are scheduled must first contact the testing center at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule the examination. If the testing center is unable to reschedule the examination date, candidates should then contact the UCNS office to determine the availability of rescheduling opportunities. Candidates may be rescheduled, provided there is an opening in the testing date range. If there is no other date available, the applicant must sit for the originally scheduled date or forfeit their fees.

Cancellation Due to Emergency
Candidates who are unable to sit for their scheduled examination due to an emergency should submit written documentation of the emergency to the UCNS office no later than 30 days after the date of examination. This includes those candidates who are in the final year of the practice track. The UCNS will evaluate the documentation and determine whether the absence was excusable. If the absence is determined excusable, the examination fee shall be refunded and the candidate shall be allowed to apply for the next examination. When applying for the next examination, the candidate shall be responsible for paying the then current examination fee.

Appeals

​Application Denial
Applicants who disagree with an adverse decision of the Certification Council may appeal to the UCNS Board of Directors in accordance with this policy.

  1. Definitions
    Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply to this policy:
    • "Adverse decision" means a decision that denies, in whole or in part, an application to sit for a certification examination.
    • "Appellant" means a person who has filed a notice of appeal with the UCNS.
    • "Applicant" means a person who is applying for certification by the UCNS.
    • "Council" means the UCNS Certification Council.
    • "UCNS" means the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.
    • "The Board" means the UCNS Board of Directors.
    • "Chair" means the Chair of the UCNS Board of Directors.
  2. Notice of Appeal
    An applicant who disagrees with an adverse decision of the Certification Council may file a written notice of appeal with the UCNS Executive Director. The notice must be filed within 30 calendar days after the applicant has been notified of the adverse decision and include a $100 filing fee.
  3. The Appeal
    Within 10 calendar days after filing the appeal, the appellant shall submit documentation that supports the appeal to the UCNS Executive Director. The preferred format of the documentation is a detailed letter explaining the basis of the appeal, accompanied by enclosures that support any statements within the letter.
  4. Submission to the UCNS Board of Directors
    When the UCNS Executive Director has received the appeal, any supporting documentation, and filing fee, they shall promptly submit the Certification Council's decision and the appellant's documents to the Board.
  5. Decision by the UCNS Board of Directors
    The Chair shall determine whether to convene the Board for a formal meeting (in person or by telephone conference) or to rule on the appeal by an electronic vote. The Board shall act on the appeal within 60 calendar days after the Executive Director received the appellant's documents described in paragraph four. The decision of the Board is final.
  6. Service of the Board's Decision
    The UCNS Executive Director shall promptly serve the Board's decision by certified or registered mail to the appellant.
  7. Record of the Appeal
    The UCNS Executive Director shall retain all documents related to the appeal for five years. The Executive Director may provide a copy of the record to the appellant, if requested, at no charge.

Failed Examination

Applicants who disagree with an adverse decision of the Certification Council may appeal to the UCNS Board of Directors by following the process in this policy.

  1. Definitions
    In addition to the definitions provided in the application denial policy, and unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply to this policy:
    • "Examinee" means a person who has completed a UCNS certification examination.
    • "Invalidated examination" means an individual examination score that has been invalidated by the Board because of test site or other administrative problems. An invalidated examination is not a failed examination. 
    • "Negative determination" means a failing grade on a certification examination.
  2. Notice of Appeal
    An examinee may submit a written notice of appeal concerning a negative determination based on the belief that the examination was not properly administered at the examination site (e.g., if unanticipated problems in the testing environment at the examination site interfered excessively with the examinee's ability to focus on the examination). The appeal must include a $200 filing fee.
  3. The Appeal
    The notice of appeal must be delivered to the UCNS Executive Director within 30 calendar days after the examinee has been notified of a negative determination. The preferred format of the documentation is a detailed letter explaining the basis of the appeal, accompanied by enclosures that support any statements or allegations within the letter.
  4. Standard of Review
    The Board shall apply the following criteria to the appeal:
    • The Board shall only consider whether the examination was properly administered at the examination site (e.g., if unanticipated problems in the testing environment at the examination site interfered excessively with the examinee's ability to focus on the examination).
    • The Board shall not consider challenges to individual questions and answers in the examination. 
    • If the Board determines that the examination was not properly administered at the examination site, the Board shall declare the individual score to be an invalidated examination score and allow the examinee to apply to sit for the next available examination without paying the examination fee.
  5. Decision by the UCNS Board of Directors
    The Chair shall determine whether to convene the Board for a formal meeting (in person or by telephone conference) or to rule on the appeal by an electronic vote. The Board shall act on the appeal within 60 calendar days after the examinee has submitted the notice of appeal and filing fee. The Board's determination is final.
  6. Service of the Board's Decision
    The UCNS Executive Director shall promptly serve the Board's decision by certified or registered mail to the examinee.
  7. Record of the Appeal
    The UCNS Executive Director shall retain all documents related to the appeal for five years. The executive Director may provide a copy of the record to the appellant, if requested, at no charge.

Revocation ​​of Certification

The Certification Council has the authority to revoke any certificate it issues. A diplomate who has been given written notification of a revocation of their certificate may appeal to the UCNS Board of Directors by following the process in this policy.
  1. Definitions
    In addition to the definitions provided in the application denial and failed examination policies, and unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply to this policy:
    • "Diplomate" means a person who has been given diplomate status by UCNS.
    • "Certificate" means a certificate issued by UCNS.
    • "Adverse decision" means a decision by the Council that has revoked the certificate of a diplomate in any way under this policy. As used herein, the term "adverse action" includes suspension or limitation of the diplomate's certificate status.
  2. Circumstances for Revocation of Diplomate Status
    The Council may, at its sole discretion, revoke a certificate as a result of, but not limited to, one of the following:
    • the diplomate was not eligible to receive the certificate, whether or not the facts concerning ineligibility were known to UCNS at the time the certificate was issued;
    • the diplomate has become ineligible to hold the certificate;
    • the diplomate has made any material misrepresentation or omission in the application for certification or in any other statement to the UCNS, or has failed in timely fashion to supplement any response to any question on any application for certification or recertification with respect to criminal conduct, loss or suspension of a medical license, medical staff privileges, or medical society membership;
    • the diplomate is convicted of, or pleads guilty or nolo contendre to a crime, which in the judgement of the Council, is related to the provision or health care services;
    • the diplomate is found to have engaged in conduct which, in the judgement of the Council,
      • reflects unethical activity relating to the practice of medicine, or
      • casts significant doubt on the ability of the diplomate to practice medicine in the best interests of patients; or
    • the diplomate is found by the Council to have
      • engaged in unethical or irregular behavior in connection with the examination, which may include, but is not limited to, copying answers from or knowingly giving answers to another individual, using notes during an examination, or copying or distributing examination questions;
      • had their license to practice medicine revoked or suspended, placed on probation, or voluntarily relinquished in order to avoid potential sanctions, or restricted or limited in any way;
      • been expelled from a medical society for reasons other than non-payment of dues or failure to attend meetings;
      • had medical staff privileges revoked or suspended for reasons relating to the practice of medicine; 
      • willfully and materially violated any rule of policy of the Board; or
      • taken other action reasonably deemed by the Council to be inconsistent with diplomate status.
  3. Service of the Council's Certification Revocation Decision
    The Council shall promptly serve its decision by certified or registered mail to the diplomate providing the reason for the review and decision.
  4. Submission of Certification Revocation to the Board
    The Council shall promptly submit its decision to the Board.
    • Notice of Appeal
      A diplomate who disagrees with a decision of the Council may file a written notice of appeal with the UCNS Executive Director. The notice must be filed within 30 calendar days of the date of the adverse decision notification letter and must include a nonrefundable $500 filing fee.
    • Status During Appeal
      Until the appeal is completed, the adverse action remains in effect.
    • The Appeal
      Within 10 calendar days after filing the notice of appeal, the appellant shall submit documentation that supports the appeal to the UCNS Executive Director. The format of the documentation must be a detailed letter explaining the basis of the appeal accompanied by enclosures that support statements within the letter. The appeal shall include all information upon which the appellant relies for the contention that the Council's proposed revocation or suspension of the certificate is erroneous.
    • Submission of Appeal to the UCNS Board of Directors
      The UCNS Executive Director shall promptly submit the Council's decision and the appellant's documents to the Board upon receipt the notice of appeal and any supporting documentation.
    • The Appeal Format
      At the discretion of the Board, the appeal shall either be a review of the written documents or as a hearing. If the Board chooses not to grant a hearing, it shall render its decision based on the written materials submitted by the appellant.
    • Request for Appeal Hearing
      The Board may, in its discretion, grant an appellant's written request for an oral hearing. A written request for a hearing must:
      • be made in the appellant's notice of appeal;
      • be accompanied by a $1,000 hearing fee, which shall be refunded to the appellant in the event the Board does not grant the request for a hearing, and include a statement justifying the need for an oral hearing.
    • Appeal Hearing
      In the event the Board grants an appellant's request for a hearing, the Board shall schedule a hearing within 120 calendar days after receiving the notice of the appeal. The Board shall determine the time and place for the hearing and may choose to conduct the hearing by teleconference. At least 30 days prior to the hearing, the Board shall notify the appellant of the time and place of the hearing. The hearing is to be informal in nature and structured as deemed appropriate by the Board. A representative of the Council may attend the hearing to be available to the Board to provide clarification of the record. The appellant may give a presentation at the hearing.    
    • Appeals Decision by the Board of Directors
      The Chair shall determine whether to convene the Board for a formal meeting (in person or by teleconference) or to rule on the appeal by an email vote. The Board shall act on the appeal within two weeks of the hearing. The decision of the Board is final.
    • Service of the Decision
      The UCNS Executive Director shall promptly serve the Board's decision by certified or registered mail to the appellant.
    • Record
      The UCNS Executive Director shall retain all documents related to the revocation and any appeal for five years. The UCNS Executive Director may provide a copy of the record to the appellant upon payment of a reasonable fee.
    • Reinstatement
      A physician who has had their certification revoked shall be considered "Not Certified." A physician will be considered reinstated only after they are able to meet the following terms:
      • Apply for reinstatement by submitting a formal letter that provides evidence of that the Board's action has been satisfactorily resolved.
        • If the certification revocation is less than five years, the physician must pay $400 revoked reinstatement fee, pay back annual C-cert fees for each year revoked, and take and pass quizzes for the revoked period.
        • If the certification revocation is greater than five years, the physician must take and pass the initial subspecialty examination.
      Upon successful completion of the requirements above, as determined by the Board, diplomates shall be considered "Certified - Meeting Requirements."

    Staff Contact

    Todd Bulson, Senior Manager Certification
    tbulson@ucns.org
    (612) 928-6067

    Becky Swanson, Executive Assistant
    bswanson@ucns.org
    (612) 928-6050