A Fresh Start!

Neurological surgeons with time-limited 10-year certificates will continue to qualify for renewal of their certificate at the end of their respective 10-year cycles if they participate in the annual continuous certification (CC) program. Given the substantial changes to the program, neurological surgeons who have not yet completed various staged requirements from 2018 or prior years will be discharged from those requirements and will be given a fresh start in 2019 with the new CC program. These neurological surgeons must pay any past-due fee balances owed to the ABNS before participating in the new annual CC program.

Neurosurgeons who have lifetime certificates are strongly encouraged (but not required) to participate in the new CC program. We believe the redesigned program, including the annual adaptive learning tool, will prove to be valuable to the continuing education and practice of all ABNS certified neurological surgeons. Only those neurological surgeons who actively participate in CC will be listed on the ABNS website as “participating in continuous certification” and may present themselves as participants to the public (as well as to hospitals, payors and malpractice carriers).

In addition, participation in this program satisfies the American College of Surgeons (“ACS”) criteria for a neurological surgeon to participate in Level 1 ACS accredited trauma centers. 

Key points of this innovative and radical approach:



Part I- Professionalism and Professional Standing

Attestation of the following:

  • Hospital privileges
  • Meaningful participation in M & M or QA/QI
  • Participation in patient safety exercise
If the chief of staff is not available for attestation, a department chair or other suitable administrator or colleague may serve this role.

Part II- Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment

Earn 20 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ (Continuing Medical Education- CME) in neurological surgery annually.

Documentation of the earned credits is preferable, but attestation is acceptable. Please note that attestation may be subject to random auditing.

Part III- Assessment of Knowledge, Judgement and Skills

The new ABNS approach includes a “no-risk” learning tool with high level evidence-based articles to keep neurological surgeons current on new surgical concepts essential for their practice.

Annual completion of the General and Emergency Neurological Surgery Principles Adaptive Learning tool with OR without CME satisfies this requirement.

Click here to access the course catalog

Part IV- Improvement in Medical Practice

The ABNS requests that board certified neurological surgeons review their cases for quality improvement (QI/QA) with their peers no less than quarterly We offer the following guideline as a resource: Guidelines for M&M conference

Additional CC Requirements for Subspecialty/Focused Practice

Continuous Certification for CNS Neuroendovascular Surgery (CNS-ES) or Neurocritical Care (NeuCC)

In addition to participation in the above CC program for all ABNS diplomates, those neurological surgeons participating in the CNS-ES or NeuCC recognized focus practice must also do the following:

  1. Complete the annual general and emergency principles adaptive learning tool and the module specific to CNS-ES and/or NeuCC which ever is applicable.
  2. Submit limited case information annually to confirm that the diplomate’s practice is in fact “focused’ and that minimum volume thresholds are met. For neurological surgeons participating in the CNS-ES recognized focus practice, this submission will be a full list of their procedural CPT codes along with unique patient identifiers. For neurological surgeons participating in the NeuCC recognized focus practice, the submission will be E&M Codes along with unique patient identifiers.

Continuous Certification for ABNS/ABPNS Pediatric Neurological Surgery

In addition to participation in the above CC program for all ABNS diplomates, those neurological surgeons participating in the pediatric neurological surgery recognized focus practice under the joint auspices of the ABNS and ABPNS must also do the following:

  1. Complete the annual adaptive learning tool and pediatric module.
  2. Submit a case log to the ABPNS once every 10 years to confirm that the participant is still performing a minimum of 65 cases in patients aged 21 and under within a 12-month period. The case log will be reviewed by the ABPNS to confirm that the diplomate’s practice is “congenital focused” and that minimum volume thresholds are met.
  3.  The ABPNS may impose additional annual fees to defray the cost of ABPNS operations and the cost of reviewing the case log submissions. It should be noted that for those with non-time limited certificates, completion of all annual CC requirements (e.g. professional attestation, CME and M&M/QA/QI) is required to participate in the recognition of focused practice program.
The only exception is for those few neurological surgeons whose certificate expired on December 31, 2018 and there was no credible documented effort of participation in the CC program during the entire ten-year certification period and will not be entitled to the “fresh start.” Those affected will be notified and will need to successfully complete the reentry process if they wish to again become certified.     
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