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Categories Of Certification

Voluntary and Lifetime certifications

A lifetime certificate remains valid as long as state medical license(s) remain current and unrestricted. ABNS strongly encourages neurosurgeons who hold a lifetime certification to participate in the CC process to demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and to continue to develop themselves professionally. As such, a Diplomate who has a status of voluntary, has chosen to participate in continuous certification (CC). Both lifetime and voluntary are considered Certified and are not required to participate in CC.

Certification and State Licensure

Requirements for certification and continuous certification (CC) are distinct from those for license. licensure is legislatively mandated and falls under the jurisdiction of each state where a physician may practice.

Individual neurosurgeons are classified by the ABNS into five distinct categories:

Currently Certified - Participating in Continuous of Certification

Diplomates who have paid their annual fees and are in the process of completing CC requirements in a timely fashion for each year within the ten-year cycle.

Currently Certified - Not Participating in Continuous Certification

Diplomates who are not participating in CC and have either non time-limited certificates or time-limited certificates that have not yet expired. CC participants who fail to meet the annual requirements in a timely fashion are subject to the following with respect to participation classification:

A diplomate who has participated in annual requirements but is delinquent in some of its components will be notified of their delinquencies. The diplomate may enter a three-month grace period to fulfill all the requirements of that year while also working on the requirements of the new year. The grace-period fee of $250 will be assessed at the end of the three-month grace period if requirements are not complete. For every quarter the Diplomate remains delinquent a $250 fee will be assessed.

If Diplomates are delinquent in some or all of their CC requirements in any year, they will receive notice of that fact. The annual requirements for the following year must also be completed in full, and while the delinquent requirements are outstanding the Diplomate will not be recognized on the ABNS website as participating in CC.

Please note the Diplomates may be delinquent in their annual requirements only twice in each ten-year Certification period; the two years cannot be consecutive. If a Diplomate with a time-limited Certificate (a) is delinquent more than twice in any ten year period; or (b) is delinquent in any two consecutive years; or (c) fails after any delinquency to fulfill the requirements he or she missed during the one-year grace period, the individual will no longer be deemed to be Certified, and the only way he or she can again become Certified is to complete the re-entry process described below.

Re-Entry Process
ABNS Diplomates with time limited Certificates who either (a) have been delinquent with the requirements of CC more than twice in any ten year Certification period; or (b) have been delinquent with the requirements of CC in any two consecutive years; or (c) have failed, following a year of delinquency or non-participation, to fulfill the requirements they missed during the grace period, will no longer be deemed to be Certified. To regain Certified status, the neurosurgeon may be required to submit in the ABNS POST system 75 new consecutive cases, with imaging, which will be reviewed. The case submission is subject to audit to ensure that the submitted cases are consecutive. If the case submission review identifies problems or raises concerns, the ABNS may require the neurosurgeon to take and pass an oral exam focused on his or her practice, or other such activities as a condition to again becoming Certified.
In order for neurosurgeons to be eligible to regain their Certificate through this re-entry process, they must commence the process within two (2) years of the date they lost their Certified status. Rentry fee of $2,500 may be assessed to Diplomates who have to complete a re-entry process.

Certified- Inactive (Clinically or Surgically)

Diplomates who are clinically or surgically inactive for a period because they are participating in one of the activities listed below:

  • Engaged in research
  • Academic administration
  • Government policy work
  • Other activities that preclude or interfere with active clinical or surgical practice

To remain certified, a diplomate must inform the board in writing of their intention to become clinically or surgically inactive and of the likely duration of clinical or surgical inactivity.

Diplomates with time-limited certificates who are listed as “Inactive” may be exempt from certain aspects of the ABNS CC program (or the ABNS/ABPNS CC program as applicable) during the period which they are inactive as permitted by the board (in conjunction with the ABPNS, as applicable). The board (in conjunction with the
ABPNS as applicable) will notify inactive diplomates of the CC elements that apply during the period of clinical or surgical inactivity. The board (in conjunction with the ABPNS as applicable) will also notify diplomates of the steps they must take before being listed as “active” again.

Certified - Retired

Diplomates who have retired from the practice of neurosurgery but were certified and in good standing at the time of retirement. To remain certified, they must:

  • Inform the ABNS in writing of their intention to retire.

Individuals who elect this status and comply with these requirements will not be required to participate in CC and will be listed as “Certified – Retired” on the ABNS website. If they later resume the practice of neurosurgery, they will have their certificates permanently revoked unless:

  • They petition the ABNS for reinstatement of their original certificates prior to resuming practice.
  • Reinstatement is approved by ABNS.
  • They comply fully with any ABNS conditions in connection with such reinstatement.

Not Certified

  • Diplomates whose certificates have been suspended or revoked.
  • Diplomates whose time-limited certificates expired and have not been awarded new time-limited certificates due to their failure to successfully complete the CC process.
  • Neurosurgeons who have never been ABNS certified. Individuals in this category include those who have never sought certification, as well as those who never completed the certification process. These individuals do not appear on ABNS databases or listings.