Ochsner LSU Regional Epilepsy Center receives national accreditation

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) recently accredited the Ochsner LSU Regional Epilepsy Center as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center.

The Epilepsy Surgery program is a collaboration between members of the departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology at LSU Health Shreveport. Hai Sun, MD, PhD, FAANS, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of the Ochsner LSU Regional Epilepsy Center, and Rosario Maria S. Riel-Romero, MD, FAAP, FAAN, FACNS, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Co-Medical Director of the program and Director of Child Neurology and the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, jointly lead the program. Peimin Zhu, MD, PhD, and Jayson Rodriguez, MD, are the two other board-certified epileptologists in the program. Additional LSU Health Shreveport faculty who are active members of the program include Christina Notarianni, MD, FAANS, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery; Eduardo Gonzalez-Toledo, MD, Professor of Radiology and Director of Neuroradiology and Research; and Christina Ledbetter, PhD, Fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery.

The NAEC has four levels of epilepsy care and accredits centers that meet criteria to be a Level 3 or Level 4, which provide specialized epilepsy care. By the NAEC definition, a Level 4 center provides more complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatment than a Level 3 center can provide. Level 4 centers also offer complete evaluations for epilepsy surgery and perform more complex epilepsy surgeries.

The Regional Epilepsy Center at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Academic Medical Center is the only facility in North Louisiana with Level 4 NAEC accreditation and the resources to care for epilepsy patients in need of more specialized care. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures and affects approximately 10,000 people in the region. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are about 3.4 million people in the U.S. with epilepsy.

 “I am extremely honored to be recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers with the Level 4 designation,” said Dr. Sun. “Since becoming Director of Epilepsy Surgery three years ago, I was committed to expanding our epilepsy services at the hospital and to provide access to high-level care to patients in our community who have complex neurological conditions such as epilepsy and seizure disorders. Having a NAEC Level 4 designation means that we are able to provide the most acute and comprehensive care for epilepsy patients, and it also enhancing the training of our LSU Health Shreveport Neurosurgery and Neurology Residents to become the next generation of epilepsy specialists.”

“The accreditation of the Epilepsy Center is a tremendous accomplishment that was made possible only by the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the individual members of our Epilepsy team. Our team is driven by the common vision and goal of providing the best possible care to our patients, and to ensure the best possible surgical outcome to those who suffer from medically refractory seizures. We are very proud to have been able to come this far, and to be able to offer this service to the people in our community and north Louisiana,” said Dr. Riel-Romero.

Physicians committed to setting a national agenda for quality epilepsy care founded the NAEC, a non-profit association, in 1987. Today, the NAEC has a membership that includes more than 230 specialized epilepsy centers throughout the United States, and it continues to develop standards of epilepsy care and educate various interest groups about the complexities of and need for patient access to specialized epilepsy services.

More about the NAEC’s accreditation process and criteria can be found here.