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Children's Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is First Pediatric Unit in U.S. to Earn Accreditation

BIRMINGHAM  (Feb. 5, 2014) – Children’s of Alabama has recently earned accreditation for its epilepsy monitoring unit from the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic Technologists (ABRET), becoming the first and only freestanding pediatric hospital in the United States to achieve that recognition and one of only five hospitals in the nation. 

The criteria of accreditation includes a formal review of policies and procedures and a  thorough evaluation of staff, delivery of services, quality of care initiatives, workflow, data, safety and security guidelines and a number of other aspects regarding the monitoring diagnosis and treatment of patients within the unit. Accreditation is for five years.

Children’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) is an eight-bed, inpatient long-term monitoring unit where children suffering from seizures are monitored for consecutive days and evaluated for epilepsy. Decisions made regarding the management of a child with epilepsy, including medication adjustment and other treatments such as the ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulation and surgery, often begin and depend upon the video EEG data collected on the EMU. Pediatric neurologist Monisha Goyal, MD, serves as medical director of the EMU.

The EMU is designated as a Level 4 unit by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, which means that Children’s is able to perform grid monitoring and surgical intervention. Grid monitoring is an invasive procedure whereby electrodes are placed directly on the brain.

Children’s EMU evaluates and treats approximately 600 patients per year. It is currently staffed by two pediatric epileptologists, seven registered electroencephalographic (EEG) technologists and the only certified long term monitoring technologist in Alabama. In addition, two pediatric neurosurgeons are dedicated to the unit. Plans for expansion of staff and space are underway.

The other ABRET-accredited EMUs are the Mayo Clinic Florida in Jacksonville, Mayo Clinic Hospital Phoenix, Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta and Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past four years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at