Health care for patients with neurological diseases in the United States occurs across multiple levels, ranging from primary to tertiary care and, less commonly, quaternary care.
The World Health Organization has defined primary care as the point where first medical contact occurs, and where coordination and continuity of medical services is managed. Primary care focuses on a broad range of services, rather than the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of a specific organ system, and thus primary-care providers (PCPs) have varying levels of comfort in the treatment of neurological disorders.
Secondary care is provided by specialists, such as general neurologists, who focus on diseases affecting a specific organ system, usually upon referral by a PCP. Both primary care and secondary care are provided in an outpatient setting or a general hospital setting.
Tertiary neurological care is provided by subspecialists who treat a subset of conditions that affect the nervous system. Examples include: