Background. Little is known about the relationship between types of healthcare providers and outcomes in patients with epilepsy. This study compares the relative effects of provider type (epileptologist vs. other neurologist) and pharmacologic treatment (newer vs. older antiepileptic drugs) on seizure control in patients with epilepsy. Methods. We conducted a retrospective study of patients with medication-resistant epilepsy. Consecutive charts of 200 patients were abstracted using a standard case report form. For each patient, data included seizure frequency and medication use prior to, and while being treated by an epileptologist. Changes in seizure frequency were modeled using a generalized linear model. Results. After transferring care from a general neurologist to specialized epilepsy center, patients experienced fewer seizures (p < 0.001) and were more frequently seizure-free (p < 0.001). The improved seizure control was not related to treatment with newer vs. older antiepileptic drugs (p = 0.305). Conclusion. Our findings suggest an association between subspecialty epilepsy care and improved seizure control in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy. Further research should prospectively determine whether patients with medication-resistant epilepsy would benefit from being routinely referred to an epilepsy specialist. © 2008 Szaflarski et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.