Sleep Centers Redefining How to Do Business

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Outside factors such as lower reimbursement rates and possible regulations in the transportation industry are forcing sleep centers to re-think the way to do business

“Reimbursement rates for at-home sleep testing are up to $1,000 less than that of an overnight polysomnograph (PSG) done in a sleep center,”

In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions insurance carriers are mandating the use of at-home sleep apnea testing devices for patients, significantly lowering the reimbursement rates to sleep centers. “Reimbursement rates are up to $1,000 less than that of an overnight polysomnograph (PSG) done in a sleep center,” according to chairman Dr. Benjamin Gerson during his presentation at the Building & Streamlining Excellence in Sleep Centers conference in Chicago. “These reimbursement rates are forcing sleep centers to evaluate whether or not at-home sleep apnea testing should be applied in their practice in order to gain revenue, even if it is lower than desired.” Dr. Gerson mentioned this shift in the insurance industry as well as impending regulations in the transportation industry have encouraged his company, University Services, to accept the use of at-home sleep testing in practice.

Adding to the state of the sleep industry, proposed federal regulations by the transportation industry would require safety sensitive employees be tested for a sleep disorder, more specifically sleep apnea. According to Dr. Gerson, the proposed regulations would require millions of transportation workers be tested for sleep apnea, placed on treatment, and follow treatment guidelines within three months. This increase in patient demand could be considered extremely difficult based on the number of sleep centers across the country combined with the existing backlog of clinical patients.

So what is a sleep center to do? Dr. Gerson says to accept the use of at-home sleep apnea testing. Sleep centers should begin researching devices that can fit into their practice model, market these capabilities to referring physicians, and view this new technology as a way to decrease patient backlog and increase report turnaround time. This approach may be applied in clinical sleep medicine as an alternative to the fixed site sleep center, weight management/wellness programs, or to meet the demands of transportation company workers.

ABOUT UNIVERSITY SERVICES
University Services, a multi-specialty medical services organization, provides sleep diagnostic and treatment to patients through American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep centers as well as convenient at-home sleep testing. Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGTs) score the study data and Board Certified Sleep Physicians provide diagnosis and recommendations, providing the highest standard of patient care night after night.

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Crystal Bayawa
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