On Thursday, April 4, an American Academy of Sleep Medicine delegation visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for meetings at the offices of more than 35 legislators to advocate for policies to promote sleep health. Joining members of the AASM board of directors for the collaborative Hill visit were representatives from four other partner organizations, involving physicians, scientists, a sleep disorders patient and grassroots advocates.

The four groups that sent representatives to participate with AASM leaders were:

Two AASM priorities for these visits were to identify potential sponsors for the establishment of a Congressional Sleep Health Caucus and for the introduction of a National Sleep Health Awareness Month resolution. In addition to making progress on both priorities, participants also discussed the need for Stark Law reform to allow board-certified sleep medicine physicians to provide positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy to Medicare beneficiaries who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Participants also advocated for Congress to appropriate line-item funding for “sleep and sleep disorders” activities in 2020 at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Another topic of discussion was the need for healthier school start times for middle school and high school students. Legislators were urged to co-sponsor H.R.1861, a bill introduced March 25 by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to direct the Secretary of Education to conduct a study to determine the relationship between school start times and adolescent health, well-being, and performance.

Learn more about AASM advocacy initiatives.