The AASM has been working with legislators in Washington, D.C., on a draft bill that would incorporate sleep disorders testing into the “Welcome to Medicare” benefit, which allows individuals entering the Medicare program to receive an initial preventive physical examination and other screening services without a copayment. Some of the other services included in this benefit are various cancer screening tests, cardiovascular screening blood tests, diabetes screening tests, and an electrocardiogram.
The draft bill would expand the “Welcome to Medicare” benefit to include sleep disorders testing for individuals with a high pre-test probability of obstructive sleep apnea or symptoms consistent with narcolepsy. Identification of these patients, followed by related medical care, has the potential to provide a significant health improvement benefit for these Medicare beneficiaries and substantial program savings down the road. The AASM will keep members informed on the status of this draft bill, which is currently under consideration and has not yet been introduced in Congress.