Hello to all the 10,000 AASM members! February is always an interesting month – will the groundhog see his shadow and will some spring days be included or will the snow that has been seemingly absent this year decide it is time to deluge us with storms? Either way, we will forge ahead and look for those daffodils to show us that spring is coming.
I am hopeful that by now you have had an opportunity to read the AASM’s recent proposal for the Innovation Care Delivery and Management Program for Patients with OSA (ICDMPPO), which was submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to its Health Care Innovation Challenge. We at the AASM feel that this important proposal represents the future of clinical care for adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Central to this initiative is the involvement of a select group of AASM-accredited sleep disorders centers. As outlined in the proposal, the AASM will recruit between 50 and 75 sleep centers from all geographic regions of the country for a three-year program. About 75 percent of these proposed sites will be hospital-based, and 25 percent will be non-hospital based. Selected sites also will include a mix of urban, suburban and rural sleep centers.
AASM-accredited sleep centers should have received an official letter of invitation to apply for the program. Comprehensive information about the program, including an application for participation, also is now available online. I encourage all members to visit the website to learn more about the program and how it lays the foundation for the future of sleep medicine.
We anticipate that CMS will announce the recipients of the innovation grants in late March. In the meantime, members can share with us your thoughts and comments about the program by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For the most part, we have received mostly favorable comments from our membership about this approach.
This proposal is only the latest example of how the AASM has been representing the sleep field within the federal government system. Our superb AASM staff recently traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with several lawmakers and agencies. The objective of these meetings was to raise awareness of sleep medicine and communicate the position of the AASM on issues such as reimbursement for sleep medicine physicians and funding for sleep research.
As a result of these meetings, federal agencies and unions have expressed interest in partnering with the AASM on educational initiatives related to sleep disorders, fatigue and wellness. The AASM also is working on a legislative initiative that would make screening for sleep apnea a required part of the Welcome to Medicare examination.
As an AASM member, you can help sustain our efforts in the legislative arena by supporting the AASM’s bi-partisan Political Action Committee (PAC). Through the PAC, the AASM is able to contribute to the election campaigns of key legislators who are supportive of AASM initiatives. I am strongly in support of this and want you to know that I am asking every member of the AASM board of directors to be supportive of this initiative as well.
In this election year, your contributions to the PAC are one of the best ways to advance the sleep field and ensure that our collective voice is heard. I hope you will seize this opportunity to invest in your profession and livelihood. Please consider making an online donation today when you visit the PAC webpage.
Nancy Collop, MD