I just returned from our fall Board of Directors meeting.  It was a busy meeting, and I can assure you that there is a lot going on at the AASM.  In the upcoming weeks, I will be giving you information on many of the initiatives we discussed including our new Standards of Practice procedures, a new process for updating the scoring manual, the progress on the ICSD-3, our integrated management proposal, a taskforce examining advanced practice nurses and PAs, the update on respiratory events scoring, and lots more.  I want to use this week’s blog to encourage you to renew your AASM membership for 2012.  We are rapidly growing and hope that we will have 10,000 members before the end of next year. 

There are so many benefits to being a member of the AASM including access to the high-quality journals, SLEEP and Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.  SLEEP has the highest impact factor of any sleep journal, and JCSM has superb studies and publications for the physician “in the trenches” practicing sleep medicine. The AASM is THE voice in sleep medicine for issues related to coding and reimbursement and provides representation regarding relevant state and national legislation. We maintain a strong influence with CMS and keep an active voice in issues involving professional liability insurance and Medicare billing compliance. The AASM is constantly involved on the state level regarding licensure for sleep technologists, drowsy driving and other public health related topics.  We also provide our members with timely updates on billing issues and are a great resource for physicians who are always welcome to contact the AASM national office staff for guidance.

One of our major strengths relates to the myriad educational opportunities in a variety of formats that bring together a vast network of sleep medicine professionals of all backgrounds and career paths to continue an ongoing conversation about sleep disorders research, diagnosis, treatment and management.  Our popular Board Review courses, the SLEEP annual meeting, local programs at our headquarters, the Business of Sleep Medicine course and a variety of other offerings put us #1 in CME sleep related education.

We are thoroughly committed to pushing the national agenda for sleep and circadian rhythms research, and through the American Sleep Medicine Foundation we devote substantial time, money and effort into funding young investigators and strategic educational targeted grants.  This year we will be participating in an exciting new “Bridget to K” grant program, which will provide bridging funds to help young investigators who were not able to qualify for a K award.  We continue to respond to the needs of our members by providing critical grant support and promoting sleep-related research funding at the national level.

The AASM sets standards for the field of sleep medicine, and our members are the first to receive early notification when new practice parameters and clinical guidelines are released. Our evidence-based practice parameters and consensus-based clinical guidelines provide clinicians with a framework for the assessment and management of sleep disorders.  Again, we are the leaders in sleep medicine, providing the tools that we need to practice sleep medicine with evidence-based guidelines.

I encourage every one of you to re-join the AASM and solicit your colleagues who are not members to join.  The specialty of sleep medicine has a great future, and the AASM membership is the best way to stay ahead of the issues in our field, obtain continuing education, and network with other sleep professionals.  Take a look at the website for all the offerings and opportunities – check out the new ICSD crosswalk app for your iPhone, the online discussion forums, and all the upcoming CME courses.  This is an extremely good buy – take advantage of it now!  And stayed tuned for the next HypnoGram, in which I will update you on more exciting and innovative offerings from the AASM!

Nancy Collop, MD