The AASM’s Seniors Sleep Campaign took a major step forward this week when a sleep apnea screening bill was introduced May 21 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R–Texas, who is a physician and co-chair of the Congressional Health Caucus. Now we need AASM members to help move the bipartisan legislation forward by signing the Seniors Sleep Pledge.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., H.R. 4695 proposes that a clinically validated screening questionnaire be used during the introductory “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit to identify new Medicare beneficiaries who have a high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The bill would apply to initial preventive physical examinations performed on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Now it is time for you to get involved. Legislative staffers have made it clear to us that the fate of the bill depends on the engagement of all AASM members in garnering the support of our elected officials. Members of Congress are most responsive to requests that they receive from their own constituents. Therefore, I urge you to help by signing the Seniors Sleep Pledge, which offers a variety of ways in which you can get involved. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have any experience in reaching out to your elected officials. Staff in the AASM Government Affairs Department will help guide you through the process.

The AASM appreciates the support of Reps. Burgess and Rush. We also are grateful to their congressional staff, who worked collaboratively with the AASM to develop the draft language for the bill. I encourage our members in Texas and Illinois to contact the offices of Rep. Burgess and Rep. Rush to thank them for sponsoring H.R. 4695. Let them know that you appreciate their support for the field of sleep medicine.

I also invite you to attend the PAC Breakfast at SLEEP 2014 on Tuesday, June 3, at 7 a.m. Rep. Erik Paulson, R-Minn., will highlight current policy issues that affect health care and discuss how providers can impact legislation in Washington. Purchase your PAC Breakfast ticket at the SLEEP 2014 registration counters in Minneapolis. You also can learn more about our advocacy efforts and make a contribution at the PAC desk next to the society booth at SLEEP 2014.

Thank you in advance for participating in the Seniors Sleep Campaign. Together our efforts will promote high quality patient centered care for the millions of older adults with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.


M. Safwan Badr, MD