|I want to take a moment to introduce you to an important new program that the Academy has developed to designate Approved OCST Suppliers.
The Board of Directors recognizes that sweeping changes in the health care system and the insurance market are having a dramatic impact on the practice of sleep medicine. Policy makers are focusing on cost containment and efficiency in every aspect of health care. As a result, insurance carriers are directing more and more patients who are suspected of having OSA to OCST instead of in-lab PSG.
These changes have swept across some regions of the country already, and I am certain that all of us will soon feel the impact. The recent events in Massachusetts have taught us that our sleep centers have to be nimble; we need to be able to respond quickly to change.
To help sleep centers navigate through the rapidly changing health care landscape, the Academy has developed a new program that involves a process for designating Approved OCST Suppliers.
These suppliers are companies that offer to perform specific technical components of OCST for you. These services may include:
- Patient training & distribution of OCST equipment
- 24/7 patient support
- Equipment retrieval, cleaning & maintenance
- And data scoring, as well as the secure transfer of test data
If you determine that it is beneficial for your sleep center to contract with an outside OCST provider, then our new program will help you in three important ways. Let's call them the A, B, Cs of OCST:
First: A is for adaptation. This program will help you adapt quickly to changes in the health care market. Outsourcing the logistics of some OCST functions may give your sleep center the flexibility that you need to adapt successfully.
Second: B is for Board certified. This program ensures that the board certified sleep medicine physician remains at the center of care. The sleep physician at the accredited center interprets the sleep test and oversees the long-term care of the patient.
Finally, C is for confidence. This program will give you confidence if you decide to contract with an outside OCST provider. You will have peace of mind in knowing that the services you receive will meet AASM accreditation standards.
Keep in mind that this is an optional program designed to ensure that you have the best choices available as you consider how to implement OCST in your sleep center. Your current business model may allow you to seamlessly integrate a successful, in-house OCST program. But for those centers that do not have the time or resources to quickly implement OCST, the Academy’s program gives you another option to consider.
Look for much more information about this program and other relevant resources on our website in the coming weeks.
Sam Fleishman, MD