Ala. VA bids out sleep studies

Saturday, August 31, 2002

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The VA hospital here put out a bid June 20th for at-home sleep studies, but the exact parameters of how the studies would be conducted remain vague.

"If you don't' have the right equipment that gives you the proper diagnosing, then you are going to have some people out their getting poor studies and the vets will be under served," said Stewart Pace, executive v.p. of Med-South in Jasper, Ala., which operates sleep labs in Alabama and Mississippi.

Pace, who planned to bid on the contract, was crafting a letter to the VA last month with his recommendations as to how he thinks the studies should be carried out. Among his recommendations:

- The tests should be unattended and follow parameters established by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

- The in-home test should be used to screen for OSA and central apnea. Further studies should be conducted by a sleep lab.

- If the test doesn't turn up a sleep disorder but the patient continues to complain of problems, the person should go to a lab for further testing.

"The specification and parameters to be measured have to be absolute," said Pace. "I want them to have a level playing field." HME