Sleep Initiatives

CURRENT AAHS INITIATIVES
Increased Access to Care

All members, patients, providers and the general public, benefit from increased access to care for patients with sleep disorders. The AAHS is currently focused on addressing the barriers to adequate sleep care, which include:
  • Bringing down the high cost of sleep care
  • Addressing inadequate or lack of insurance coverage for sleep services
  • Increasing the availability of sleep services and culturally competent care
It is the belief of the AAHS that improving awareness of sleep disorders and sleep medicine will open the lines of communication between providers and patients by empowering patients to bring sleep issues to their primary care physician and encouraging primary care physicians to incorporate sleep health into everyday practice.

At this time, the AAHS will mainly address access to care by ensuring current resources are being utilized to their fullest potential by informing the public, patient, and providers of the importance of sleep health and sleep services and advocating for increased screening for sleep disorders with all providers, including primary care physicians.


Clinical Research
The AAHS affords a unique opportunity for patients and providers to partner in deciding research priorities that will benefit the entire sleep community.  The AAHS will focus on determining a clinical research agenda that patients and providers agree upon, and then advocating for increased funding for these specific research areas.

Your input can help the AAHS set future research goals.  Let us know your research priorities by taking this quick survey!
 
RECENT AAHS ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES
Truck Drivers' Hours of Service (FMCSA-2018-0248)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking addressing truck drivers' hours of service, which included several potential changes that would affect a driver's sleeping hours.  The AAHS responded with a comment letter indicating that the AAHS is in favor of rules that allow driver's to obtain a sufficient amount of sleep each night (7 hours of continuous sleep).

California School Start Times (SB 328)

The California legislature passed a bill, SB 328, mandating that middle and high school start times begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.  The AAHS sent a letter of support for this bill to California Governor Jerry Brown, although Governor Brown ultimately vetoed the bill.

CMS/HHS Self-Referral Law ("Stark") Request (CMS-1720-NC)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS"), in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a request for information on the physician self-referral law ("Stark").  The AAHS submitted a comment letter addressing the limitations to care that the current Stark law causes for patients treated with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.


OTHER ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE

Drowsy Driving
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 1 in 5 fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver.  Drowsy driving, like drunk or distracted driving, affects everyone on the roadways, not just those engaging in the behavior.  Regulations regarding drowsy driving are either non-existent or inconsistent in states that do have regulations in place, as there is currently no way to accurately measure drowsiness (such as a breathalyzer for drunk driving). 

Later School Start Times
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine maintains that middle and high school start times should begin at 8:30 AM or later to allow adolescents to attain an adequate amount of sleep, which leads to improved academic performance, reduced school absences and tardiness and decreased motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers.  School start times are generally decided at the local or state level.

Telemedicine
As described above, the AAHS is committed to increasing access to sleep care in the United States.  Telemedicine provides a pathway to care for many individuals who do not have immediate access to sleep care.  In many ways, sleep medicine is already technology-driven.  From testing to treatment, technology is integral in the provision of quality sleep care. Coupled with the increasing public reliance on technology-based communications and the proliferation of sleep apps and tools online, it is all the more important for the field of sleep to embrace advancing technology for the betterment of patients. 

Telemedicine can be used to improve the patient experience in all areas of sleep care: Consultating with a sleep specialist via a secure video chat; receiving testing results online; participating in cognitive behavioral therapy in your own home; discussing CPAP mask issues with a sleep technologist.  Telemedicine opens up the world of sleep medicine to individuals who cannot access it through traditional means and makes life easier for all sleep patients.

Prescription Costs
The high price of prescriptions plagues many sleep patients, who rely on costly medications to manage their disorder on a daily basis.  There are several bills currently proposed in Congress aimed at:
  • Lowering prescription drug costs
  • Increasing competition in the pharmaceutical market
  • Promoting the development of generic or lower cost alternatives
  • Increasing drug price transparency
Search our legislative database (link) for more information on these bills.
 
The American Alliance for Healthy Sleep (AAHS) is dedicated to improving the lives of sleep patients and addressing healthy sleep concerns that affect everyone.  There are a plethora of issues affecting the sleep community that the AAHS has identified.  Although every issue and initiative is important, the AAHS must prioritize resources and member participation to affect maximum impact in our identified advocacy priority areas.

If there is an issue not included above affecting the sleep community, please contact the AAHS at advocacy@sleepallies.org.