CMS hears louder call for in-home sleep diagnostics

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Monday, July 5, 2004

July 6, 2004

BALTIMORE - Proponents of a proposal that would open Medicare’s door to in-home diagnostics for obstructive sleep apnea outweighed opponents by a significant margin in the first round of comments submitted to CMS.
Overall, 45 of the 81 comments posted to the CMS Web site last week clearly urged CMS to modify its current policy, which requires beneficiaries receiving CPAP to be diagnosed in a lab using polysomnography; 28 of the comments clearly opposed the proposal.
Among submissions by individual or groups of doctors, the green light for in-home diagnostics was even bolder. While seven submissions opposed change to the existing policy, 24 of the submissions called for CMS to allow in-home diagnostics. One of those advocating a shift into the home was Dr. William Dement, who is widely known as the ‘Father of Sleep Medicine.’
“A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates excellent correlation between multi-channel home sleep testing and PSG,” Dement wrote.
CMS’s reassessment of its in-home diagnostic policy was prompted by a Jan. 29 letter from Dr. Terry Davidson, a University School of Medicine sleep doctor who believes the existing policy is inhibiting the diagnosis of OSA.
In response to the first round of comments, CMS is calling for a second round of comments that focuses on similarities between unattended portable multi-channel home sleep testing and facility-based PSG.

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