CMS: No sleep screening in the home

Sunday, May 8, 2005

BALTIMORE -- CMS made it official on Friday: There'll be no in-home screening for sleep apnea in the foreseeable future.

"There is not sufficient evidence to conclude that unattended portable multi-channel sleep study testing is reasonable and necessary in the diagnosis of OSA for CPAP therapy, and these tests will remain uncovered for these purposes," CMS states in a transmittal that updates its national coverage policy (NCD) for CPAP.

The only qualifying study sanctioned by CMS is polysomnography conducted in a facility-based sleep study laboratory. Changes to the NCD were effective April 4 and are to be implemented by June 6.

These changes to the NCD cap a heated year-long campaign that pitted a sleep doctor at the University of San Diego's School of Medicine against the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a powerful lobbying group who opposed opening up the home to sleep screening.

Proponents of in-home sleep screening claim that the lobby's doctors thwarted the initiative because they make too much money from sleep labs.

The AASM leveled similar charges against the initiative's proponents, saying some boosters had much to gain financially from in-home screening.