Group stumps for sleep funding

Thursday, May 31, 2007

WASHINGTON - The American Sleep Apnea Association's new Apnea Advocacy Action Program recently made lobbying Congress to add money to the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) budget its top priority. Ed Grandi, executive director, thinks $1 million dollars makes a nice incentive for the agency to add sleep questions to its health surveys.
"Congress has said it would be a good idea if the CDC collected this information but they don't have the money in their budget," said Grandi. "We're trying to get Congress onboard with thinking about sleep as an issue."
With additional funding, the CDC could add sleep questions to its Behavioral Risk Factor System and offer a better sense of the prevalence of sleep disorders, including OSA. That, in turn, would give ASAA a better idea of what needs to be done to address sleep disorder issues, said Grandi.
"The National Sleep Foundation has poll data, but it really doesn't have the same weight as what the CDC could collect," said Grandi.
In March, the association added a legislative action center to its Web site that includes legislative alerts and updates and talking points for members to use when calling or writing their lawmakers. ASAA wanted to make it easy for people to speak out on sleep issues, said Grandi.
"We want people out there to get involved," he said.
The association seeks to increase its membership and build an activist database. Grandi said he is also working to strengthen relationships with HME industry.
"We want to work with them to help their patients," he said. "We also want to work with the trade associations."