Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is There a Sleep Study Backlog?

A reader asks: Is there actually a backlog of undiagnosed patients? If so, how significant is this backlog (2 weeks? 2 months?)? Do you believe the move to home testing will result in a quick resolution of this backlog?
In most urban areas, there is only a 1 to 2 week wait for sleep studies for patients with Medicare or commercial insurance. Not all sleep labs take Medicaid, so those patients may have to go to University sleep labs, which can sometimes have backlogs of 3 to 4 months. Waiting times in The Veterans Administration can be problematic; I have heard of patients waiting 6 to 12 months for sleep studies and I believe that portable testing may make sense in the VA system.

Not all rural areas have sleep labs, but more and more 2 bed sleep labs are popping in small community hospitals.

Overall I do not think that their is a significant backlog, except in the VA system and some university hospitals. There remains a large number of people with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, but it's not due to a lack of sleep labs.


ken johnson said...

Do sleep labs in miss. have to be accredited to accpet and bill for miss. medicaid patients?

Michael Rack, MD said...

AASM accreditation is only required for BC/BS billing in MS