Has anyone read the editorial in this month's issue of JCSM (The Feb issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine) by Michael Perlis, PhD?
In this editorial about behavioral sleep medicine/CBT-insomnia, Dr. Perlis advocates for the requirement that all accreditied sleep disorders centers be required to "have a provider on staff (full time or part time) who is BSM "boarded" or board elgible.
I am a DABSM and also certified in sleep medicine by the ABIM. I have also passed the AASM behavioral sleep medicine certification exam, and so I periodically receive emails from Dr. Perlis regarding the issue of who can provide behavioral sleep medicine services (I am also a member of the behavioral sleep medicine committee, but I will not reveal those confidential discussions).
There is a growing movement among psychologists who are upset because they are not elgible for the new physician sleep boards to require accredited sleep centers to have BSM-certified individuals (primarily psychologists) on staff.
I encourage all sleep physicians to write the AASM Board of Directors and support the position that physician board certification in sleep medicine qualifies the physician to practice all aspects of sleep medicine, including behavioral sleep medicine. In addition, consider attending the Insomnia Section meeting at Sleep 2008. The Insomnia Section has become a center for psychologists who support Dr. Perlis's position.
Sleep psychologists are trying to force sleep disorders centers to hire them on staff, using AASM accreditation as the enforcement mechanism. Most sleep physicians, including myself, would have no problem with referring CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) cases out to qualified psychologists. We board-certified sleep physicians should not, however, be force to hire psychologists, nor be limited in our ability to practice the full spectrum of sleep medicine, including, if we choose, behavioral sleep medicine.