What is AASM and what accreditations are there?
AASM or the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the country’s only professional organization dedicated
solely to the field of sleep medicine. Not only does it set the standards but also promotes excellence in research, healthcare and education in this medical sub-specialty. As far as sleep programs are concerned, an AASM accreditation continues to be the highest standard. In many American states, third party payments for sleep studies are green lighted only in AASM certified facilities.
Requirements: The sleep center accreditation standards have been designed to assure quality and meet the requirements for referring physicians and patients. The requirements of an AASM accreditation include comfortable and hygienic patient environments, trained and knowledgeable technical staff, monitoring of QA (quality assurance) parameters and adherence to the devised QA plan, and a sleep specialist at the facility to review sleep studies conducted, among others.
Who can be accredited?
Besides accrediting sleep centers that diagnose sleep disorders such as apnea, AMS sleep, narcolepsy and insomnia, the academy also accredits suppliers of medical equipment for sleep-related problems (also known as DME suppliers or durable medical equipment suppliers). In addition, the option of out of center diagnostic testing offered by medical professionals to their patients, is also accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
AASM accredits centers for sleep disorders like AMS sleep (abnormal movements in sleep) and laboratories dedicated to sleep-associated breathing disorders. The former is a center that tests and treats all the different kinds of sleep disorders, while the latter is a laboratory focusing on sleep-related breathing disorders like sleep apnea.
How Can Accreditation Set You Apart From the Competition?
An accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is recognized by both physicians and patients, on a national level. It is a reflection of the high quality and excellence of sleep labs. In the fiercely competitive industry, this certification can single your sleep center out from your peers, and bolster confidence in your ability to operate and deliver superior quality sleep medicine services.
Besides the obvious image boost, accredited programs have the opportunity to become the academy’s center members, which brings with it monetary and educational benefits. These include AASM website and directory listings, lower re-accreditation fees, personalized brochures at discounted prices, ‘Sleep’ journal subscription, and e-mail notices on important sleep medicine issues and news, among others. Also, many states require this accreditation for third-party payments/reimbursements. This sleep center accreditation is a mark of superior quality that can help your facility succeed and expand in more ways than one.
What is the process to receive certification?
Facilities seeking AASM accreditation can kick-start the process conveniently by filling in an online application. This application includes a check-list of compliance standards that the facility should meet in order to be accredited. Basically, you will have to conduct a self-assessment with regard to the general compliance, and also submit supporting documents such as procedures and policies of the medical centre, a photocopy of the current license that your medical director holds, QA reports, and samples of sleep disorders assessed and treated by the professional staff at your facility.
You will then have to submit the application to the national office of the AASM after which a sleep specialist certified by the board will review it. An accreditation fee will also need to be paid when submitting the application for certification. If the application demonstrates compliance with the present accreditation standards, the next step will involve a visit to the facility. This site visit notification will be dispatched by the national office to you. If the application does not demonstrate compliance with the set standards, then the national office alerts you about this, following which the necessary corrections or clarifications can be incorporated. Once this is done, you become eligible for a site visit. If not, a rejection of application follows, requiring you to re-apply at a later date.
Site visit and final decision
After the site visit is scheduled, sleep specialists certified by the board (who are also former/current medical directors) examine the facility typically between 8 am and 2 pm. The detailed report prepared by the visitors is assessed by AASM’s board of directors, with either of the following results:
The site visit reports and a photocopy of the final decision are submitted to you.