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Asheville NC sleep clinic news article
#1
The local paper (Asheville Citizen-Times) has a guy who does a regular online column where folks write in questions and he tracks down the answers. His first response is always something snarky, which is why I like him.

Anyway, today's question was in regards to the Mission Health sleep center. Mission Health started out as a single hospital but has now taken over nearly every specialized care facility and doc office in this county as well as several surrounding ones. This is the clinic I went to years ago. The wait time back then wasn't in getting the appt, it was in getting the results back. The lead doc at that point "didn't believe in" APAPs and, from my experience, "didn't believe in" much of anything. But I digress.

Here's the article:

Quote:Question: As you know, Mission Hospital has pretty much taken over all the medical services here in Asheville. Recently, my doctor made a test and discovered that I have a condition called sleep apnea. The next diagnosis step is a "sleep study." My doctor referred me to the Mission facility for that study. Mission called to say that they can do a "consultation" for the study in exactly three months.  After that, they would schedule the actual sleep study for two-three months later! That slow service is ridiculous and unacceptable. I checked around and that type of wait is typical with Mission. Why doesn't Mission increase their capacity to meet the demand?

My answer: It will be a cruel irony if you sleep through the appointment and have to reschedule.

Real answer: Angie Fletcher, vice president of clinical programs at Mission, noted first that the Mission Sleep Center is "an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Accredited Center" and follows the "latest evidence-based clinical guidelines..."

The Sleep Center, using best practice guidelines, as well as the clinical judgment of its physicians, determines which patients need to see a specialized clinician prior to a study, or who can go directly to a sleep study without a consultation. They also need to determine which specific sleep study is right for that patient.

But this typically does not take months.

"Once a patient is evaluated, we generally are able to schedule a sleep study for that patient within three-four days, so the combined wait described above is unusual and surprising," Fletcher said. "That said, at times waiting periods may exceed our normal standards, and we apologize if that was the case in this circumstance."

On a personal note, I've got sleep apnea myself, and I've been through a doctor's appointment and a sleep study at this center. My experience wasn't quite as fast as what Fletcher describes, but it was not an excessive wait time, either.

The whole experience took a few weeks, with the longest delay coming from the company providing the C-pap machine.

Now, to be clear, Fletcher is not discounting the patient's experience, and Mission is well aware that sleep apnea is on the rise.

"We are aware — as are sleep centers across the nation — that we need to recruit additional clinicians to meet the growing demand for this important service," Fletcher said.

The center recently hired a neurologist with board certification in sleep, and they'll have a new pulmonologist coming on board in November.

"Nationally, the demand for board certified sleep specialists far exceeds the supply, but we have been very successful in our efforts at Mission, and we are committed to meeting the needs of any patient in the region," Fletcher said.

In 2014, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a press release on the increase of sleep apnea:

"Public health and safety are threatened by the  increasing prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, which now afflicts at least 25 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Several new studies highlight the destructive nature of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression."

(source: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/...568089001/)

There are now at least one other sleep clinic in the county and, should I ever need one again, I will go there instead. My GP and I will discuss it but because I use a data capable APAP, I am able to maintain my own health. This is more than the sleep doc was doing. But I digress again.
PaulaO2
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