What is a Sleep Center
There is no accepted definition of a sleep center. In general, sleep center is a label applied to a business or a unit of a hospital that at a minimum provides testing for sleep disorders. A full service sleep center will include physicians practicing sleep medicine with patient care, including initial evaluations and long-term care, in addition to testing services. An ideal center will have all aspects of sleep medical services. Quality service can be found at independent practices and testing facilities. Sleep problems can lead to serious chronic health issues and should be reviewed with your physician or a sleep physician. The label, sleep center, can be used by any business.
What to Look for in a Sleep Facility
- Is the facility accredited? Each location will be accredited independently?
- Is the facility accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)?
- Is each of the facilities, organized under the name of a single company, accredited?
- Is the ownership of the facility clear and easy to establish?
- Is the center location and contact information listed on line or in the phone book?
- Is the center easy to locate, identify and contact?
- If you call the phone number, does the person answering work at the facility?
- Can you visit the center during the daytime to see the facility and meet the daytime staff?
- When you visit, is the facility clean?
- Is the facility designed and to be used for sleep evaluations only?
- Does each technician care for no more than two patients each night?
- Is the staff friendly, professional and competent?
Sleep Center Ownership
Knowing who owns a sleep center will give you insight into the center’s primary business motivations. All centers must make a profit to survive, but the basic motive for the creation and operation of a sleep center is very important.
- Physicians—Sleep physicians own sleep centers to provide a service and to control the quality of testing.
- Hospitals and healthcare systems—Hospitals own sleep centers to provide a service and to direct patients to their other facilities and services.
- Corporate, multi-city/state location, non-sleep physician systems and those of unclear ownership—These sleep centers are operated primarily to make a profit.
What to Look for in a Sleep Center’s Physicians
- Does the sleep center’s physician, medical director practice sleep medicine?
- Can you see the center’s medical director as a patient in a medical practice?
- Does the physician(s) interpreting the sleep studies practice medicine?
- Will the interpreting physician be available to see you as a patient?
- Can the center direct you to a physician sleep specialist to be seen before any testing?
- Are patients who undergo testing seen in follow-up by a physician sleep specialist?
- Is the interpreting physician a certified sleep specialist?
- The answer to each of these questions should be YES. If all the answers are yes – you have found an ideal sleep center.