BRPT Fires Back as Applications for new RST Certificate Climbs

The BRPT and ABSM have done battle before, and dueling press releases last week opened old wounds. It started with an American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) missive touting the number of RPSGTs applying for new Registered Sleep Technologist (RST) certificates.

Specifically, the ABSM reported that 1,250 Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGTs) have so far applied for equivalency status to obtain certification from the ABSM as a Registered Sleep Technologist (RST). “The encouraging response from RPSGTs affirms the value of the ABSM’s new registry exam and RST credential, which will promote professional excellence and dedication to the highest standards of patient care,” said Nathaniel F. Watson, MD, president of the ABSM, via press release.

According to the ABSM press release, all practicing sleep technologists who have passed the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) examination prior to Dec. 31, 2011, and are RPSGTs in good standing, are eligible to apply to the ABSM for RST equivalency status. ABSM officials say this process gives RPSGTs an opportunity to obtain the new RST certificate without taking the ABSM Sleep Technologist Registry Examination, which will be offered for the first time Nov 11, 2011.

The BRPT responded quickly with its own press release. “We read with interest the recent ABSM news release regarding the number of RPSGT credential holders opting to accept the offer of ABSM RST equivalency, for a fee of $25, without a requirement to sit for the RST exam,” wrote Janice East, RPSGT, R. EEG T, president of BRPT. “The RST exam has not been administered to a single sleep professional, therefore the only way for ABSM to issue the credential now is to allow technologists to pay for the ‘equivalency’ by using their RPSGT credential plus a fee.”

East wrote that she and BRPT officials “strongly disagree with ABSM President Dr. Nathaniel Watson’s statement that the number of RPSGTs who have opted into RST equivalency ‘affirms the value of the ABSM’s new registry exam and the RST credential.’ It is not possible to ‘affirm the value’ of a credential for which no exam has yet been given, reviewed for reliability and validity, and validated by an independent third party.”

East continued: No one needs the RST credential if you have earned the RPSGT credential. The RPSGT credential is positioned in all accreditation and licensing bodies. Those individuals currently described as holders of the RST credential are, in fact, holders of the RPSGT credential: a credential which Dr. Watson and other representatives of the AASM leadership have previously indicated is not an indicator of readiness to perform the primary duties of a polysomnographic technologist. This was offered as the reason ABSM created the RST credential in the first place. That assertion was made even as the RPSGT—a 32 year old, NCCA-accredited credential held by over 17,000 sleep technologists worldwide, is positioned as “equivalent” to the RST exam.  How do the opposing statements for the RST creation and the one granting RPSGTs “equivalency” for $25 make sense?

For more information on the BRPT, visit www.brpt.org

To learn more about the ABSM, go to www.absm.org

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