The clash between the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) may be 4 months old, but it shows no sign of cooling down.
It’s no secret that tension has been growing between the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Testy written exchanges are posted at www.brpt.org for all to see, starting with the December 17, 2010, letter to Janice East, RPSGT, R. EEG T., president of BRPT.
That letter, which “stunned” East and her colleagues, told of the AASM’s decision to develop a certification exam for sleep technologists, to be administered through the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM). In the letter, the AASM cited concerns with the pass rate for the BRPT’s Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) examination, saying that “a majority of otherwise qualified sleep technologists currently employed at sleep centers are unable to obtain the necessary credentials required to stay in the profession.”
East responded in a strongly worded letter to ABSM President Nathaniel F. Watson, MD, on January 10, 2011. According to East, the BRPT had collaborated with the AASM 10 months earlier to launch the Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) examination, which was developed to put a large number of “certified” sleep personnel into the field, and to assist with legislative requirements in states where there was insufficient time for technicians to become RPSGTs. “The CPSGT exam came about in direct response to a request from the AASM,” wrote East. “We invested in excess of $100,000 in the development of a strong certificate-level exam, treating the process with such a sense of urgency that we developed and launched the CPSGT exam within nine months. The CPSGT exam development process included both AASM and AAST input, item review, and exam approval.”
In response to the AASM concern that too few technologists were passing the RPSGT exam, East wrote that the CPSGT exam had yielded a consistent 83% passing rate for 2010. Technicians with limited experience, she wrote, would be put on a tiered progression toward earning the RPSGT credential. The RPSGT pass rate for 2010 was 62%, an improvement over previous years.
At press time, little had changed between the BRPT and the AASM. However, East indicated that the BRPT is now more likely to expand its mission to include education. In the past, the BRPT had administered the exams, with AASM supplying many of the courses to prepare. With those traditional roles no longer in place, that could change.
In the full in-depth interview, which will be available next week, East will give her candid opinions on the controversy, about future plans, frustration with the AASM, and the pride of achievement that many technologists feel when passing the RPSGT exam.