The two most recognized accreditation agencies for sleep disorder centers are the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Joint Commission. Although their certification costs are similar, the standards for accreditation are quite different. They both require comprehensive policy and procedures, but have key differences that include:
AASM Standards: The AASM recognizes only one accreditation category: being a comprehensive sleep disorder center that can diagnose and treat all aspects of sleep medicine. It is more clinically oriented and focuses primarily on the medical director and staff physicians, technical staff, diagnostic equipment, protocols, documentation and quality assurance. The AASM also offers provisional accreditation to new startup laboratories allowing them six months to build a history of quality patient care in order to meet all standards required for full accreditation.
Joint Commission Standards: The Joint Commission designates all sleep centers as Ambulatory Care Centers regardless if they are hospital-based sleep laboratories, physician practiced based, or independent diagnostic testing facilities. The accreditation process is more facility oriented and focuses primarily on patient safety, infection control, emergency procedures, medication management, human resources, and leadership. The Joint Commission does not offer any type of provisional accreditation options.
Our Lab Accreditation Assistance Program (LAAP) allows you to choose the accreditation option that is best for your facility and the timeframe you require for completion. This decision depends on a number of factors that are specific to your particular level of operation, i.e., startup or established.
Our LAAP service is offered as a 10-step process as outlined below. Hourly rates are also available for individuals wishing to complete portions of this process themselves.
An important first step to gain information on lab status, required timelines, and the most appropriate accreditation process. (one to two hours)
(Optional and at additional cost including travel and daily expenses)
This step is a detailed evaluation of your sleep facility to establish how it compares to the standards of the selected accrediting agency. A report will be generated providing the recommendations to proceed with accreditation. This step is not required for startup labs that have not advanced beyond the concept phase. (six to eight hours)
A Policy and Procedure manual will be generated based on the SLEEP960 blueprint version that has been 100% successful certifying sleep centers since 1985. (eight to 16 hours)
This is a very important part of the accreditation process since incomplete or inaccurate applications are the most common reasons for delays. This step will move efficiently if all the requested information arrives in a timely fashion and the SLEEP960 team completes the application. (eight to 40 hours)
Although we are quite experienced with this process, every application is different as are the reviewers. The reviewers typically require additional information or clarification of policies and procedures. We treat every application with high priority, minimizing any delay of the scheduled site visit. (four to 12 hours)
Once the application has been accepted, the site visit will be scheduled. We will inform the sleep lab staff what to expect and how to prepare for the visit. (10 to 20 hours)
This is the most critical phase of the process since the accrediting agency site visitor is the one who recommends to the accrediting agency whether the sleep lab should be certified. An optional mock site visit inspection prior to the visit can be performed by SLEEP960 to ensure the facility is in compliance and provide specific recommendations for physicians, technologists, and clerical staff. (eight to 16 hours)
Depending on the accrediting organization, an exit interview may be conducted by the site visitor(s). During the exit interview, the site visitors will briefly discuss their impressions and identify areas that could be improved or in some cases provisos (required changes or additions) to the facility, policies, procedures, or operations. In other cases, the results of the site visit will come in report form. In either case, SLEEP960 will assist your organization with the recommended changes or provisos (to the best of our ability). (four to 10 hours)
After accreditation has been granted, we will discuss with the sleep lab how the standards must be followed, preparation for possible unannounced site visits, and the regulations regarding the use of accreditation logos for marketing purposes. (one to two hours)
We offer a number of suggestions and tips on how to market and sell your new sleep lab certification in the local medical community. We have decades of experience marketing accredited sleep centers, so these tips are based on a number of trial and error experiences. (one to two hours)