Several leading sleep-medicine product developers have joined together to focus on common challenges, such as sleep disordered breathing reimbursement, legislative, educational, and clinical issues. The Sleep Manufacturers Alliance, created to be the one-voice advocate among many sleep products manufacturers, held its first formal meeting in San Diego on May 23. The group is designed to positively impact current and future issues that are important to the field of sleep disordered breathing.

Ron Richard, senior vice president of market development at ResMed, San Diego, called the first meeting to order. He and the other attendees then identified four specific initial goals for the Alliance:

•    Identify continuum of care models that could be used with both Medicare and commercial payors to improve the overall awareness of sleep disordered breathing.
•    Provide conference planners at the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Sleep Institute a list of issues that the Alliance believes are important for the ACCP Sleep Institute to address at its September 2006 conference.
•    Submit formal comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding proposed rules for competitive bidding as they relate to sleep disordered breathing. Additionally, the Alliance will encourage solicitation of comments on this subject from the pulmonary medicine societies, including the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and the National Association of Medical Direction for Respiratory Care (NAMDRC). The Alliance will make copies of its comments available by the June 30 comment deadline.
•    Develop educational materials for Alliance customers regarding CMS’ proposed rules for competitive bidding and its impact.

The Sleep Manufacturers Alliance’s member companies include Embla (formerly MedCare), Fisher & Paykel, Invacare, Pro-Tech, Puritan Bennett, ResMed, Respironics, Sunrise Medical, and VIASYS. The Alliance expects to have its own Web site up and running within 30 to 60 days.