After the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) unveiled the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) plans to offer a new sleep credential, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released further information about the certification exam, including a date for the inaugural exam and a grandfathering guarantee.

According to the AASM announcement last week, the inaugural exam is slated for November of this year and current RPSGT credential holders will be grandfathered into the new credential if they choose that option.

The ABSM is currently determining details for the examination and more information will be announced this spring.

The details follow BRPT’s communication with members where the Board called into question the AASM’s intentions, primarily as they relate to producing an exam that is easier to pass. The BRPT also relayed information in a letter from ABSM President Nathaniel F. Watson, MD, to Janice East, RPSGT, REEGT, BRPT president. East outlined some of the content of the ABSM letter in her communication with RPSGT credential holders: “The letter went on to make two disturbing claims that reflect poorly on RPSGTs, noting that ‘sleep physicians who are medical directors of sleep centers have expressed concern that certification by the BRPT does not ensure professional readiness’ and that ‘the BRPT examination does not test the basic knowledge necessary to perform sleep studies.’ We have asked specifically for data to support these assertions.”

The AASM sought to clarify its position, stating, “The primary goal of the American Board of Sleep Medicine is to offer a certification examination for sleep technologists based on a blueprint reflective of the day-to-day professional responsibilities of sleep technologists in the sleep center setting and instruction received from available didactic programs. We believe this methodology fairly and responsibly evaluates professional competence.”

The AASM also said that the exam is in part being developed as a response to the trend of legal and regulatory requirements that must be met by sleep technologists. “A requirement of the enacted legislation and regulations is certification of sleep technologists, often by firm deadlines. A third examination pathway enables sleep technologists greater options when taking the certification examination for their profession, which is increasingly required by law.”

In its communication to members, the AASM also released second response letter that was sent to the BRPT, which explains the goals of the credential.

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