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Two members of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy are calling on their fellow dental sleep specialists to ask their own Senators to support a bill that would bring regulatory certainty to the diagnosis and treatment of deadly obstructive sleep apnea among transportation workers. OSA has been a factor in several recent rail and bus and truck accidents.
However, the bill is stalled in a committee and needs help from constituents to move it forward before Congress adjourns in December. That’s why Drs. Elliott Alpher and Neal Seltzer are calling on their fellow ASBA members to take action by contacting their own Senators to ask that the bill passed out of committee. To streamline the process, please use the toolkit, which contains a sample phone script and letter to your senator. Here is a toolkit to make the outreach by phone or letter easier. All members need to do is call the Capitol Switchboard and ask for their Senator’s office.
The toolkit consists of a phone script and a letter, which can be easily personalized. Members are asked to call during November to move the bill to action before the end of the year. It would be especially helpful to call Committee Members that have jurisdiction over the measure.
On October 26, 2017, Drs. Elliott Alpher and Neal Seltzer met with representatives of Senator Cory Booker (D- NJ), Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D- MI).
ASBA member Richard Klein worked behind the scenes to arrange the meeting with Stabenow who is a member of the influential budget and finance committees.
“We need to reach each member of the Senate,” Dr. Neal Seltzer said.” We have met with four so far. With the help of the membership, we can contact all the senators.”
During their Senate meetings, Drs. Alpher and Seltzer explained the need to have a dental sleep expert appointed to the Medical Review Board. This body sets health guidelines, including the diagnosis and treatment of OSA for transportation workers. Currently there are no sleep medical experts among the five members.
The staffers were especially interested in a letter Dr. Alpher received from the FMCSA in response to his letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. FMCSA Associate Administrator for Policy, Larry Minor, responded that the agency had decided the current methods of diagnosing and treating OSA among transportation workers are “adequate.”
Drs. Alpher and Seltzer also volunteered to provide medical and scientific expertise to the Senators as the legislation works its way through the process.
“In all three offices, we were well received,” said Dr. Alpher. “They were genuinely interested in willing to follow-through on our offers to help them gain some certainty for transportation workers.”