Sleep Apnea Testing on the LIRR: Keeping You Safe

Ever since the tragic Metro-North accident on the LIRR in 2013, sleep apnea testing has been thrust directly into the spotlight.

After it was discovered that the engineer in the accident likely suffered from sleep apnea, there has been a movement to mandate sleep apnea testing for LIRR engineers.

The MTA announcement on sleep disorder testing

In January of 2015, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) began a pilot program to screen engineers for sleep apnea disorders. Due to the findings of the pilot program, which clearly demonstrated to MTA officials the need to actively recognize the significance of sleep apnea and their employees, the MTA announced they are now accepting bids through a request for proposal from medical institutions to handle sleep disorder screening for all 70,000 MTA employees.

You can read the article here: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/transportation/cuomo-mta-to-begin-testing-lirr-engineers-for-sleep-apnea-1.11708838

Our own OSA team member, Jenn Brown, attended the recently held MTA/RFP conference to evaluate whether our practice should submit and enter the RFP process. At the meeting, attended by many of the major hospital group leaders, we learned much about how this enormous undertaking will be addressed.

Because we are local to Long Island, geographically speaking, we cannot promise or offer an easy, convenient location for all who might need our services.

Governor Cuomo stated, “This program helps us to identify workers who may be at risk for sleep apnea, ensure they receive appropriate treatment, and ultimately create a safer MTA.”

The symptoms of sleep apnea

Oftentimes people think of sleep apnea as just a snoring problem, but in reality, obstructive sleep apnea can become a serious, even life-threatening condition if not treated correctly.

Here are a few symptoms commonly associated with sleep apnea:

  • Being drowsy or sleepy throughout the day
  • Loud snoring that frequently wakes your partner
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day (some patients report “brain fog”)
  • Waking up suddenly and having a hard time catching your breath
  • Experiencing dry mouth, headaches, or a sore throat in the morning

If you are experiencing any of these sleep apnea symptoms or know anyone who is, we encourage you to seek treatment immediately. At our practices in West Babylon and Patchogue, we are able to offer patients an easy, safe, and effective at-home sleep apnea test that is covered by the vast majority of major medical insurance carriers.

For more information on how at-home testing works, we encourage you to read this article.

Sleep apnea testing saves lives

The MTA includes: LIRR, Metronorth, MTA Staten Island railway, MTA bridges and tunnels, MTA capital construction, and MTA regional bus operations. MTA engineers are responsible for thousands of lives every day. It is extremely important for each and every engineer and crew member to be fully awake and functioning at their full capacity.

The MTA’s decision to screen all of their workers for sleep apnea is an important step in the right direction. It will potentially save lives each and every day, while also allowing engineers/crew members who are suffering from sleep apnea to get tested, diagnosed, and treated. This will lead to a better quality of life for those who are unknowingly suffering with this disorder.

If you or anyone you know is exhibiting signs of sleep apnea, we invite you to give our practice a call today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation!

Additionally, you can also take our online sleep apnea test to quickly screen whether or not you are a candidate for further evaluation and/or treatment. Here is the link to take our sleep apnea test: www.sleepbetterny.com/take-our-quiz/