July 18, 2008

Schmitz on state board to license sleep techs

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Paul Schmitz

Schmitz on state board to license sleep techs

Gov. Bredesen has chosen Paul Schmitz, director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center and interim administrative director of Neuroscience, for a committee that will oversee the licensing of sleep technologists.

“Sleep tests are becoming more and more common in Tennessee, and licensing is necessary for it to be done safely and correctly,” said Schmitz.

Last year, Tennessee created licensing requirements for polysomnography technologists. Polysomnography is a diagnostic tool used to identify sleep disorders. It measures brain function, eye movement, skeletal muscle activity and heart rhythm during sleep.

Typically, a patient undergoes polysomnography at night. For this reason, the Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center is located at the Marriott Hotel in Nashville, where 10 rooms are outfitted with advanced video monitoring systems and equipment for measuring brainwave activity.

As of July 1, 2010, the Board of Medical Examiners for the state of Tennessee must license all polysomnography technologists before they can practice. In the past, there was no formal system in place for certifying sleep technologists, but now they must graduate from an accredited program and pass a national certifying examination.

Schmitz was chosen to the committee as an administrative expert in sleep technology. In addition to Schmitz, the committee will be comprised of three sleep technologists, a physician, a respiratory therapist and a non-affiliated consumer. The committee will report to the Board of Medical Examiners. Schmitz will act on the committee until December 2009.