With Dr. Chandra’s Help, Tennessee Enacts Legislation to Train More Sleep Techs(May 2, 2024) — Tennessee recently enacted legislation to increase the number of sleep technologists, a profession that is in critically short supply in this state, and Dr. Anuj Chandra, FAASM, medical director of the Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders, was part of the lobbying effort to make it happen.

Nationally and in Tennessee, healthcare workforce shortages have led to unneeded stress and danger for patients and providers alike. In Tennessee, those shortages have included polysomnographic technologists, the sleep techs who conduct sleep studies.

“Sleep techs have been in critically short supply in Tennessee because the state licensing requirements have been so burdensome, and because we have only three accredited polysomnographic technology programs in the state, which is not enough for a state our size,” said Dr. Chandra.

While the state’s population has been growing, the number of sleep techs has been falling. As of May 1, 2022, there were 70 fewer active, licensed polysomnographic technologists statewide than at the same time in 2014, while the state population has continued to grow.

Dr. Chandra helped the American Association for Sleep Medicine (AASM) advocate for Tennessee House Bill 334, which would add the Accredited Sleep Technologist Education Program (A-STEP) to list of training pathways available in the state. The AASM, along with the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists and American Association of Sleep Technologists, sent a letter to members of the Tennessee General Assembly and created and online campaign for Tennessee sleep medicine providers to reach out to their local legislator.

Dr. Chandra testified before the Tennessee legislature’s Health Committee on the importance of the bill.

“As a sleep physician and medical director of sleep labs in Tennessee, I knew the devastating effects of the licensure requirements in Tennessee,” said Dr. Chandra. “That’s why I felt so strongly that I needed to go to the statehouse and make sure my voice was heard.”

As a result of this advocacy, the bill unanimously passed both chambers of the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Bill Lee on April 22.

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