Four common acronyms that appear in sleep discussions are: AASM, ABSM, AAST and BRPT. What does each of these organizations do?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is the professional organization representing physicians in the field of sleep medicine. Additional information about AASM is available at www.aasmnet.org.
The American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) is the testing arm of the AASM. While the organizations are separately incorporated, at the present time the Boards of Directors of the two groups are identical. For many years the ABSM delivered the Board examination for physicians in sleep medicine. That exam is now administered through the American Board of Internal Medicine.
The American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) is the professional membership organization for sleep technologists. The organization is charged with representing the professional interests of sleep technologists. AAST is managed by AASM and the AAST offices are housed in the AASM building in Darien, IL. Additional information about AAST is available at www.aastweb.org.
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) is the independent credentialing body for the field of sleep technology. BRPT develops and delivers the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) exam and the Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) exam. The RPSGT exam is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). BRPT is professionally managed through Association Management Group and is headquartered in McLean, VA. Additional information about BRPT is available at www.brpt.org.
What is the relationship among the organizations?
The relationship among the four organizations has not always been collegial or collaborative. While the organizations share a broad commitment to strengthening the field of sleep medicine, the interests of sleep physicians and the interests of sleep technologists may not always be identical. In 2004 a proposal from AASM to bring the BRPT into an umbrella organization to include ABSM, AAST, the Sleep Research Society and BRPT – under the management of the AASM – was rejected by the BRPT. The CPSGT exam was developed by the BRPT in close collaboration with both the AASM and the AAST, and in response to a direct request from the AASM.
The RPSGT exam is "NCCA Accredited." What does that mean?
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is the accrediting arm of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Accreditation through NCCA is awarded to credentialing examinations, and has been awarded to the RPSGT exam. NCCA accreditation represents independent, third-party validation of all processes involved in the development and delivery of the RPSGT exam, from the exam development and item writing functions through recertification. The NCCA accreditation process is rigorous and demanding, and carries a strict annual reporting requirement. In the professional credentialing industry NCCA accreditation represents compliance with best industry standards and places the RPSGT exam in equal standing with many of the leading credentialing programs in the United States, including programs in allied health such as those administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Is the new RST examination process or credential "accredited" or "recognized" by any official agency other than its creators?
No, not yet. No agency recognizes this exam or the RST credential except the AASM. Efforts are under way by the AASM to have state licensure laws recognize the RST credential as an equal to the RPSGT credential.