The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Health Groups Partner to Fight Driver Fatigue

November 10, 2010

BOSTON, MA - Sleep HealthCenters has entered into an agreement with Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab to provide sleep medicine services as part of Roadside Medical's Driver Wellness programs.

Designed to enhance roadway safety by improving the health of commercial drivers, Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab provides professional medical services including U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant physicals, drug testing, Driver Wellness programs, and now sleep services at convenient locations for professional drivers -- both on the highway and in company terminals.

Sleep HealthCenters will support Roadside's sleep wellness efforts by providing education, professional diagnosis and treatment support, all incorporated into Roadside's overall Driver Wellness program.

"You cannot effectively screen, test and treat sleep apnea without addressing and improving drivers' overall health condition, such as weight, BMI, stress and cardiac strength," said Rob Scheschareg, chief operating officer of Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab. "By providing continuous care for drivers for sleep, fitness, health and DOT compliance from the terminal to the highways, Roadside Medical is able to move the needle towards better driver health. And once the needle starts moving, our clients see an improvement in recruitment, safety and healthcare spending ROI."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has publicly announced a focus on preventing fatigue in commercial drivers, specifically addressing the potential impact of sleep apnea. Regulations surrounding these issues are possible. More and more transportation companies are taking steps to ensure their drivers receive the care they need, at locations that make sense for a driver's lifestyle.

"From our own estimates, almost three out of 10 truck drivers currently suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea. And we know from our research that drivers with severe sleep apnea are known to be at a much, much greater risk of being involved in a severe crash," said Anne S. Ferro, FMCSA administrator, at the Sleep Apnea and Trucking Conference held in Baltimore this past May.

"Healthy sleep is vital to employee wellness and safety, but for trucking companies, it can be difficult to implement a program for employees who live in different places, are constantly moving around the country, have different primary care physicians and maybe even different health insurance coverage," said Dr. Lawrence Epstein, chief medical officer at Sleep HealthCenters, based in Brighton, Mass.

"Sleep HealthCenters' organization of SleepPartners, a network of highly qualified sleep providers, is available to care for Roadside drivers around the country while supporting Roadside's sleep wellness program by expediting sleep apnea diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care," Sleep HealthCenters CEO Paul Valentine said. "In addition, our proprietary Web-based system called PAPCenter allows us to monitor each driver's sleep apnea device utilization even though they may see different therapists while they are on the road in different states."

Sleep HealthCenters has a system of comprehensive sleep medicine centers and clinics. The company currently runs 26 facilities in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and is affiliated with academic medical institutions such as Brigham and Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston.

Roadside Medical LLC, based in Sarasota, Fla., manages a nationwide network of health clinics located at Pilot Travel Centers. Roadside Medical provides DOT certification exams and drug testing, sleep services, medical care, driver wellness programs, and in-terminal facilities for commercial drivers and trucking companies.

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