FPs interested in sleep medicine subspecialty should speak out

LETTER — Posted Sept. 27, 2004

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This October, the American Board of Family Practice will be meeting to discuss the development of a certificate of added qualifications in sleep medicine. The ABFP has been kind enough to consider this issue for a second time.

Sleep medicine is a subspecialty that lends itself well to the practicing family physician. The breadth of problems confronted in the sleep clinic, ranging from the psychosocial/psychiatric to the medicine-intensive cardiovascular patients, and the wide range of skills involved in the proper clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of these patients is entirely within the realm of the family practitioner.

In fact, the family physician is uniquely poised to understand and handle the full breadth of problems encountered in the sleep-disordered patient because of the wide scope of our training. Further, sleep medicine is a subspecialty that is almost entirely outpatient-based, an area of medicine where family physicians are trained and expected to excel.

We know that there are many forces at play that have caused the current national downtrends in the appeal of family medicine. These forces may at least partially be addressed by adding additional opportunities to obtain CAQs in other subspecialty areas.

This will serve to diversify our training and practice opportunities and will increase the respectability of our specialty.

If consideration of a CAQ in sleep medicine by the ABFP is important to you, or more appropriately, if you would then consider additional training in order to obtain a CAQ, please make efforts to communicate your position to the American Board of Family Practice.

Daniel Clerc, MD, Seattle

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/09/27/edlt0927.htm.

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