American Academy of Sleep Medicine Accreditation for UBMD Pediatrics’ Sleep Medicine Center – UBMD Physician’s Group
Photo of Amanda Hassinger, MD, MS and Alberto Monegro, MD with the first UBMD Pediatrics sleep lab patient.
The UBMD Pediatrics Sleep Medicine Center has received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), making it the only pediatric sleep center in Western New York with this accreditation.
According to the AASM, the accreditation means the center has achieved “the gold standard by which the medical community and the public evaluate sleep medicine facilities. Achieving the AASM accreditation demonstrates that a supplier of sleep medicines is committed to providing quality, patient-centered care through adhere to these standards.”
Amanda Hassinger, MD, MS and Alberto Monegro, MD led the development of the division and its center. Hassinger came to the center full-time after being inspired during her time as part of the UBMD Pediatrics intensive care team.
“While working in the pediatric intensive care unit, I saw the effects of poor sleep and other sleep disorders on the patients and their families,” Hassinger said. “I knew that sleep interventions could be helpful in preventing these situations and other complications, which would have a positive effect on their overall health.”
Hassinger, a board-certified pediatrician and critical care physician, began a fellowship in sleep medicine with the goal of bringing this new specialized service to the area for the children of western New York. After earning her third board certification, Hassinger helped launch the center’s sleep lab on July 9, 2020.
“For UBMD Pediatrics, the launch and accreditation of this sleep center was a long-awaited dream come true that will help improve care for children in WNY,” said Geovanny Perez, MD, division chief of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at UBMD Pediatrics and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. “Our center takes a holistic approach to sleep issues and works with several subspecialties to provide the best treatment approach.”
Perez continued: “Sleep is an essential building block for children’s mental and physical health. Insufficient sleep can lead to irritability, lack of focus, learning and behavioral problems. Prolonged sleep problems may indicate an underlying physical or emotional problem that should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Hassinger, a mother of three, knows personally the toll that sleep interruptions can take not just for the kids, but for the whole family.
“If a child doesn’t sleep well, or barely sleeps, the whole family’s sleep is disrupted,” Hassinger said. “It can have terrible consequences for the whole family and lead to other health problems. Our family-centric focus ensures the development of a care plan that best meets medical needs while maximizing well-being and quality of life. An important aspect of better sleep is education and support, both of which are important parts of the services we provide.”
With the opening of the center and lab, the team turned its sights not only on patient care, but also on becoming nationally accredited and expanding its sleep lab and service lines. These have now all been realized.
Just this summer, the sleep medicine lab grew from two beds to four beds, allowing the team to double the number of sleep studies performed and meet growing demand in the area.
“This makes an incredible difference in what we can do for families,” says Steven Lipshultz, MD, president of UBMD Pediatrics and A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of the department at the Jacobs School. “We can see our patients earlier, develop a treatment plan and help our patients and their families experience a better quality of life.”
The center’s team cares for patients from birth through young adulthood, treating a wide variety of sleep disorders, and managing the effects that other complex conditions can have on a patient’s sleep, such as achondroplasia, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy and scoliosis.
“A key benefit of our program is that we have two sleep medications with a background in intensive care, which allows us to conduct complex studies, including for children with mechanical ventilation at home or with complex respiratory diseases,” Perez said.
Seeing a sleep medicine specialist from UBMD Pediatrics begins with an appointment at one of two outpatient locations: the Conventus medical office building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus downtown or University Commons Square in Amherst.
After an assessment and discussion with a sleep medicine pediatrician, a treatment plan will be developed or some tests may be recommended, including a sleep study, before the plan is created.
“When people hear ‘sleep study,’ they may be concerned about what it entails, but we try to make the experience as easy and comfortable as possible for both the patients and the family members,” Monegro said.
The UBMD Pediatrics’ sleep medicine lab, which is run in partnership with WNY’s Sleep & Wellness Centers, includes an overnight stay in the lab attended by a certified sleep technologist using state-of-the-art software, with a monitoring and integrated video system. Sensors are placed in different parts of the body to monitor neurological activity, exercise, respiration, and both oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
Monegro continues: “Not all of our patients would need a sleep lab test. In our first patient meeting, we spend a lot of time assessing underlying sleep problems and working with the family to develop a personalized diagnostic and treatment plan that’s right for them. do not automatically send everyone for a sleep study.”
In addition to Hassinger and Monegro, the care team consists of sleep technologists, respiratory therapists, nurses and other clinical staff. Monegro, a specialist in intensive care and sleep medicine at UBMD Pediatrics, also offers care with UBMD Internal Medicine. Both Hassinger and Monegro are faculty members of the Jacobs School.
For more information, including a list of common sleep disorders being treated, visit ubmdpediatrics.com or contact the UBMD Pediatrics Sleep Medicine Center at 716.323.0370.