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AMEs Object To FAA Apnea Policy

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"Education of the many would have far greater public health impact than regulation of the few," the Civil Aviation Medical Association, which represents FAA aviation medical examiners, said in a recent letter to the FAA, regarding its proposed sleep-apnea policy. The letter (PDF), posted online Tuesday by EAA, objects to the FAA's proposal that AMEs should send pilot applicants to a sleep specialist if they exceed a certain body-mass index. "No scientific body or evidence has demonstrated that undiagnosed obesity or OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) has compromised aviation safety," wrote Dr. Mark Eidson, CAMA president. "The proposed policy would greatly burden a critically taxed medical certification system already suffering from very significant processing delays." The FAA responded on Monday with a memo to AMEs "stating that the new OSA screening had not been implemented and physicians should not include body mass index calculations as part of the airman medical examinations," according to EAA.

The FAA also said a formal notice would be issued prior to the policy's implementation. However, the letter to AMEs does not indicate FAA is reconsidering the policy, and EAA said it doesn't affect opposition to the policy by EAA, its Aeromedical Advisory Council, and CAMA.

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