Pilot Sleep Apnea Bill Passes House
On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 3578, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and his colleagues Reps Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), and Sam Graves (R-MO). H.R. 3578 ensures that any new or revised requirement providing for the screening, testing, or treatment of an airman or an air traffic controller for a sleep disorder follows proper rulemaking proceedings.
“Less than 6 months ago, the House passed my bill which requires the Department of Transportation to address the issue of sleep apnea for truck drivers through a rule and not guidance - potentially saving the industry $1 billion. Unfortunately, our nation’s pilots and air traffic controllers are facing a similar, arbitrary guidance issued by the FAA.
“As a doctor, I know firsthand that sleeping disorders are incredibly serious and can be very dangerous. However, I also know that you can’t diagnose any patient by a set of arbitrary guidelines and stereotypes. Like any major disease, it can only be diagnosed through the proper testing and conversation with a doctor.
“Issuing guidance, based on non-medical factors, on this issue for pilots and air traffic controllers will cause doctors to order unnecessary tests, driving up the cost of healthcare and potentially affecting our nations’ airline travelers. I’m happy to join with my colleagues from across the aisle to address this concern for the airline industry.”
In October, Bucshon’s bipartisan bill to require a FMCSA guidance on sleep apnea for truckers go through the proper rulemaking process, potentially saving the industry $1 billion, was signed into law by President Obama.