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UCMH opens new sleep lab

Members of the community, the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce and Mountain States Health Alliance representatives were on hand Monday, June 8, for the ribbon cutting of the new sleep lab at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.
The day marked the first time the sleep lab has been active since before Mountain States acquisition of UCMH in 2013.
“Sleep disorders are widely underdiagnosed and unrecognized,” said Dustin Flanary, director for the UCMH sleep lab. “Just a few statistics alone are alarming. If you have type 2 diabetes, there’s plenty of studies out there to support that you have a 72-percent chance of having sleep apnea. If you have hypertension, treated or not, you have a 43-percent chance of also having sleep apnea.”
Individuals who run the risk of potentially having sleeping disorders can take a quick screening that features eight yes or no questions, Flanary said. Questions include items involving snoring, tiredness all day long, hypertension and is your BMI greater than 35. If more than three are answered with a yes, then chances are moderate of having sleep apnea, Flanary added.
UCMH Administrator Chase Wilson said the day was important in moving forward for the county and the hospital. The lab is also in good hands under the direction of Flanary, according to the admin.
“He’s been the director for about three of four years now,” Wilson said. “He’s registered and does a great job. I’ve actually worked with him for several years when I was an analyst. Dustin does an excellent job, brings a lot of experience and is over multiple sleep labs, so he’ll do an excellent job over here like he does with the others with Mountain States.”
With renovations inside and new equipment, county members will be in for quick turnaround times for readings on sleep results, Wilson said.
“We’ll have the same team and same process rather than going to any other sleep lab,” he added. “They’ll have their sleep studies read with 48 hours at the max.”
Following the ribbon cutting, individuals were treated to tours of the facility and refreshments.
“I think it is great,” Wilson added about the local support. “The community is actively involved, the board members are always involved with everything that we do and I love to see that. To have several show up and be involved with the ribbon cutting was great to see and just shows their commitment to the hospital, seeing the improvements and being with the community as the hospital grows.”
Charles Cole, M.D., was on tap at the ribbon cutting and will be one of the doctors operating from the new lab.
UCMH is now available for community members to schedule appointments at the facility.
“We’re only open during the night,” Flanary said. “That’s when we do our studies. To actually have a sleep study done, you need to see your physician for an order to have a sleep study. We’re only closed on Sundays, currently, and appointment times are at 8 p.m.”
To set an appointment, individuals with an order or physicians can contact the sleep lab at 431-6816.