JCPS drivers pay steep price for sleep study - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS drivers pay steep price for sleep study

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JCPS buses wait at the compound under clear skies Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, but an uncertain forecast puts officials in a tough spot overnight. JCPS buses wait at the compound under clear skies Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, but an uncertain forecast puts officials in a tough spot overnight.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- JCPS bus drivers are among a large group who will soon spend thousands of dollars of their own money on a sleep study. 

The reason drivers have to spend their own money? Many say their health insurance refuses to pay for the study.

Doctors are looking at the neck size and body mass index of these drivers, criteria will show if the worker needs to be examined for sleep apnea.   

It doesn't take long for Dr. Mohamed Saad to spot the symptoms. 

"They have lack of concentration, poor attention, falling asleep at work, falling asleep driving." 

The sleep medicine specialist with the University of Louisville Physicians says it's becoming common for a local bus driver to walk into his office. 

"If they are diagnosed with sleep apnea, we monitor the compliance with the machine, we monitor their symptoms," Dr. Saad said.  

Newly-enforced federal guidelines are impacting JCPS bus drivers as well as city of Louisville sanitation and road workers. 

The local teamsters union that represents the drivers is not pleased with how this is all unfolding, especially since many drivers health insurance is not picking up the cost of the study.  

"It's catching a lot of people off guard, and a lot of people don't have $3,000 sitting around," said John Stovall, president of the Teamsters Local 783.   

JCPS confirmed to WDRB that 18 of their drivers have been given a three-month window to shell out the cash for the sleep study or their licenses will be revoked. 

Their statement to WDRB said, "Student safety is our number one priority. The district will continue to discuss the issue and determine if there are ways to lessen the impact to our drivers."

Right now, these are just guidelines. They are not federal law, however congress could make it a law by the end of the year.

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