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4/5/2012 11:52:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Sleep center has new owner
Niehaus' health clinic to close doors

Jennifer Marshall Best
Herald Staff Writer

BREWSTER - Three Rivers Hospital sold its Sleep Center March 1 to the Central Washington Sleep Diagnostic Center in Wenatchee.

The Diagnostic Center has been run since its inception in 2007 by Dr. Eric Haeger, who has also worked at the hospital for about seven years. The Brewster Sleep Center now falls under the umbrella of the Diagnostic Center, along with another facility in Moses Lake.

"The hospital said they were going to close it, and I think this is a vital need in the community, so I decided to buy it to keep it open," Haeger said.

"We would not say that at all," said Rebecca Meadows, director of marketing and public relations at Three Rivers, when asked if the hospital indeed planned to close the sleep center.

Meadows said the board of commissioners agreed to sell the sleep center, then the hospital negotiated with Haeger.

For now, there are no plans to relocate Brewster's facility.

"At this point, we're staying out," Haeger said.

Haeger is leasing space from the hospital to keep the sleep center in its current home, Meadows said.

The sleep center offers "a full range of services" to diagnose and treat sleep disorders for adults and children, such as sleep apnea and insomnia. Patients fall asleep on a bed in the facility, and the staff run tests to determine why they aren't getting enough rest.

"Basically anything that happens at night, if it bothers people we try to take care of it," Haeger said.

Sleep disorders are a concern in children, Haeger said, because it can affect their performance in school, or they could wind up being treated for a learning disability or attention deficit disorder when they really just need consistent quality sleep.

"We try to cure the disease rather than the symptom," he said. "We're the only one doing pediatric sleep medicine between Seattle and Spokane."

Along with the change in ownership comes one new difference in service - the sleep center can no longer treat DSHS patients, according to a law that mandates they be treated only by sleep centers owned and operated by hospitals. However, Haeger hopes to change that.

Brewster sees about 12 to 18 sleep patients per week, while the Diagnostic Center as a whole receives about 50 patients per week.

"We're working harder to make sure that we're more efficient," he said. "For Brewster, anywhere north of Chelan, we're kind of the hometown sleep center. We're here for the community."

According to the Diagnostic Center's website, www.cwsleepcenter.com, Haeger's team includes four "nationally registered polysomnographic technologists, a registered respiratory therapist, and a registered nurse." Haeger is board-certified in sleep medicine and family medicine.

The Brewster Sleep Center is located in Suite 103 at 415 Hospital Way.

Another doctor who works with Three Rivers Hospital, Dr. Linda Niehaus, is relocating Main Street Health Associates effective May 31. She sent a letter March 29 to her patients to let them know they should find another medical care provider.

"We have truly enjoyed being your health care provider and we send you our best wishes for your future health and happiness!" she wrote.



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