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Metro-North selects vendor to screen engineers for sleep disorders after fatal accident

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – More than a year after a fatal accident on the commuter railroad, MTA Metro-North Railroad announced the vendor it will use in a pilot program to combat sleep apnea in locomotive engineers.

Persante Health Care Inc. of Mount Laurel, New Jersey was selected to provide medical testing and evaluation services for all locomotive engineers during a 7-month period.  The Dec. 1, 2013, accident killed four passengers and hurt dozens when an engineer blacked out as the train made a delicate turn in Spuyten Duyvil at high speed.

Railroad President Joseph Giulietti hopes the program will increase safety for customers, as well as improve the overall health of Metro-North employees.

As part of the program, all 410 Metro-North engineers and about 20 engineers-in-training will be screened for sleep disorders. Initial screening will be conducted by the railroad’s Occupational Health Services Department. Locomotive engineers recommended for additional screening will be referred to Persante Health Care.

The company will provide training and test equipment for engineers to perform an at-home, overnight sleep test. In the morning, they will use a prepaid mailer and send the test device back to Persante Health Care.

Test data will be analyzed and, if needed, employees will be referred to a sleep specialist for additional testing or treatment.

The contract is valued at a maximum of $200,000 and will be voted on by the full MTA board Wednesday.