Construction workers are hustling to renovate the Nevada Appeal's old 200 Bath St. building in time for the June 2 opening of a sleep clinic.
Mountain Medical Pulmonary and Sleep Center has taken over the building the Appeal vacated in March 2002.
Pam Mayhew, office manager for the practice, said the medical group employs 16 and is crammed "cheek to jowl" into their old office at 710 W. Washington St.
"Right now, we have just two sleep rooms," she said. "We'll be expanding to four, increasing our capacity to 20 patients per week."
A longtime Carson City internist, Dr. Rex Baggett, sold the Mountain Medical practice to his partner, Dr. Robert McDonald, in October. McDonald partnered with Dr. Guy Foster and together they purchased the Bath Street building in December, Mayhew said.
The construction project started this spring and the move is slated for May 30.
The medical group will occupy about 7,000 square feet of the building, and part of the remaining space is expected to be sublet to a pharmacy and durable medical equipment company. So far, there are no firm plans for the warehouse area in the back.
Both McDonald and Foster are pulmonary (lung) specialists and Baggett maintains his internal medicine practice with the group.
People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer,doctors say. The condition leads to fitful sleep, fatigue and complications.
The condition can cause of hypertension, heartburn, depression and heart disorders. Interest in sleep apnea has exploded over the past 10 years, McDonald said.
"When physicians have checked everything and can't find a problem, they often refer their patients to us," Mayhew said.
Many overweight people have the symptoms, which include snoring and waking up feeling sleepy or tired, but the condition is very treatable, McDonald said.
Following an overnight evaluation that analyzes the entire respiratory system, the type of sleep apnea is determined. The patient is then fitted with a special device designed to regulate breathing during sleep.
"It's very fascinating, but what I like most is that it can be a solution for so many other problems," Mayhew said. "We don't just treat symptoms."
Mountain Medical has been diagnosing sleep disorders for seven years and is fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.