Thursday, April 10, 2014

First international Quality Care Center approved

Rochester, Minn. – April 10, 2014 – The Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED) Foundation has certified a specialty clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, as the first international Quality Care Center for people who have Willis-Ekbom disease (also known as restless legs syndrome, or WED/RLS). The Innsbruck Medical University, Department of Neurology, Sleep Lab and Sleep Disorders Outpatient Clinic has joined the Foundation’s WED/RLS Quality Care Center program, which aims to improve quality of care for people living with the disease.

Willis-Ekbom disease is a chronic neurological disorder affecting millions of people, with often devastating impact on quality of life; an estimated 2 to 3 percent of adults need clinical treatment for WED/RLS.

Birgit Hӧgl, MD, is director of the Sleep Lab and Sleep Disorders Outpatient Clinic in Innsbruck. As a WED/RLS Quality Care Center, the Innsbruck clinic will “improve education and promote sharing of best practices, thereby improving health care for the patient community. This program seeks to improve the quality and accessibility of care for individuals with WED/RLS in the European community,” says Dr. Hӧgl.

“We are honored to be recognized as a WED/RLS Quality Care Center by the Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation,” says Dr. Werner Poewe, Director of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University.

The WED Foundation is establishing a network of certified WED/RLS Quality Care Centers to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease worldwide. Provider certification requires a high level of expertise and experience treating WED/RLS patients. The program benefits patients and families through:

· Recognition of clinics as leaders in the field and as specialty centers for patients who are traveling or in search of knowledgeable healthcare providers

· Availability of clinic staff as information resources for referring primary care providers

· Patient educational offerings, print materials and connections with WED Foundation local support groups

Other clinics certified as WED/RLS Quality Care Centers include the Johns Hopkins Center for Restless Legs Syndrome in Baltimore, Md.; the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minn.; and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

The need for higher quality of care is urgent, says WED Foundation Executive Director Karla Dzienkowski. “People who have WED/RLS experience persistent barriers to effective diagnosis and treatment. Every day, the Foundation hears from patients who need help finding a knowledgeable provider to help manage their disease. Effective treatment is essential to managing their symptoms and maintaining a high quality of life, and our goal is to help providers meet this expectation.”

To learn more about the WED/RLS Quality Care Center Program, visit

About the WED Foundation
The WED Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of men, women and children who live with Willis-Ekbom disease (restless legs syndrome, or WED/RLS). Founded in 1989 in Rochester, Minn., the Foundation’s goals are to increase awareness, improve treatments, and through research, find a cure. The Foundation serves health care providers, researchers, over 5,000 members, and an estimated seven million individuals in the United States and Canada who have the disease. The WED Foundation Research Grant Program has awarded $1.4 million to fund medical research on WED/RLS causes and treatments. For more information, visit

Quality Care Center Infomation
Innsbruck Medical University, Department of Neurology, Sleep Lab and Sleep Disorders Outpatient Clinic
Anichstr. 35
6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Appointment Scheduling Information:
Contact: Maria Kuscher, Cesarie Ndayisaba, Manuela Oberlechner
Email: number: + 43 512 504-23890

Certified Healthcare Provider(s):
Birgit Högl, MD, Associated Professor of Neurology, Senior Board Certified Sleep Specialist
Birgit Frauscher, MD, Associated Professor of Neurology, Senior Board Certified Sleep Specialist (currently on leave on leave until Oct 2015)
Elisabeth Brandauer, MD
Thomas Mitterling, MD