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Adventures in Sleep

A Glimpse at the Future of Health Care

Published February 5, 2010 9:36 AM by Amy Reavis
I'm working with a patient who wants to be compliant with her CPAP. She is a lovely woman who puts on her CPAP every night and somewhere around the second hour she will remove the mask while asleep.

Her insurance only allows for one company to set up the equipment. Plus, patients can't have auto-adjusting CPAP or bilevel, and they're limited to two mask brands. (There's no full face option.) The DME driver gives her a short orientation on CPAP, and any subsequent equipment is mailed to her.

This patient ended back at the lab because she was mailed three different size masks but still continued to remove her mask. She also complained of leaks and claustrophobia. After some trial and error, we finally found a mask that worked for her.

If this patient hadn't been so committed to treatment, I doubt she would have come back to the lab. I also think if a well-trained tech or therapist had set up the CPAP and had a choice of equipment, that it wouldn't have taken five months to find the correct mask for her.

In an effort to save money, these insurance companies have become shortsighted and patients pay the price. A person who is properly treated and followed up will have less compliance issues and will be in better overall health. Instead, in an effort to save money, people are mailed equipment, receive whatever mask the insurance company has a contract with, and are told to call if they have a problem. Is this really where we want our health care system to go?

1 comments

I have heard this story before and wonder how many people are not being treated for SDB because of similar insurance limitations and PAP orientation. It is unfortunate that not everyone knows who to reach out to for help in these instances.

Melissa Sasser, BS RRT/RPSGT - Branch Manager , Performance Home Medical February 17, 2010 3:34 PM
Olympia WA

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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