Saturday, November 17, 2007

More on Auto-CPAP

Currently there are a few major financial barriers to the use of Auto-CPAP:

Medicare and most insurance companies reimburse the DME companies for Auto-CPAP at the same rate as a regular CPAP machine. Auto-CPAP machines are more expensive (for the DME company) than regular CPAP machines. Unless a DME company is able to negiotiate a discount with the manufacturer, DME companies typically lose money on Auto-CPAP machines.

As far as using Auto-CPAP for an "at home titration study" (number 3 on my previous post)- that titration period (typically 3 nights) currently is unreimbursed and I am not aware of any plans for reimbursement for this.
When portable testing is approved, I think that some primary care physicians will try to evaluate and treat osa without the involvement of sleep specialists by ordering portable testing and then treating the patient with an auto-CPAP machine (number 2 on my previous post). The auto-CPAP manufacturers have been known to negotiate discounts with large DME companies so this may be financially possible in certain areas. I think that we will see more auto-CPAP use by primary care doctors over the next several years, along with a temporary increase in profits by the Auto-CPAP manufacturers. However, results will be poorer than the current standard of having a patient undergo an in-lab titration before prescribing cpap. A lot of auto-cpap machines will end up sitting in closets and the auto-cpap trend will end by 2012.

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