AAH to CMS: Cover home sleep testing

Thursday, May 31, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. - AAHomecare jumped onboard the in-home sleep testing bandwagon, submitting comments to CMS in April supporting a review of Medicare's CPAP coverage policy.
Currently, Medicare's national coverage determination (NCD) states that only polysomonography performed in facility-based sleep labs may be used to identify patients who require CPAP.
CMS initiated the review in mid-March, after the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery requested that Medicare allow portable multi-channel home sleep testing devices as an alternative to facility-based polysomnography. (See HME News, May 2007).
AAHomecare stated in its comments: "The clinical and economic benefits of logical, practical, and clinically sound sleep testing and treatment will become evident as the Medicare program continues to evolve. The long-term value of such a practical and clinically important benefit cannot be understated."
AAH supports a revision of the current NCD that will:
* Permit the use of portable, multi-channel sleep testing in the home as an alternative to facility-based polysomnography for the evaluation of patients likely to have OSA.
* Revise the criteria for determining the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) to be the average number of episodes of apnea and hypopnea per hour based on a minimum of 2 hours of sleep or less, if the actual number of AHI episodes recorded is 30 or more in less than 2 hours.
* Develop a policy for the use and coverage of positive airway pressure therapy for a select group of severe patients not yet evaluated through formal sleep testing.