CPAP: Out of the closet

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

With so many people uninsured or with high-deductible plans, it’s not uncommon for CPAP providers to lend a hand to patients in need.

“There are people that truly can’t afford CPAP,” said Robyn Parrott, president of Sleep Solutions in Troy, Mich. “If we can help them get through this crisis in their life, we do it.”

Provider Lisa Feierstein has run a successful donation program—she’s even branded it as “Back to Life”—for years. She promotes it actively to her referral sources and puts notices up in churches and synagogues seeking equipment donations.

“We want to let our referral sources know that we give back to the community,” Feierstein, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.-based Active Healthcare.

Parrott prefers a more low-key approach. She has a closet of donated equipment to dip into as needed.

“We are not actively promoting it, but our top referrals know we have that,” she said.

Providing the donations only through referrals cuts down on people simply trying to get something for nothing, Parrott said.

“We don’t always believe them,” she said. “When the patient calls, we do offer a cash price and if they say, ‘We really, really can’t afford it,’ there are other options.” 

That includes indigent programs offered through manufacturers, she said. Sleep Solutions will fill out the paperwork and receive the donated equipment on behalf of the patient.

“We do try to get them to buy their supplies and we ask them to come pick it up, rather than us going there,” she said. “They do meet with a clinician. Everything’s the same, but they don’t have to pay out of pocket.”

These days, Feierstein also partners with a couple of local outreach organizations who vet and refer the patients. It was a necessity, she says.

“Our name was getting around the community and we were getting calls from anyone and everyone,” she said. “These organizations do the financial piece so we don’t have to say who is needy, or is it just that they don’t want to pay the deductible.”