Meet Lisa Feierstein, 'CPAP fairy godmother'

Monday, May 24, 2010

For provider Lisa Feierstein, success means giving back to her community--a notion she takes to heart.

"There is a Jewish saying--tikkun olam--which means repair the world," said Feierstein, founder of Raleigh, N.C.-based Active Healthcare. "I've been very fortunate that I've grown a business that allows us to do that."

Thanks to a "Gives Back" grant from the National Sleep Foundation, which awarded her 60 refurbished CPAP machines, Feierstein will get to expand a program that provides used CPAPS to the poor.

"We had been approached by the director of a very large clinic--Urban Ministries Open Door--that deals with the indigent population," she said. "We started collecting donated CPAPs from our patients and our team members put articles in local church and synagogue newsletters."

Active Healthcare donates its time to refurbish the machines, along with one-hour appointments to set up and educate patients on the equipment. If the patient has problems, they can call for a follow up.

"What we are hearing from the clinics is that it's fabulous," she said. "It has helped their patients control so many other medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure."

The program has been so popular that Active Healthcare now refurbishes machines collected by other clinics for their patients. Feierstein has gotten masks donated by Resmed, Respironics and Fisher & Paykel.

In 2009, Active Healthcare gave away 30 CPAP machines. With the cost of the provider's time, Feierstein estimates the value at about $45,000.

"I never expected it to grow the way it grew and to be such a positive influence," said Feierstein. "The minister of Urban Ministries calls me the 'CPAP Fairy Godmother.'"