Reporter's notebook: CPAP providers embrace group supports

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A new group dedicated to sleep disorders could pack a lot of value for patients, say CPAP providers.

“There’s value in any support group,” said Todd Usher, co-founder of Home Oxygen Company in Modesto, Calif. “They can get ideas, how did you manage this, who is providing the services and equipment that you have? They get to feed off of other folks and how they are managing.”

In January, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine announced it had launched the American Alliance for Healthy Sleep, a membership organization that seeks to connect anyone with an interest in sleep health to share ideas and get tips and support for living with a sleep disorder from across the spectrum.

Having the nationally recognized AASM spearheading the alliance, rather than say, a CPAP provider or manufacturer, will give potential members that the information is unbiased, say providers.

“I think when people see it’s AASM vs. us doing it, they might feel like OK, it’s not affiliated with any one company,” said Robyn Parrott, president of Troy, Mich.-based Sleep Solutions, who said she will probably join the alliance, which is actively seeking input and encouraging conversation from all stakeholders in the sleep community. “It’s in its infancy, but let’s see what’s out there and lets see if we can help anybody.”

The alliance also seeks to build awareness and advocate for better policies related to sleep disorders. For CPAP patients, worsening payment policies have weakened the ability of providers to service patients, says Usher.

“We see a lot of patients transitioning over to us because they can’t get the equipment they need or want,” he said. “That’s the direct result of polices over the last five years. They are having trouble getting it when they need it or scheduling the initial start up is two or three months out—that’s a barrier for a lot of folks.”