Sleep education: Better together or alone?

Friday, February 5, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine – When it comes to offering CPAP setups in small group settings vs. one-on-one meetings, provider opinions are mixed.

Sleep Solutions has hosted about half a dozen group classes in recent weeks, says provider Robyn Parrott. So far, her respiratory therapists say the classes are more productive than individual setups, but her customer service reps aren’t so sure.

“Customer service feels the patients aren’t going to like it, but the patients don’t know any better,” said Parrott, president of the Detroit-based company. “The patients actually love it because they can talk to each other.”

ResMed in December hosted a webinar on group classes for CPAP setups that attracted more than 300 participants.

Provider Lisa Feierstein isn’t sold on the idea of group classes, but it’s “back on the list” of ideas for cutting costs.

“We have tried it in the past and it hasn’t necessarily been a time saver,” said Feierstein, co-founder and president of Raleigh, N.C.-based Active Healthcare.

Feierstein also found collecting money from a group of patients who all had varying insurances and co-pays to be difficult.

“That’s where it gets tricky—if you have four to six people and everyone owes something different,” she said.

Active Healthcare, which works with Urban Ministries to provide free CPAP machines to indigent patients, does do quarterly group classes for those patients, Feierstein said.

One provider who isn’t on the fence when it comes to offering group setups is Mike Marnhout.

“We’ve thought about it, but we won’t do it,” said Marnhout, owner/president of Lexington, Ky.-based Bluegrass Medical. “I think it takes away the personal touch, and it’s important you are educating the patients on compliance.”