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Recall update: Replacement devices are shipping, but burdens continue

Recall update: Replacement devices are shipping, but burdens continue

YARMOUTH, Maine – With CPAP users affected by the Philips recall now receiving replacements, the focus has shifted from helping customers navigate the process to helping them adjust to new devices. 

“We’re devoting a significant amount of labor to clinical calls to help patients who now have a new machine and need help,” said Lauren Bennett, director of sales and operations for sleep at Aeroflow Healthcare. “A decent amount of the machines are coming with a single filter, so we’re shipping our free filters to hold them over if they are not eligible through insurance.” 

During an earnings update in October, Philips said it was focusing more on replacing affected devices with DreamStation 2s, as it continued to ramp up a system for repairing devices. 

Unsurprisingly, many patients would prefer new devices, says Bennett. 

“They’re not happy with getting a refurbished device,” she said. “On top of that, they have to take the humidifier out of the recalled DreamStation 1 and insert it into the refurbished machine. It’s not a great experience.” 

Although it’s been six months since Philips first announced the recall, many patients still have yet to receive any kind of replacement device, says provider Irene Magee. 

“We’re still waiting,” said Magee, vice president and director of Green Island, N.Y.-based Northeast Home Medical Equipment. “There’s a very slim allocation methodology because our DME company is part of a health care system.” 

Smaller providers with less buying power are at a disadvantage, says provider Tyler Riddle. 

“It’s very frustrating to see my company only able to get X on an allocation basis vs. a larger company,” said Riddle, president of MRS Homecare in Tifton, Ga. 

Provider Jason Jones says he’s been lucky getting replacement devices for his patients, which he credits to his Philips sales rep, who encouraged him to take charge of the recall for his patients, get their devices registered and get the recalled devices returned to Philips. 

“We worked through the process, and we got 500 DS2s,” said Jones, president of Jones Medical Supply in Troy, Ala. “But I’ve still got several hundred (patients) who have not registered their devices. We’ve mailed letters, blasted it on social media and it’s there any time you turn on the TV. It blows my mind when they tell me ‘I had no idea.’”


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