NST Finds Financial Transparency and Solid Training Lead to Better Compliance, Lower Costs

National Sleep Therapy’s Wake-Up Call: Annual Cost of Sleep Deprivation is $60 Billion

Individuals who are fortunate enough to get a good night’s sleep every night simply take it for granted.

But for millions, sleep is interrupted scores of times with a gasp for air. This is sleep apnea and it’s estimated that over 18 million Americans suffer from it. These episodes aren’t enough to wake you, but they do take you out of the all-important deep sleep your body needs. The most common and effective treatment is a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), prescribed by a doctor following a sleep study.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, memory problems, workplace and motor vehicle accidents, and more.

Lack of sleep is expensive. According to Eric Cohen, a co-founder and President of National Sleep Therapy (NST) based in New England, the annual cost to employers in lost productivity, accidents and medical expenses is estimated at $60 billion. The cost of medical care for a person who is treating their sleep apnea has been show by recent industry studies to save over $3,000 per year as compared to someone who does not seek treatment.

Cohen says it’s important for patients to have two key pieces of information before making any healthcare decisions including use of CPAP: (1) understand the condition and treatment; and (2) understand the cost.

“From the outset, people want to know exactly how much treatment will cost to help them make good health care choices. We’re just treating people the way we would like to be treated- with honesty, respect., and the freedom to choose what is right for them” says Cohen. “They should not make decisions based on finances alone. We provide a full explanation of costs and what is covered by insurance -- along with emphasis on the enormous value of the therapy. Patients can weigh their options. Many CPAP providers don’t think about this; they set up patients with a brief training session, and then send them a bill. That’s not right. We give them the costs up front plus a thorough education that can last up to a few hours.”

NST works with physicians and sleep centers to raise compliance using advanced clinical protocols. Compliance rates run as high as 84% versus 45-50% for patients who don’t undergo in-depth training. One study showed 22% higher compliance for patients who track their own sleep data and fully understand how the CPAP machine works and the value of deep sleep. “Our patient satisfaction rate is 98.6,” says Cohen..

NST takes an aggressive, multi-tiered approach to get patients onto CPAP therapy quickly and correctly “so they won’t give up, and will be more alert, productive and safe.”

Among ways that NST helps patients understand costs, meet compliance and feel better:
  • Staff handles insurance paperwork. Easy-to-follow instructions are posted on the website related to insurance and Medicare rules and forms.
  • Upon setup, every patient receives an in-depth training session by a Respiratory Therapist (as much time as they need at no additional cost); unique iPad training better engages patients.
  • Each patient can track their own data with an online account, enabling them to better manage their CPAP therapy.
  • Patient monitoring– Prompt intervention by staff if compliance appears to be slipping; corrective measures are advised.
  • Patients with questions can access free live video support by appointment.
  • Videos and explanations always available on the website www.nstherapy.com
  • NST sponsors a monthly free virtual support group for people with sleep apnea and healthcare pros (www.cpaptalklive.com ), featuring Q & A’s with sleep experts and tips from other sleep apnea sufferers.
The up-front education is working. One middle-age female patient wrote, “CPAP sleep therapy has totally changed my life for the better. I have suffered with uncontrollable daytime sleepiness and fatigue for decades. All that is gone now. I don't worry about driving and falling asleep anymore, and I can go to concerts, plays and movies and stay awake through the whole show and not be embarrassed or miss anything. My memory is amazing now, and my mind exceptionally clear. It's as if I've been dog-paddling through pea soup most of my life and now I'm leaping lightly through thin air. I can't recommend it enough.”

National Sleep Therapy (www.nstherapy.com) has earned a reputation as an industry pioneer. The company sponsors a monthly free virtual support group for people with sleep apnea and healthcare pros (www.cpaptalklive.com ), and offers live video support by appointment for patients with questions. This past year, the company made the ‘Inc. 5000’ list as ‘One of Fastest-Growing Private U.S. Companies.’ For more information, contact 888.867.8840 or support@nstherapy.com.

Sleep Expert Supports Sleep Apnea Community

Participants from 8 States Join in Virtual Support Group

Counting sheep is not the solution to a good night’s sleep for some 18 million Americans afflicted with sleep apnea. The answer is often using a CPAP machine that pumps a gentle flow of air to keep airways open, enabling the deep sleep required for good health and a better quality of life.

About 35 individuals from eight states with sleep-disordered breathing participated in the August edition of ‘CPAP Talk Live!’ -- a free town meeting-style conference call support group. The session is a community service of National Sleep Therapy (www.nstherapy.com).

Participants, who either posed their sleep issue questions live during the session or emailed them in advance, discussed sleep issues, CPAP machine usage and maintenance tips, and insurance coverage. Fielding calls were noted sleep disorders expert Dr. Brooke Judd (in photo), head of Sleep Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, and host Eric Cohen, co-founder and President of National Sleep Therapy.

Use of CPAP (pronounced see-pap, an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. Chronic fatigue and snoring are the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues.

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The free ‘CPAP Talk Live!’ program, held on the first Wednesday of each month from 7 – 8 pm (ET) , is open to individuals who use CPAP for sleep apnea or has sleep issues, health care professionals, and anyone else interested in the topic. To join the conversation on Wednesday, September 3: Just prior to the session, call 1-800.204.6655, enter access code 342-2187#. Questions may be sent in advance either via Facebook or use the cpaptalklive.com form. During each session, NST gives away a $25 gift card to one lucky participant. For more information: 888.867.8840 or support@nstherapy.com.

National Sleep Therapy’s iPad App: Pioneering CPAP Training

It’s the first program of its type for people using a CPAP machine for a better night’s sleep!

Every new National Sleep Therapy CPAP patient now receives a training session designed for use with an iPad, under the guidance of an NST Respiratory Therapist.

Patients learn at their own pace, feel more engaged, and have the benefit of an experienced clinician who guides them through the introduction, set-up, use and maintenance of their CPAP machine. The app Sleep Guide includes a checklist to ensure all key points are covered -- and understood --  plus video tutorials. The end result: Better compliance and a better night’s sleep.

For more information, contact 888.867.8840 or support@nstherapy.com.

BlueCross/BlueShield Members Face New CPAP Usage Rules

If You Have BlueCross/BlueShield these New CPAP Usage Rules May Apply to You

For most BlueCross/BlueShield plans that use AIM Specialty Services to manage their CPAP benefits, we wanted to make you aware of some very important changes that might impact coverage for your CPAP machine and supplies. We know for sure that most BCBS patients in Maine, Mass, NH, and Connecticut are affected. Call BCBS member services on your card to be sure this applies to you.

BCBS requires data 4 times in the first year, and then once per year for supplies.

Starting August 1, 2014, to cover your device rental and ongoing supplies, BCBS no longer accepts your statement that you are using your CPAP device and now requires actual proof of usage. As you can imagine, this puts a new burden on you (and us) so that you can get the therapy and supplies you need. Here's how the process works:

  1. You are renting a CPAP device or need supplies
  2. We check to see if we have your data on file (hopefully you've already sent it to us)
  3. If not, we will call you and ask that you provide it to us
  4. We submit your data to BCBS and they approve the resupply order or rental
  5. If approved, we ship your order (or file a rental claim for you)
If we don't have your data, BCBS will not pay for CPAP or Supplies.

Starting this week, we need to make sure we have your data before we can bill your rental or ship any supplies.

We need your help. You have 3 options for sending us your data.

Option #1 SleepMapper
Sign-up for Sleepmapper.com. If you have Respironics equipment, you can upload your card every month from home. You will need a PC and an SD card reader. These are often built-in to the PC, or separate reader can be purchased for under $10. Click here to sign-up for Sleep Mapper.

Option #2 Online Submission
This is a very easy option. Submit your Machine data for the CPAP display using our online form. This is called VIC data and it's available right on your machine display. You will use the instructions given online, use the buttons on your machine to see the data right on the display. You then enter those numbers into our online form and hit submit. Easy! You can use this form every time you are eligible for supplies to submit your data. Click here to be taken to the instructions and submission form.

Option #3 SD Card Swap
Buy an new SD card and mail us your current card. We will upload the data and send a card back to you. You will need to send us your data card each time you require supplies.

Update your Machine
If you have a CPAP machine older than 5 years, contact us to see if you should upgrade to a newer one. Click here if you're interested to find out more.

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We know this new BCBS policy is inconvenient and we would encourage you to call the BCBS member services number on your card to confirm this applies to you and share your thoughts on this new policy. But for now, we'll do everything we can to help you get the device rental or supplies you need as quickly as possible.

Questions? Please call us at 888.867.8840 and we'll be happy to assist you.

Noted Sleep Disorder Expert to Field Questions During August 6th ‘CPAP Talk – Live!’ Virtual Support Group

(Issued July / August 2014) -- Dr. Brooke Judd, Sleep Medicine Section Chief at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, will be the featured speaker and will field callers’ questions during National Sleep Therapy's unique virtual support group, ‘CPAP Talk – Live!,’ Wednesday, August 6th from 7 – 8 pm (ET). 
The free program, held on the first Wednesday of each month, is open to anyone who uses CPAP for sleep apnea or has sleep issues, health care professionals, and anyone else interested in the topic. The host is Eric Cohen, co-founder and President of National Sleep Therapy which provides the program as a community service.

Dr. Brooke, a noted sleep disorders expert, is affiliated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Psychiatric Associates’ Sleep Disorders Center and serves as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth. Her Board Certifications are in Critical Care Medicine and Pulmonary Disease. She received her MD degree at the University of Health Sciences at Chicago Medical School and completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

For anyone interested in joining the conversation on Wednesday, August 6, from 7 – 8 p.m. (ET): Just prior to the session, call 1-800.204.6655, enter access code 342-2187#. If you prefer, send your questions in advance either via Facebook or use the cpaptalklive.com form. During each session, NST gives away a $25 gift card to one lucky participant. For more information: 888.867.8840 or support@nstherapy.com.