Medicare Approves In Home Sleep Apnea Testing

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Posted on: April 8, 2008

Insurance Companies Expected To Match Medicare Policy

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have approved at-home sleep testing for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Previous policy had mandated that suspected sleep apnea sufferers undergo facility-based polysomnography. The new policy allows continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for Medicare patients who are diagnosed via unattended home monitoring devices. This decision will likely prompt increased coverage from insurance companies around the country.

"SleepQuest is very excited about the change in coverage as it demonstrates that our portable sleep testing program, which we have successfully offered for the past 14 years, is a viable and effective alternative to sleep lab testing," said Robert Koenigsberg, SleepQuest President. "Dr. William Dement, SleepQuest's Chief Scientific Advisor and I applaud CMS's in-depth analysis of this topic, providing greater access and allowing the many sufferers of OSA to benefit from treatment."

While coverage has been approved, providers of in-home sleep testing are still waiting to hear the specific date that the policy will actually go into effect. However, several insurance providers have already begun to align their coverage with Medicare.

"We were quite happy to learn that upon hearing of the approval, Aetna immediately revised their medical policy to mirror Medicare's," said Lori Schulman, SleepQuest's Director of Contracting. "We expect other plans that follow Medicare, such as Triwest, will also adopt this policy. SleepQuest has also been in contact with insurance providers, such as Blue Cross of California, who currently allow home sleep testing but impose coverage restrictions."

SleepQuest will continue to work closely with Medicare and insurance companies to ensure that coverage expands, making treatment more available and affordable to more patients. An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea.

SleepQuest has been a leader in at-home testing and treatment of sleep apnea for more than 14 years. With Medicare's official approval, they anticipate significant growth and expansion. A new San Francisco office is scheduled to open by July.

"We anticipate that as coverage continues expanding, we will be able to focus on getting more patients tested quickly and comfortably in the home environment," said Koenigsberg. "We look forward to helping even more OSA sufferers with our comprehensive approach to wellness and vitality."

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