Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the “Gold Standard” for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Studies, though, have shown poor compliance with CPAP use. In fact, only 23-45% of patients actually use their CPAP on a regular basis. Most that do use CPAP regularly only use it about 4 hours per night rather than the recommended 7-8 hours. This lack of compliance hasn’t escaped the watchful eye of Medicare. Medicare now requires proof of compliance with CPAP therapy.
Medicare now requires 30 consecutive days of use, in the first 90 days, of at least 4 hours per night. Without proof of compliance with CPAP therapy, Medicare won’t pay for the fourth month and beyond. Other insurance companies are sure to follow Medicare’s lead soon.
I can’t stand CPAP. What should I do?
There are alternatives to CPAP. Surgery is an option but is expensive, very painful and has proven to be less than successful in most cases.
Dental devises are a recommended therapy if CPAP is not tolerated. Dental devises are also expensive and fall short of the efficacy of CPAP.
Sleep apnea is a serious problem associated with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes among other diseases. CPAP should remain your first treatment option but if you simply cannot tolerate CPAP treatment, pretending nothing is wrong is not an acceptable solution. Reducing apneas, snoring and oxygen desaturation is better than doing nothing at all.