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October 22, 2013

Why is a well-fitted mask so important?

It’s no secret that in the slowly churning seas of what we call Health Care in America, things are changing. Let’s talk about PAP therapy, this includes CPAP, BIPAP, AutoPAP and any mechanical apparatus that requires you to use an interface Mask. Back in the ‘golden’ days of healthcare it was quite possible to get any mask that you desired and have Medicare pay for it. This is no longer true. However, it is still very important to have a mask that will work for you. There is no “one size fits all mask”.

Why is a well-fitting mask so important? Glad you asked! The positive airway pressure machines that are used in very simple terms provide pressure to the airways to keep de-saturations from happening. If the mask is not well fitted, you cannot obtain a proper seal and loose the potential to maximize your therapy. Without a properly fitted mask the efficacy of your therapy is lost. PAP therapy is a long term solution to a diagnosis, a well fitted mask aids the longevity of the treatment.

Who fits you with a mask? In general when a sleep study is done the technicians will assess and find what works for you. Occasionally your physician will have a say as to what style, type, or even is preferable. The most difficult step after you have found the perfect mask for you is how to get it paid for. Most likely your insurance provider will pay some sort of reimbursement for the mask. However, it is likely that the cost of the mask that has been chosen exceeds the cost of the insurance reimbursement available.

It is extremely important that each patient understands with PAP therapy that you often get what you pay for. It’s very important that the patient understand that there will be some cost to the individual. While all health care dollars are important, it is imperative that each individual spend theirs wisely. Discovering all the available options is extremely important. Talking with the sleep technicians, the prescribing physician and the HME Company will fully inform the patient. Breath of Life also offers a ‘mouth piece’ option that is available to you. However, whatever type mechanism is chosen ensuring proper fit is vital. It is also important to understand that the cost of the device is not as important as gaining the benefits of proper PAP therapy.