Letter from the Editor

Inside the Decidedly Unsleepy Sleep Market

Researching and writing this Special Sleep Issue was anything but a snore, and I hope you’ll find the same when you read it. The magazine contains a dozen feature pages dedicated to one of the most promising and perplexing markets home medical equipment companies and respiratory therapists serve.

From the opening page that shows the revenue gains providers expect in the coming 12 months to the closing page that pictures the latest product innovations, there is ample information to ponder or share. A popular element is bound to be the Product Comparison on sleep interfaces. Providers tell me that they like the charts and sometimes use them with patients to discuss the variety of equipment available. There’s nothing more important to successful sleep therapy than mask selection.

The RSM Community news section addresses reimbursement challenges in the PAP market. Developed by the American Association for Homecare, a new CPAP task force is beginning work on suggested changes to the Medicare PAP policy to ease burdens on providers and inconveniences for patients. Respiratory & Sleep Management will follow this group closely as it aims to make an impact on payment in the future.

Speaking of the future, members of The MED Group’s National Respiratory Network got to hear some forward-thinking ideas about sleep therapy during their recent conference. I was pleased to attend the event and meet respiratory therapists and executives from independent HME companies.

The audience heard from Robin Randolph of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare about the evolution of sleep labs and where the sleep testing industry may be headed. One network member in particular has an idea — to the home. Rebecca Olson, RRT, discussed how Oxygen One Inc., an HME company in Waukesha, Wis., developed Sleep Apnea Solutions, a completely separate company that offers home sleep tests. Olson explained the huge market opportunity available to test additional undiagnosed apnea sufferers and the significant cost savings inherent in home tests. A home test can be administered and interpreted for less than $1,000, whereas a lab test costs from $2,000 to $4,000, she said. The MED Group meeting was billed as a “Leadership Summit,” and that description seems apt. The sessions had either a clinical or innovation theme, both of which reflect the members’ desire to further develop their role in the continuum of care.

Finally, because sleep is a basic human need, it unifies us and creates our culture. Have fun with the excerpt from the National Sleep Foundation’s Top 100 sleep movies and music. I dare you to read through the songs without singing at least a few lyrics out loud.

This article originally appeared in the Respiratory & Sleep Management June 2010 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Rizzuto is the editor of Respiratory & Sleep Management. She has more than 15 years of experience in health care business journalism, including eight years covering the home medical equipment industry.

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