BALTIMORE March 17, 2009 – CMS (Medicare) issued its final decision memo on home sleep testing. The agency’s reconsideration of the national coverage determination for CPAP therapy now allows for home testing for obstructive sleep apnea. “Our revised policy provides more options for Medicare beneficiaries and their treating physicians,” stated Kerry Weems, CMS’ acting administrator.
While there were some surprises, industry stakeholders said they view the new coverage policy as mostly positive. “It is a great first step in bringing needed clinical diagnostic procedures to the home setting,” said Tom Pontzius, president of Waterloo, Iowa-based VGM’s Nationwide Respiratory.
Marcia Nusgart, executive director of the Coalition of Respiratory Care Manufacturers in Bethesda, Md., said the group is pleased with CMS’ decision since it will open up the potential for more people to be tested. “The goal is to get more people tested and treated,” she said, “given the data that of the 20 million to 40 million people with obstructive sleep apnea, there have been approximately 6 million who have been tested after 20 years.” Nusgart said the (announcement) will “have a very positive impact on the HME industry” in helping providers “put new programs in place aligned with the needs of physicians, sleep clinicians and patients.”