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DMEs & Government; WalMart & The Free Market to the Rescue

My SleepGuide forum activities have been curtailed due to some business commitments. However, flying home today I saw something in the WSJ that I had to share with you.

People outside the CPAP community are taking note of the dreadful problems when medical equipment can only be procured by prescription through a licensed DME. They also understand that if the regulations, prescription requirements, and licensing requirements are stripped away the patient, not to mention the U.S. taxpayer, will see big benefits.

Letter to the Editor

Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2012

As a result of a simple outpatient operation in 2010, I became seriously infected and was readmitted to the hospital for six weeks. I was fitted with a negative pressure wound therapy device. It was a simple device consisting of a vacuum pump, a fluid reservoir and a tube running to my knee, and included some basic electronic controls. I carried it home and used it for two months.

I was appalled that the device was not available to purchase but had to be rented for about $4,500 per month. Dressings and reservoirs were replaced every few days at extra cost, of course.

I can visualize this simple device being sold at Wal-Mart for probably $39.95. No wonder Medicare is going bankrupt.

Charlie Bolles

Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/letters.html

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Welcome back Rooster!

Rooster, as you know I've been an outspoken proponent of killing the prescription requirement for the diagnosis and treatment of simple OSA.  when i gave a presentation on the subject as the keynote speaker at the NJ Association of Respiratory Therapists a year or two ago, i got stalked by a disgruntled ResMed sales rep who had the corporate legal department of ResMed send me a threatening legal letter.  Clearly, this is a live wire and a lot of money is at stake. 

I would have thought Resmed would be for it. How do they feel at the sleep offices?

ResMed should be for it in theory. But until the law changes, they need to please their medical professionals, who are today's customers -- not patients.  Case in point: i run the NYC Manhattan AWAKE Sleep Apnea support group -- for patients, by patients.  I ask for a sponsorship fee of $350/month to cover costs of the space rental, refreshments, and admin costs.  My local ResMed rep has told me that's too much money.  Guarantee that when the tide turns and the patient is ResMed's customer that they will jump at the chance to speak in front of audience of 50-75 CPAP users for only $350.  Can you imagine them turning down a chance to have a table at a medical conference because the cost of the table was $350?!  

RockRpsgt said:

I would have thought Resmed would be for it. How do they feel at the sleep offices?

Rooster, as you know I've been an outspoken proponent of killing the prescription requirement for the diagnosis and treatment of simple OSA.  when i gave a presentation on the subject as the keynote speaker at the NJ Association of Respiratory Therapists a year or two ago, i got stalked by a disgruntled ResMed sales rep who had the corporate legal department of ResMed send me a threatening legal letter.  Clearly, this is a live wire and a lot of money is at stake.

Mike, I remember that story and I certainly  thought of you when I saw the WSJ letter and made the post here. Maybe you want to write an editorial for the WSJ about how difficult and expensive regulations make things for CPAPers?

Best regards,

I second Mike's letter to WSJ.

Definitely, make businesses aware of over-regulations such as  this needless requirement of a CPAP prescription to buy even an  online mask. Interestingly, you can purchase accessories, like the Bella loops without the Rx. This hampers competition of the online dealers with the insurance linked DME. Some folks have deductibles such that it's cheaper to order online than with their DME's inflated prices.

I am willing to write an editorial to the WSJ. Any advice on how to increase likelihood it'll be published ?

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