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Finding Sleep Specialists
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kthornsberry Offline

Members

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2012

Machine: Resmed S9 Autoset; HDM Z1 with Powershell
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: Respironics Amara
Humidifier: Integrated -
CPAP Pressure: Resmed: 16-20 cm, Z1: 20 cm
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments:

Sex: Male
Location: Texas

Post: #1
Finding Sleep Specialists
I am a long term CPAP user. I use my CPAP all night every night. It's been roughly 10 years since my last visit to a sleep doctor and over that time I can tell that my therapy has declined in effectiveness. I live in a different city now and need to find a new doctor to manage my sleep apnea.

From what I observe now things have changed a little. It seems like many sleep specialists primarily are prescribing the sleep studies and then handing the patients over to a nurse or technicial to set them up with their CPAP and mask.

Ideally I would like to figure out who the doctors for whom sleep conditions are their specialty, not an add on to some other neurological or pulmonary focus. I don't mind working with a technician to get my machine adjusted and find the correct mask but I don't want to lose contact with the doctor after the sleep study.

Any suggestions on how to narrow my search or recommendations for sleep specialists in Houston, TX.

Thanks.
08-29-2012 07:48 AM
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PollCat Offline
Apnea Board Polling Administrator
Monitors

Posts: 1,575
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: ResMed S9 Autoset
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed AirFit P10
Humidifier: H5i Cleanable with ClimateLine
CPAP Pressure: 10 - 18
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: CPAP-ing since 1995; Type 2 Diabetes; Chronic Asthma; Gout

Sex: Male
Location: Westfield, IN

Post: #2
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
If you have been using the same machine for 10 years, it's time for a new, modern machine! And you really should have another sleep study done. In my 17 years with CPAPs I've had three studies and five machines.

Most hospitals have on-line listing of sleep-medicine specialists, doctors, etc. You could also try your insurance companies listing of physicians.

Oh, and Welcome


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA.
INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
08-29-2012 08:08 AM
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zimlich Offline

Preferred Members-2

Posts: 392
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: Respironics PR System One BiPap Auto SV Advanced
Mask Type: Nasal mask
Mask Make & Model: ResMed gel Nasal Mask
Humidifier: System One
CPAP Pressure: 8-20 ASV, 8 EPAP,PS 12
CPAP Software: Not using software

Other Comments: I use the Quattro FFM when necessary

Sex: Female
Location: Norfolk, VA

Post: #3
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
Csll the offices of doctor's aapproved by your insurance and ask where their focus lies
08-29-2012 08:11 AM
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jdireton Offline

Preferred Members-2

Posts: 149
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: Resmed S9 Elite
Mask Type: Nasal mask
Mask Make & Model: Resmed Mirage FX
Humidifier: Resmed H5i
CPAP Pressure: 12
CPAP Software: ResScan

Other Comments: ClimateLine Hose

Sex: Male
Location: Florida

Post: #4
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
K,

Welcome!

I wanted to jump on the previous comment that, if your current CPAP machine is 10 years old, you will benefit from the newer technology! I think I can safely leave out modifiers like "likely" or "probably." The newer machines not only have better therapy capabilities, but they also have data capabilities and convenience features that I'm sure you would enjoy and likely make your therapy more effective.

Same goes for your sleep study. 10 years is a long time to not "tweak" any medical treatment. No doctor would give you a 10 year prescription for any medication. Just like meds, you need to be tested and your treatment adjusted according to how you've changed.

As far as selecting a doctor, as stated above, most insurance companies have a referral service you can call. It is primarily there to ensure you can verify "in network" status, but they should be able give you contact information for local Sleep Specialists. After that, you just have to choose. Doctors are just like the rest of us, someone had to graduate last in their class. I think you'll find the use of technicians for machine education and setup pretty much the norm now. Doctor's no longer have the time for face to face with patients and insurance won't pay them to sit with you for an hour.

Lastly, likely as important as your doctor, is the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider you choose. These are the people who will actually sell you the CPAP equipment and likely teach you how to use it. This is the company that you're going to be dealing with month in and month out. I know you hear more about bad things, but on this forum we hear a lot about bad DME's. If you get to that point, post here about which equipment they are recommending, etc. and we can help ensure you get a capable system that will help your treatment.

We're here to help, please keep us up to date.
08-29-2012 08:32 AM
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Dawei Offline

Preferred Members-2

Posts: 342
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: ResMed S9 AutoSet
Mask Type: Other
Mask Make & Model: Respironics "FitLife"
Humidifier: H5i
CPAP Pressure: 10-20
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments: Began CPAP in 2006; spent the first 6 years with a "brick"

Sex: Male
Location: Western North Carolina

Post: #5
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
kthornsberry--welcome to the board. I can tell you that much has changed in only the five years since I started on CPAP, and much of it has to do with the improvements in equipment capabilities. I can't imagine how much has changed in your longer absence from the world of sleep docs. As for finding a sleep doc, this is a relatively new medical specialty under the American Board of Sleep Medicine. A quick way to find a sleep center with sleep docs is the website http://www.sleepcenters.org where you input your location and can see accredited sleep centers. Mine is at a large community hospital where the accredited sleep docs are pulmonologists who are boarded by the Amer. Board of Sleep Medicine.
One of the new wrinkles in apnea treatment is that for those of us who are on Medicare, an annual visit to a sleep doc (minimum) is required for medical equipment suppliers (DMEs) to sell you a different mask or machine. That wasn't the case five years ago.
08-29-2012 08:35 AM
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mjbearit Offline

Preferred Members-2

Posts: 605
Joined: May 2012

Machine: REMstar Auto AFlex DS550
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: RESMed Swift FX
Humidifier: Heated humidifier - 2
CPAP Pressure: 12.5-20
CPAP Software: SleepyHead EncoreBasic

Other Comments:

Sex: Male
Location: So Cal

Post: #6
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
Hi kthornsberry Welcome
I was diagnosed in 2004 and only recently became interested in all this so have been through the same thing. The new machines are great! I guess I never realized how bad the old ones were until I got the one I have now! Good luck on your search, you are going to love this new technology!

As always, YMMV! You do not have to agree or disagree, I am not a professional so my mental meanderings are simply recollections of things from my own life.

PRS1 - Auto - A-Flex x2 - 12.50 - 20 - Humid x2 - Swift FX
08-29-2012 08:55 AM
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trish6hundred Offline

Advisory Members

Posts: 6,424
Joined: May 2012

Machine: Resmed S9 AutoSet for Her
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: Fisher & Paykel Simplus
Humidifier: H5i Heated Humidifier
CPAP Pressure: 10 - 7-20 Cm H2O
CPAP Software: Not using software

Other Comments: I started CPAP in 2008. Totally blind since birth.

Sex: Female
Location: Missouri, USA

Post: #7
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
Hi kthornsberry, WELCOME! to the forum,! and keep us posted on your findings, best of luck.

trish6hundred
08-29-2012 09:40 AM
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kthornsberry Offline

Members

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2012

Machine: Resmed S9 Autoset; HDM Z1 with Powershell
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: Respironics Amara
Humidifier: Integrated -
CPAP Pressure: Resmed: 16-20 cm, Z1: 20 cm
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments:

Sex: Male
Location: Texas

Post: #8
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
OK. Thanks all. I can definately find the doctors that are board certified or belong to the academy and my insurance is somewhat helpful but doesn't actually list sleep medicine in their directory--I just have to look up Pulmonologists and Neurologists and dig further. I have also identified the hospitals with sleep centers and the independant sleep centers in my area. I was really just checking to see if you have any advice for how to sort through this list to weed out the doctors for which sleep medicine is just an add on.

Pertaining to your other comments: I do have a slightly newer CPAP. About 4 years ago I needed a smaller CPAP that could run off a battery because my job was requiring international travel with 15 hour flights. My medical equipment provider sold me a AEIOmed Everest 3 off my old prescription. I liked it, especially for the integrated battery. Now the airlines are requiring FAA approval on a CPAP and AEIOmed went out of business when their factory burned so I probably need to look into battery powered FAA approved machines too but for now I just want to get my therapy retitrated.

Actually, the part that is really embarassing is that I'm breathing through a mask that is close to four years old. The straps are showing the wear pretty bad and the gel has seen better days as well.

Thanks for the input. I know how to develop a list of sleep specialists in my community that my insurance accepts but what I am really seeking is any input on how to high-grade my options within that list.

Thanks again.
08-29-2012 10:12 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
Wiki Editor
Moderators

Posts: 8,057
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: S9 Autoset
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: F&P Simplus
Humidifier: H5i
CPAP Pressure: 14-20
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type; chronic sarcasm

Sex: Undisclosed
Location: western NC, USA

Post: #9
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
My suggestion is to not go to one that provides the machines as well. Conflict of interest but is far too common.

Look for one that also has support meetings or mentions it to you.

Ask how long it would take to get the appt. then how long it would take to get the sleep study (which you do need).

Ask if they are in favor of APAPs.

PaulaO2
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
08-29-2012 02:26 PM
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Dawei Offline

Preferred Members-2

Posts: 342
Joined: Feb 2012

Machine: ResMed S9 AutoSet
Mask Type: Other
Mask Make & Model: Respironics "FitLife"
Humidifier: H5i
CPAP Pressure: 10-20
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments: Began CPAP in 2006; spent the first 6 years with a "brick"

Sex: Male
Location: Western North Carolina

Post: #10
RE: Finding Sleep Specialists
kthornsberry--Regarding your desire to "high grade my options," I am not aware that sleep medicine is the single specialty of any docs practicing clinically in the U.S. Rather, sleep medicine is a recognized sub-specialty available to docs in seven specialties who complete training and successfully pass board certification exams in sleep medicine as a sub-specialty.
08-29-2012 03:49 PM
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