My experience with Kaiser was a mixture of the stories told here so far. In March of 2015, I woke up one morning with a severe head/neck ache, pounding tinnitus, heart racing, BP very high (in retrospect, I've realized that milder versions of this had occurred a couple other times in the previous 6 months).
I contacted my PCP who immediately referred to me a number of departments for testing and treatment - labs, audiology, physical therapy.
The next few nights were a terror - got very little sleep. Several of my friends/relatives suggested that it might be OSA, so I asked my PCP about it and he immediately referred me to the sleep lab. The sleep lab called me later that day and set up my first appointment - an overnight study with a WatchPAT.
The overnight results indicated that I had severe OSA (AHI of 58), with apneas of up to 90 seconds and desats down into the mid 80's. I was signed up for an APAP trial that same day.
Due to scheduling, it was nearly two weeks before the APAP trial - as others have mentioned, it was a group exercise - about 10 of us in a room being fitted with masks and sent home with Resmed S9 APAP machines for a 7-night in-home trial. Unfortunately, I was still having a lot of trouble with pain and I wasn't able to continue with the trial - I gave up half way through and said I'd try again in a few weeks once I'd improved my sleep hygiene enough to actually sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.
Meanwhile, I worked on sleep hygiene - got a new bed with a firm mattress, adjustable base, made the room quieter and darker - all of these things helped me sleep a bit better, so in early June I got signed up for another 7-night trial. This trial went a lot better - I was able to sleep, and it was clear that CPAP was helping, but I had a lot of mask leak problems - had to switch masks mid-week. By this time I'd found out how much my crappy Obamacare policy covered for DME: precisely $0 (although all the studies were covered with only $20 co-pays - go figure). Since I knew I'd have to pay out of pocket for whatever I ended up getting, I requested an appointment with the sleep Dr. to go over results and discuss options.
Here the Kaiser machinery failed me - it took eleven weeks to actually get in to see a sleep Dr. I had to constantly call back to the department before eventually getting scheduled (I was later told that the department was down two doctors, which caused a lot of scheduling delays - I'd estimate that this facility was seeing well over 100 new apnea patients each week).
While I was waiting to get in to see the Dr, I went ahead and got a custom oral appliance made - it helped! The first morning after sleeping with the oral device I felt more awake than I had in years!
Finally, on the last day of August, I got in to see the sleep Dr. We discussed the various options - oral devices, surgery, xPAP. She went over my test results and suggested that my pressures were fairly high, so I might need to do Bilevel, but left it up to me which way to go. We settled on a three-way approach: 1) Repeat the WatchPAT study, but with the oral device in place to see what effect it had; 2) repeat the APAP study, as my sleep hygiene had continued to improve; 3) do a bi-level study to see if it was better.
There were some hiccups, but eventually all three studies were done: The oral device cut my AHI from 58 to 27 - better, but still not good. The repeat APAP study was better - my pressures were down and my compliance was improved. The bi-level study was a great success - much more comfortable, even better results according to the data.
Since I was paying out of pocket, I needed an actual written prescription, rather than having them send it to Apria. Through miscommunication, they actually sent it to Apria instead. Finally I got my written prescription just before Thanksgiving (7.5 months after diagnosis). I ordered my AC10 from Supplier #1
and have been happily adjusting to the hose ever since. After 4 months I'm pretty well adjusted, but still seeing improvement from week to week. I even had a couple of AHI=0.0 nights
It wasn't a fun ordeal - from reading many threads on this forum, I see that there are others whose stories are much worse than mine - actually, other than the scheduling a communication issues, it really worked out OK.