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Need a new CPAP supply company. Any recs?
#1
Question 
Short version: I'm in New Jersey, I don't like the supply companies I've used, and I'd like recommendations on good, reliable companies providing quality products in my area.

Long version:

I've been on CPAP for over a decade now. Up until this year, I've used a local supplier, Allcare Medical. Unfortunately, they recently seem to have taken a serious turn for the worse. They messed something up with every single order last year. I finally gave up and switched to the local branch of the national supplier Apria. (Neither of these supply companies is on the supplier list. Supply orders are placed locally over the phone rather than online.)

I'm stuck with Allcare for CPAP maintenance, since my machine was purchased from them. I've never needed maintenance before this year, but I've needed it twice this year, and Allcare has been terrible about it both times.

I was reasonably happy with Apria for the first 6 months or so. They send supplies out when I need them, don't screw up the order or the billing, and when I call the local number an actual human picks up instead of forcing me to navigate through a maze of automated menus.

The problem is that the tubing they provide is junk. It's much thinner and weaker than the ResMed tubing I got from Allcare. Within a month or two, it had subtly deformed, preventing me from getting the pressure I needed and preventing the machine from being able to detect my apneas. They replaced it with the same tubing. A couple of months later, when I gently tugged on it to separate it from the mask for cleaning, it ripped apart in my hands. I called them up to complain, but they said that's the only brand of tubing they carry and the local branch doesn't have the power to change it. (Supplies are chosen by the national corporation.) So I washed off my old ResMed tubing from last year (which has never broken on me) and plugged that back in.

I need to find a new supplier. One that works well, stocks my preferred mask (Fisher Paykel Zest), and has tubing that won't break within a minimum of 6 months of normal use.

Suggestions, anyone?
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#2
I dont know your insurance situation, but I called my insurance carrier and got a list of 5 suppliers within 25 miles.
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#3
Thanks for the reply.

I asked my doctor for a list of suppliers they work with. It's a page long, and just has the names and phone numbers of the companies. They said they couldn't make recommendations, but could only give me the list. (I picked Apria after another doctor, glancing over the list, said that he wasn't sure but a couple of his patients who used Apria for other stuff seemed reasonably happy with them.)

I was hoping someone here might know of someone good.

Or maybe I should switch to one of the online suppliers on the list? Are they any good? Can I get mask, tubing, and everything from them?

I use Aenta for insurance, but my plan tends to be pretty flexible about my prescriptions and supply companies.
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#4
Hi pgw78,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I have had GREAT success with suppliers #1 & #18 on the supplier list here on the board.
Best of luck getting straightened out on CPAP supplies.
trish6hundred
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#5
Doctors cannot officially recommend anything due to some idiot would sue them. Unofficially, some docs will do it if they feel they have a decent relationship with the patient. Saying "a few of my patients seem to like X" is just giving a report, not a recommendation.

That said, ask the insurance if you could turn in your bills for reimbursement if you buy online. Very few, if any, online suppliers deal with insurance but can give you what you need to submit it yourself.

You could also just bite the bullet and purchase supplies yourself. Filters are not that expensive. Masks can be, though, especially when it comes to needing to find the right mask. This is really the only time a local place is handy. Well, that and if something breaks while still under warranty.

The suppliers in the Supplier's List are all online places only. A few may have a Real Store but most do not.
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.




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#6
pgw78, your profile says you have an S9 and an "S9" humidifier (I presume it's the ResMed H5i). Even the most basic S9 Escape has ClimateControl. I would ask your supplier how they expect you to use ClimateControl without a ResMed ClimateLine tube. Should be an interesting answer either way.
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#7
The second doctor is actually a family member. I'm not a patient. That was as much of a recommendation as he could give me.

I already submit all my prescriptions by mail after the fact. Insurance won't let the pharmacy submit directly. Which is a shame because you can often get a "negotiated" discount price on things if it goes through insurance first. I know I get a lower rate on CPAP supplies because the supplier has to run it through insurance first.

My doctor said the climateline tubing was an optional addon that she didn't feel was necessary. I do still get humidified air. (And yes, it's the usual humidifier that comes with the S9 unit. But it's upstairs so I couldn't look up the model number.) But that might actually be a solution. If I get the climateline tubing, Apria might be forced to provide ResMed brand tubing.

I'm hoping to get an appointment with a new doctor soon. (I have other sleeping disorders. Current doc said she's done as much for me as she can, and if I want anything other than CPAP titration I should see a different doc. So I'm taking her advice. Not that I expect much. I've been to at least a dozen different doctors and clinics - all over this state, in two neighboring states, and the Mayo Clinic - over the last 20 years. They've done the best they can for me. But I'd like someone who's at least willing to talk about my other conditions...)
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#8
The ClimateLine's main purpose is to prevent "rainout". This is when the condensation pools in a dip in the hose and it makes one heckuva racket. It can also drip into your nose. Because it is not the right pH, it will burn like mad for a few seconds.

It prevents rainout by warming the hose to about the same temp as the air from the humidifier. This prevents condensation. It won't prevent it from forming in the mask or in the short hose from the mask to the main hose.

Some say the ClimateLine (and other heated hoses) also warms the air. I've never noticed this myself.

If you do not have a problem with rainout, or live in a humid area in the summer, you probably won't need the humdifier anyway. I turn mine off and use it in "passive" mode - water in tub but no heat.

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.




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#9
(07-10-2013, 05:58 PM)pgw78 Wrote: If I get the climateline tubing, Apria might be forced to provide ResMed brand tubing.

Idea
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#10
Hmm. I use at least half a tank of water every night. I have had "rainout" a couple of times, but not often. When it did happen, I adjusted the humidifier heater down a notch, and it stopped. But I do wake up thirsty every morning.

Thanks again for the help, everyone.
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