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Rant On - DME providers - The full story
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rhandel Offline

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Sex: Male
Location: Michigan

Post: #1
Rant On - DME providers - The full story
All,

Let me preface this with a brief (and calm), explanation:
I provide this rant for understanding and commiseration. I hope you can get something out of it to take to your DME to get them to provide BETTER service and maximize your outcome.

RANT ON (WARNING... VERY LONG)

Time line: September through late November 2014
Visited Dr. who referred me to Sleep Dr..
Sleep Dr. wanted me to have a sleep study.
Hospital study was refused by insurance, so I was set up with a home study.
Home study returned with MILD Apnea (AHI 5.5). But since I have many other complications, I was given a prescription for an APAP.

Time Line: Fast forward to late December on my way to vacation.
Schedule an appointment with DME (Durable Medical Equipment), provider referred to me by the Sleep Dr. And the technician. (Not a random choice. It seems that the technician had a hook up with them. But wait it gets better).

I opted to wait until January (January 13th) to get my machine from the DME provider, so that I could start a fresh year on my deductible ($1500). I asked for a temporary rental. Was given a machine and I was on my way to my 2 plus week vacation from just before Christmas to New Years.

First stop was Pittsburgh to meet up with friends. I used the CPAP rental machine the first night. I awoke at 4AM in severe pain only to discover that the machine was a BiPAP rather than an APAP, (I hadn't realized that at the DME). I was in such bad shape, I nearly stopped breathing. ER was looming large and I was not able to breathe because I was producing drainage faster than I could drain it. I tried to sleep sitting up in a chair to no avail. Fortunately, as a last ditch effort, I grabbed some Claritin which helped me get some sleep. Since I got to "sleep" at 4:00 AM and had over 1000 miles to drive, I needed to extend my stay in Pittsburgh an extra night. Needless to say I discontinued use of the BiPAP.

Being just before Christmas, calling the DME, I arranged to swap out the machine with the correct one, once I arrived at my destination in Florida, after Christmas. I called the DME and the technician offered an apology and a replacement APAP machine for the erroneous BiPAP. NOTE: Same technician that gave me the BiPAP.

Followed by a call about 3 days later asking why I returned my machine (HUH. You, The DME, offered the replacement). They mentioned that the Tech, (that provided the BiPAP and the APAP), had been fired days before, (supposedly unrelated), and refunded my $130 rental fee for the temporary machine. (That didn't even cover the inconvenience.)

Timeline: January 13th
Not wanting to fault the DME company for the bad time with the BiPAP, I scheduled my initial setup for January 13th. The earliest that I could get. I got limited instructional use of the machine from a new technician, (which you all helped me figure out, THANK YOU), and a mask picked by the DME supplier. Results were ok. I began my treatment and was getting better sleep. I was provided with the supply schedule and told that the DME would call me to remind me in 30 days (Minimum between supplies).

Timeline: Around February 13th
No call for several days before or after so I called them. I was shipped the first batch of supplies. Nose pillow for the Opus 360 mask and some white paper filters to go in the back of the machine.

Timeline: Around March 13th
No call for several days before or after so I called them. All supplies got lost in the mail and I had to call back to ask them to trace or ship a new set of supplies. Mind you, this DME is in the same metro area as I live so shipping from one post office to another is standard operating procedure. I could have driven about 20 miles round trip to pick the supplies up if I could get there during 9AM to 5PM business hours. No Saturdays. I work so that isn't happening. Just ship them already. Trace proved fruitful as they arrived the next day. Only a week late, March 18th. My 30 day supply schedule is slipping LOTS here.

Timeline: Around April 18th
No call, text, email. Nothing. They are too lax for me. I put a trigger into my calendar to remind myself. This is my 3rd month so I am supposed to receive a new mask MINUS the head strap, new hose, and the white filters and nose pillow. I inform them that the head strap wore out and I needed to get a new one. Cost to me $25. They don't do whole new masks. What? The whole mask is one heck of a lot cheaper than the parts. Who are they zooming?

Meanwhile, I am paying as I go because the DME doesn't want to be out too much cash and the Insurance is getting billed THREE times for each item. And the paperwork is ALL messed up, (I for one compage Explanation of Benefits, EOB, with the bills). I spent HOURS on the phone between the DME and the insurance company. I even called the PRESIDENT of the Insurance company, (got Voice Mail), and he politely called me back. I called the DME to get the paperwork put through, (this time via eMail of scanned documents). It seems that the DME was messing up BIG TIME. (BTW, they never billed for one of the components on the ORIGINAL order).

Timeline: Around May 18th
This is the LAST straw. I have not heard from the jokers at the DME except when I owe them money. I called them to order my supplies. I have an appointment for my 3 month review on May 29th.

Timeline: Around May 29th
See Sleep Dr. All is well from my compliance and the number are better but not perfect. I discussed all of what you see in the RANT above with the Dr. and ask if I can change DMEs. I have "HAD IT" with the issues. Dr. says sure. And gives me a HINT of what to do to RETURN the DME to the supplier and rent from another supplier. I confirm that the new supplier is covered by the insurance. But for some reason the Dr.'s Technician is bent out of shape and claims I cannot do what I planned. I believe she has an ulterior motive, namely $$$. I am determined and unswayed by the technician. Dr. says see you in 1 year.

I called and related this ENTIRE story to the Insurance company and let them know what I was planning. The answer from them was "go right ahead". They don't need 3 bills each month and certainly want happy patients/customers.

Just last week I finally got the billing straight with the ORIGINAL DME.

Today I returned the APAP to the ORIGINAL DME and this afternoon I have an appointment with the NEW DME.

BTW, I met with the NEW DME 1 month before I met with my Sleep Dr. The reason for that was to try out the AirFit A10 mask, (on the forum's suggestion). I was so happy with the NEW DME that I started this process. The match with their service first policy, hours of operation (til 6pm M-F and Saturday from 10am-3pm), courteousness, and prices, have made a customer for life. I also paid cash for an A10 on the spot. That's how impressed I was with the NEW DME.

Please feel free to comment. PM me for names of DME Suppliers etc. I would like everyone I know to avoid all of this mess.


Thanks for reading this far,

RAH

P.S. NEW DME does 3 month supplies all at once with a NEW MASK, (including strap), under my insurance. They provide 5 nasal pillows for 3 months because the new masks come with 3 (They trade for your correct size), and they provide the other 2 on the monthly cycle.
06-25-2015 12:54 PM
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Adoniscmj Offline

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Machine: Resmed AirSense10 Autoset for her
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Location: Everett, Washington

Post: #2
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
As you see finding a good supplier is difficult. I have had more bad experiences than you as I am on Supplier #3 and I will today fire them as well for fraudulent billing practices. I finally broke down and went online and purchased a new APAP out of pocket as I was tired of dealing with the crappy suppliers and being worried about compliance.
06-25-2015 01:44 PM
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rhandel Offline

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Posts: 19
Joined: Dec 2014

Machine: Resmed A10
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Sex: Male
Location: Michigan

Post: #3
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
(06-25-2015 01:44 PM)Adoniscmj Wrote:  As you see finding a good supplier is difficult. I have had more bad experiences than you as I am on Supplier #3 and I will today fire them as well for fraudulent billing practices. I finally broke down and went online and purchased a new APAP out of pocket as I was tired of dealing with the crappy suppliers and being worried about compliance.

Time will tell with my new supplier. But they are nationally recognized and local to the state where I live. They have 12 locations (2 in another state). And I can almost walk there to pick up my supplies locally.

RAH
06-25-2015 02:33 PM
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sansnap Offline

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Post: #4
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
Wow - I am so sorry you have had this battle and while I don't have any help or suggestions I just want to say be persistent - there are excellent providers out there. Here's how mine went:

An ENT I visited a couple of years ago on an unrelated matter casually said at the appointment "you have some chronic irritation that I often see in patients with sleep apnea - you should consider a study". I ignored this.

Early this year someone said "hey you snore - a lot; I'm sleeping in another room tonight" and so I called my family doc who referred me for a sleep study. There are two providers in my area and he gave me the choice of which one to go to. I chose the one closest to home.

My first appt was with the sleep doc who did a substantial physical and interview - I spent almost an hour with him and then he scheduled the study which was the full night monitoring test at the sleep docs facility. My next appt (for the titration) was scheduled two weeks after but when they looked at the results 3 days after my study, they called and said "we've bumped up your appt, can you make it tonight - you need us"

The titration study was another full night and in the morning they sent me home with a loner for a few days until the results could be fully studied. A day later they called me to ask how my first night was.

After a week or so I had another appt with the sleep doc who reviewed the results with me and wrote a script for apap (after discussing various machines and options). I carried the script down the hall to the sleep lab where it was filled. A tech spent an hour discussing machine use and various masks scenarios. They told me that I could try several masks if needed within the first few months. Again, they called me the next day to ask how my first night was.

When I needed adjustments to the machine they fit me in within a day. They answered my phone calls promptly, they took an interest in my progress.

60 days into therapy I had a follow up appt with sleep doc. Another exam, data review and interview. This appt took almost an hour. I am supposed to go back in a year for a follow up.

My sleep doc has a complicated practice set up - my guess is that it's driven by laws about how physicians and equipment providers operate. He has an entire floor in a building near the local hospital. At one end his drs offices and exam rooms, with nurses and reception; at the other end of the hall there is a separate set of suite of offices that are the sleep lab and equipment provider area.

I have no complaints and think I got great care despite being a reluctant and whiney patient.

Hang in there - be persistent. Change providers if you need to . Your health is at stake and worth fighting for.
06-25-2015 02:54 PM
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me50 Offline

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Machine: resmed S9 VPAP Auto
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Post: #5
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
sounds a lot like apria who I did have experience with. Others mentioned that they had major issues with Lincare.
06-25-2015 04:16 PM
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rhandel Offline

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Posts: 19
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Machine: Resmed A10
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Location: Michigan

Post: #6
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
(06-25-2015 04:16 PM)me50 Wrote:  sounds a lot like apria who I did have experience with. Others mentioned that they had major issues with Lincare.

Neither provider. But equally bad. I live in a major metro area. And care here is usually REALLY good. Most problems are seemingly created by the new "Nobody gets healthcare" bill being played out in the courts.


RAH
06-26-2015 12:46 PM
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rhandel Offline

Members

Posts: 19
Joined: Dec 2014

Machine: Resmed A10
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: Resmed P10
Humidifier: Resmed
CPAP Pressure: Auto-CPAP
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

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Sex: Male
Location: Michigan

Post: #7
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
For those interested in more detail, (This is where I put in additions and corrections):

The BiPAP machine that I was given by mistake, (and didn't realize wasn't configurable as an APAP), was set to my pressures at the time: 4 and 20 cm H2O. Imagine using that for over 4 hours on the first night. I just thought that I was coming down with a cold though my head was being BLOWN off.

The next day, I used it a little less than 10 minutes when I figured out that the BiPAP was the REAL culprit. All but admitted to by the Tech.

New Tech at the First DME provider was a 15 year veteran therapist. I didn't mean to imply that he was NEW. He was OK but really limited in his explanation and not terribly informative. I have learned a LOT from this forum. And I am still learning.

RAH
06-26-2015 01:03 PM
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Adoniscmj Offline

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Posts: 168
Joined: May 2015

Machine: Resmed AirSense10 Autoset for her
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: Resmed Airfit P10
Humidifier: Integrated
CPAP Pressure: 6 to 9
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments:

Sex: Male
Location: Everett, Washington

Post: #8
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
(06-25-2015 02:33 PM)rhandel Wrote:  
(06-25-2015 01:44 PM)Adoniscmj Wrote:  As you see finding a good supplier is difficult. I have had more bad experiences than you as I am on Supplier #3 and I will today fire them as well for fraudulent billing practices. I finally broke down and went online and purchased a new APAP out of pocket as I was tired of dealing with the crappy suppliers and being worried about compliance.

Time will tell with my new supplier. But they are nationally recognized and local to the state where I live. They have 12 locations (2 in another state). And I can almost walk there to pick up my supplies locally.

RAH
GREAT! Hang on to them because it is so hard to find a good one. I have to buy online now because of how bad the local DME's are. I wouldn't recommend any of them in my area. The last one I had tried to push a machine on me that I didn't want, then when I got the machine that I wanted they spent no time with me fitting masks they just gave me one option and kicked me out. But they did take the time to go over compliance with me. They wanted to make sure that they were going to get paid. If they were really concerned with compliance you would think they would take the time to find me the best possible mask so I don't have any issues using my CPAP. I don't want to mention names but it sounds like Dorco. They also billed me for the integrated humidifier on my Air Sense 10 auto set and it wasn't a one time charge it was to be rented for the full durration of the CPAP . Until it was paid for after one year. I told them as a result they lost my business. It's funny but when I purchased it online the supplier I talked to was supprised the DME billed me for the humidifier separately. I paid one price for it online $883.00 complete compared to the local DME charging me $3,000 dollars plus the humidifier at $700 dollars. What a ripoff!!
06-27-2015 12:33 PM
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me50 Offline

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Posts: 2,559
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Machine: resmed S9 VPAP Auto
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CPAP Pressure: 18/8
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

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Location: USA

Post: #9
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
It seems like the west coast is really problematic when it comes to medical care. I know that there are problems everywhere but it just seems terrible the west side of the states. I don't know if you have insurance but if you do the DME would not have been paid $3700. I have never heard of a DME renting a humidifier. I have 3 machines in my lifetime. I don't know about the first one anymore but I don't think it had a humidifier (it was in around 1995). The 2nd and 3rd machines and the one that I returned all had humidifiers that the insurance company paid for outright and this was different insurance companies.
06-27-2015 12:42 PM
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rhandel Offline

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Posts: 19
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Machine: Resmed A10
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Mask Make & Model: Resmed P10
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Sex: Male
Location: Michigan

Post: #10
RE: Rant On - DME providers - The full story
(06-27-2015 12:33 PM)Adoniscmj Wrote:  GREAT! Hang on to them because it is so hard to find a good one. I have to buy online now because of how bad the local DME's are. I wouldn't recommend any of them in my area. The last one I had tried to push a machine on me that I didn't want, then when I got the machine that I wanted they spent no time with me fitting masks they just gave me one option and kicked me out. But they did take the time to go over compliance with me. They wanted to make sure that they were going to get paid. If they were really concerned with compliance you would think they would take the time to find me the best possible mask so I don't have any issues using my CPAP. I don't want to mention names but it sounds like Dorco. They also billed me for the integrated humidifier on my Air Sense 10 auto set and it wasn't a one time charge it was to be rented for the full durration of the CPAP . Until it was paid for after one year. I told them as a result they lost my business. It's funny but when I purchased it online the supplier I talked to was supprised the DME billed me for the humidifier separately. I paid one price for it online $883.00 complete compared to the local DME charging me $3,000 dollars plus the humidifier at $700 dollars. What a ripoff!!

Insurance has a built in bias. The ResMed A10 has an integrated heater but insurance allows the DME suppliers to bill for one. So they separate the costs. My insurance and the FIRST DME supplier charged me outright for the humi. No rental. So when I returned the Resperonics I kept the humi. Anyone need one?

RAH
07-23-2015 12:07 PM
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