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VA and CPAP supplies
#1
Hi, I have a Resmed S9 machine that is one year old. I have begun to get my healthcare from the VA due to the cost of Medicare; it's a money thing. Previously I had Medicare and have been using a CPAP for 15 years.

Is it possible to buy supplies online to save money? The VA sleep disorders clinic is 1 1/2 hours drive away and they tell me I need a new over-night sleep study to be recognized as being part of their group. I asked if they could get me supplies but they never answer that question.

Hope someone out there knows what I'm talk'in about, Dave
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#2
You can buy many supplies online. However, a complete mask requires a prescription under US law.
I believe no Rx is needed for filters, hoses, water tanks?, mask cushions, mask headstrap.
(Note: the board frowns upon anyone suggesting getting an Rx item without an Rx.)

What? The VA couldn't/wouldn't give you an answer; why am I not surprised.

I buy my filters online. My DME gives me some cheapo-crapola filters -- I get a good deal on the real brand name filters.

You might ask Retired_Guy for advice. He's in Oregon; and uses the VA. Although he likely gets his supplies through the VA.
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#3
Can you get a copy of your pre-va prescription? And/or request your records from your previous doctor be sent to the VA? I don't think they can or should insist on a new sleep study with that information. Send a blast-o-gram to your PCP and ask for their help. (are you using the on-line "My HealtheVet" program?" Best way ever to communicate with the VA.)

But, with a copy of your prescription you can certainly order your supplies on-line. Even without a prescription you can order supplies on-line. You have to order the mask headware separate from the mask itself and put it together yourself. That's how the suppliers are getting around the stupid law.
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#4
This is my first post and I found this board through a search for info on my new machine provided by the VA.

To get supplies for my previous machine which was a Respironics, I just asked my primary for an Rx and paid for the supplies myself. Then one day at the VA hospital, I discovered they have an Apnea clinic.

Well they did want a new study, and since it had been over 10 years, why not? So all went poorly as I had not slept without a CPAP in over 10 years. But I did fall asleep enough to get some scoring. I am so glad I went through the process. I have a brand new ResMed S9 VPAP Auto and all the supplies I need. They will hook me up with different masks, and even a 12v power supply for my camping trips.

On my first appointment I brought in my old machine. They wrote all the info down and ordered me supplies to get by until my new machine could be obtained after the study.

So bottom line is they have done an excellent job - after 15 years you should be examined again. The price alone of the masks and tubing should be worth it.

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#5
If you can get a copy of your sleep study and submit it to the VA they may accept the results and just enroll you for supplies. I have heard of it being done. It saves them time and money, I don't see why they wouldn't do it.
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#6
Thanks Thanks for the good replies. Now I know what to do. My last sleep doctor just looked at the 6 sleep studies I've had, got me a new S9 ResMed and looked at the info on the memory card on the next 2 appointments. I can't get the prescription because Apria Healthcare has it and it's over a year old so who knows where it is!

I did check a few online sellers for supplies and the prices seem generally consistent. I believe that I'll try the VA sleep clinic and see what happens before I buy online.

Again thanks
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#7
(11-04-2014, 02:54 AM)MikeVet Wrote: This is my first post and I found this board through a search for info on my new machine provided by the VA.

To get supplies for my previous machine which was a Respironics, I just asked my primary for an Rx and paid for the supplies myself. Then one day at the VA hospital, I discovered they have an Apnea clinic.

Well they did want a new study, and since it had been over 10 years, why not? So all went poorly as I had not slept without a CPAP in over 10 years. But I did fall asleep enough to get some scoring. I am so glad I went through the process. I have a brand new ResMed S9 VPAP Auto and all the supplies I need. They will hook me up with different masks, and even a 12v power supply for my camping trips.

On my first appointment I brought in my old machine. They wrote all the info down and ordered me supplies to get by until my new machine could be obtained after the study.

So bottom line is they have done an excellent job - after 15 years you should be examined again. The price alone of the masks and tubing should be worth it.

Hey Mike, glad to see you here. I too have nothing but good things to report about my VA experiences in general and with the sleep lab in particular. They've been great.

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#8
My husband's CPAP is through the VA and mine through Medicare. Both of us get our supplies without paying a dime. His follow up cae hasn't been good, however, and he isn't doing as well on his CPAP use. Now that I am on a CPAP I'm pushing him to ask for some help so he will get better wear times.
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#9
Sorry to hear you are having problems. I have come to the conclusion that the VA is really a per location experience. The Lebanon VA Medical Center in PA is phenomenal. Haven't had a bad experience in any department yet.

My experience in transitioning from the private side (not really private but Tricare) to the VA for my CPAP has been completely different. Initially I was told the same as you were but once my PCM put the referral in they just wanted to look at the data card and the numbers. From there they took over. Turned out I needed a new machine (VPAP vs APAP (and I got bitched out for changing the settings to APAP vice straight CPAP but the original settings weren't working for anymore)). It was a bit slower than a private practice doc but not by much and I would add that the process was actually quite a bit easier than dealing with my old supplier.

I do know that they do not send out supplies on the same schedule that the home supply companies push (and quite frankly I am glad). That schedule always seemed overly aggressive to me.

As to the age of the script, it really doesn't matter. I order supplies all of the time off of my original script (which is on file at one of the bigger sites online) and it is five or six years old. I originally got a copy by calling AHP and had them email a copy of it to me. Would suggest you call Apria and ask them to do the same.
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#10
In my experience the VA can be persuaded to put your supplies in the mail, once you are established. Also, if you are an hour and a half away you qualify for VA Choice plan and they will likely refer you to a local provider. Call and ask if you qualify for a VA choice provider.

Good luck
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