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What Should I Watch Out for with Lincare?
#1
I only have two DME choices in my home city, Apria and Lincare.  I was with apria for years and they were awful to deal with. It wasn't even possible to phone the local office. In January I got my Dr. to write a prescription to replace my 9 year old CPAP and switched to Lincare. So far the experience has been much better. I can phone the local office and they are quite friendly. I have been assigned a case officer in another state for whom I have a direct phone number, who seems to know who I am, and is friendly and doesn't seem to mind answering questions. I was provided an airsense 10 autoset. Their "respiratory therapist" was friendly and seemed reasonably competent except that he had my machine set up for nasal pillows although he knew I use a full face mask. (I caught that right away and changed the setting.) I'm trying an Amara View mask for 30 days and understand I can get it replaced with a mask of my choice within 30 days at no additional charge. I'm wondering if that will be the first real test.

They bill ridiculous amounts to my insurance company but I understand that's how all DMEs operate. Fortunately my insurance company denies most of the charge and my coinsurance payments have been reasonable. (about $10/mo for the one year lease of the machine after which I'm told I own it and $24 for the mask with headgear.) I have a medicare addvantage plan.

It seems Lincare is not highly regarded in this forum and I'm wondering if they have improved. They seem much better than Apria. I would appreciate any advice on what to look out for from anyone who has recent experience with Lincare.

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#2
Can't tell you what to look out for other than the usual... I am back with Apria (original Medicare, fired the advantage plan last year Cool ).  I hear complaints about Apria all the time and so far, only had one bad experience over the years.  I just try to know exactly what I am entitled to, what I want, and to be very clear in speaking with them.  I also keep written notes of my conversations with date, time, who and what was said.  If you have an "assigned" person with Lincare you are lucky.  Good Luck!
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#3
This applies to any vendor ...

Try not to provide a credit card even if they insist on it.
If you do provide a credit card, look at your statements promptly and be prepared to dispute any questionable charges.
Try to visit the local office and get a business card from one of the techs or the manager -- make sure that you have their email.

Many vendors use entry-level employees and demand adherence to performance quotas -- often causing burnout and employee churn.
robertbuckley is spot on in documenting each and every conversation.

If you are an oxygen patient and receive unfilled tanks or experience significant problems, you make want to contact your insurance company or state medical quality assurance board. I have one friend that sent their vendor a lawyer's letter explaining that they would go to the local ER if they were out of oxygen and that they may be responsible for the charges.

I will be facing a turning point soon as my vendor did not win the Medicare competition and they can provide supplies under a grandfather arrangement only until I own the machine and then I will need to go elsewhere. In this case, it helps to have a copy of your prescription, sleep study to switch vendors with minimal trouble. Ask for a closeout statement. Also, you may wish to make some arrangement for the repair or replacement of your unit with your new vendor if possible,

Best of luck.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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#4
Some of the best information on any of the DMEs is to looks at what employees say. Do a search on Glassdoor Lincare. Results are not unlike Apria. At least you have had positive encounters up to now.
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#5
been using lincare for the last year and a half with no issues at all surprisingly.
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#6
I just switched to Lincare about a year ago and so far haven't had any problems.
And when my Dr wrote a prescription for a new new cpap 2 months ago even
though the prescription was written for a cpap not an apap they let me have a
DreamStation Auto, humidifier and heated hose. True because the perscription
was written for a cpap set at 14" of pressure that was what it was set for. But
I was naughty and changed that.
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#7
In the two months I've been with them they have been much better than Apria. I learned last week that, although my dr. didn't specify an APAP, they provided an AirSense 10 Autoset. The people at the local office are friendly and my account rep in S. Carolina, for whom I have a direct number, is responsive.

On the negative side, the techs at the office are not very thorough. Although they had me listed as using a FFM i noticed when I got home that the machine as set for nasal pillows.
When I got my F20 mask the tech did not use the sizing template but just guessed at the size. I had to ask her to use it. Also, she didn't inform me that the headgear comes in three sizes. So I got a mask with a medium cushion and medium headgear which is a little tight across the top of my head.

Unlike Apria, I don't get an automated call a couple of times a week for supply orders. I have gotten two calls from a real person near the end of each month informing me that I don't qualify for any supplies but that they will call back in a month.

So they have been much better than Apria so far.

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#8
Hello
My main problem with Lincare is that they try as much as they can to get people to RENT equipment instead of buying. Case in point: I was on CPAP with added oxygen. For over 4 years, they were charging me/insurance $120/month for the unit plus supplies and check once/year. I found out that I could buy the exact same unit NEW online (with shipping) for under $600...all I needed was a prescription from my Doctor. True, I have to pay for servicing myself, but in the 4+ years I had this unit, it never failed! I could have bought an entire new unit every 6 months and STILL saved money. I was so incensed when I discovered this, Lincare's response was "well, we could have came out more often if you would have just asked"...then they made me sign my life away just to bring their unit back. I am astonished when I think of how much money they are raking in with scams like this.These companies believe that no one is harmed by such practices because they 'bill it to the insurance'....when was the last time you ran across someone that had a zero-deductible policy? 

Most of these companies are locally managed outlets, so your specific service may vary depending on where you live. My only advice is to question everything they charge you for and find out if you can purchase yourself.
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#9
My only problem with Lincare is primarily Medicare rules or how Lincare interprets them (the office interprets them correctly, the warehouse people do not). They REQUIRE that you go to the office to be fitted for a mask if you want to change to something you didn't already have. Once that mask is listed on your account, then it's no problem changing the supplies around when they call every month. In addition, it's impossible to get the brand name of some of the items, such as Resmed brand filters, from the Warehouse. I can get them if I drive to the local office, although they just mail me the filters now.

Lincare issues depend on the region and the office and how much turnover has gone on. People don't have nearly the same number of complaints with them as they do Apria.

An example of interpretation - you can get a replacement FRAME every 3 months. This is in ADDITION to the complete mask every 6 months. But you can't convince the warehouse of that. If you get the frame, they will only send you the headgear to complete the mask. I can get it from the local Lincare office. In addition, if I go to the local office, they will add a set of pad-a-cheek specific to the mask. It's a pain in the neck to go there, but there are a couple of other businesses on that end of town that I can visit the same day, so I don't feel like it's a waste to drive.
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