What is “CPAP Compliance” – How to be “Compliant”

  • By Clay Rollyson
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CPAP Compliance

CPAP compliance is something that many CPAP users have come to hear a lot about. Especially if you are a truck driver or you are using your insurance for the purchase of your CPAP machine. Compliance is just what it sounds like. It is whether or not you are using your CPAP. So why is everyone so concerned about you using your CPAP? Let’s start off by explaining that, then we will go over the metrics of compliance as well as some tips and tricks for becoming compliant.

Why is my insurance concerned about my CPAP Compliance?

If you used your insurance to purcahse your CPAP machine, then you are most likely under a rental program. The insurance company is only going to pay for your CPAP if you are actually using it. And “using it” is defined by the insurance company. For most insurance providers, they will want to see a bare minimum of 70% usage. That usage has to occur within the first 90 days typically. If you do not meet this requirement within their time frame the insurance company will most likely stop paying for your CPAP. In turn, your CPAP supplier may force you to pay for the balance on the CPAP or even repossess the CPAP from you. One nice thing is that the insurance company is typically only concerned during the first few months of you having the CPAP. After you have met the initial compliance standards, they finish paying for your CPAP and leave you alone. In other cases, they may make you prove compliance every time you re-order your CPAP supplies.

Why do Truck Drivers need to be Compliant on CPAP?

For truck drivers we have had a bunch of different compliance experiences. For most truck drivers they are required to show a compliance report every year at their medical card renewal. This report is usually just a 30-day report, but in some cases the DOT clinic will ask for a 90-day report. With either of those the DOT clinic usually wants to see a minimum of 70% compliance usage as well. However, we have seen a bunch of trucking companies that monitor their drivers CPAP compliance daily. And some of those trucking companies want 90% compliance. The reasoning is obvious to most and aggravating to a lot of truckers. That reason is safety. When a driver has sleep apnea the risk for drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel can be very high. So, the DOT and employer want to be sure that their drivers get quality sleep. For more information on that visit the FMCSA Sleep Apnea page here.

How is CPAP compliance calculated?

CPAP compliance is a pretty simple formula. In order for a day/night to be considered compliant you must use the CPAP for at least 4 hours in a 24-hour period. Those 4 hours do not need to be consecutive, but it is important to remember that most CPAPs split the day at 12 noon. That is because most people use the CPAP at night. The next metric that is super important is the actual percentage. That is calculated by dividing the number of days you have used it over 4 hours by the total number of days selected. So, if you need to be 70% compliant on a 30-day report, then you need to have a minimum of 21 days with over 4 hours usage.

Tips and Tricks for becoming compliant

When you are trying to become compliant on your CPAP every bit of usage is critical. That means that even while you are practicing on your CPAP you are gaining time. We push new users to practice during the day with their new CPAP. This helps with acclimating to CPAP therapy as well as getting good usage hours on your CPAP for compliance purposes. Another great tip is to avoid procrastination. If your mask isn’t comfortable, then make a change. Do not procrastinate on that change. We give a 30-day guarantee on our masks which allows you to make a mask change for free. Make sure that whoever you are dealing with, that they have a similar program.

How do I get my CPAP Compliance report?

Obtaining your CPAP compliance and therapy report is completely dependent on what make and model CPAP that you have. For some models, the CPAP will automatically transmit the data via cell towers back to your provider. For these models your CPAP supplier should be able to pull that data for you any time you need it. We provide that service here at CPAPmyway for free when you buy your CPAP here. Models that automatically transmit data for you would be the DreamStation 2 or the AirSense 11 CPAP. Other CPAP models may require a physical download to a computer via SD card. In these cases, you may need software or web access to retrieve that data. If you are going to have your provider retrieve that information, then you will have to present the card to them physically. Some models like the iBreeze or Luna 2 will allow you to perform your own download at home to obtain the report.

How can I avoid dealing with CPAP Compliance?

The answer to that question is part of what defines us here at CPAPmyway. In short, you can pay cash for your CPAP to avoid the insurance standards. In that scenario you do not have to worry about insurance standards. We have a great selection of CPAP Starter Packages as well as prescription services for those needed help with that as well. For truck drivers on the other hand there is no shortcut. If you have Sleep Apnea and want to continue driving, then you will have to use your CPAP. For most, once they become accustomed to the CPAP, they wouldn’t give it up anyway. The improvement in quality of life is well worth the effort of using CPAP.