Treating Sleep Disorders Can Wake Up Your Bottom Line

By Bendix, Jeffrey | Medical Economics, July 25, 2013 | Go to article overview

Treating Sleep Disorders Can Wake Up Your Bottom Line


Bendix, Jeffrey, Medical Economics


New diagnostic technologies spell opportunities for improving patient health while bolstering revenue

Approximately 20 million American adults are thought to experience symptoms of sleep disorder, primarily obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). That prevalence of sleep problems, combined with a growing array of user-friendly devices for conducting home sleep tests, represents an opportunity for primary care physicians (PCPs) to add a new income stream and improve the quality of life for many of their patients. **

AT THE SAME TIME, experts and physicians with experience in the field warn that it's important to be aware of the pitfalls surrounding sleep testing and treatment. For example, training and licensing requirements for reading the results of sleep tests differ from state to state, and the coding and billing for sleep testing services can be tricky. And as with any ancillary service, you need to be sure you have a sufficiently large patient base to make it profitable.

Nonetheless, the trend-and opportunity-are apparent The prevalence of sleep disorders has been growing in recent years. According to a National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, physician office visits for sleep apnea rose from 2 million in 2000 to 3.7 million in 2009, an increase of 85%. The percentage increases in visits for insomnia and narcolepsy were even greater-137%, and 133%, respectively. In addition, a growing body of research links OSA to conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Although no specific data exists regarding the number of PCPs offering diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders, internal medicine physicians account for about 9%, and family practice physicians about 2% of the in-laboratory diagnostic sleep studies billed to Medicare.

BENEFITS OF HOME SLEEP TESTS

PCPs cite a variety of reasons for the decision to offer home sleep testing services to their patients. Jack Maxwell, DO, got interested in sleep disorders about 8 years ago, largely because of their link to chronic conditions such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. His interest led him to become board-certified in sleep medicine, a relative rarity among family practitioners. Today his eight-provider practice in the Dallas, Texas suburb of Lewisville orders 80 to 100 sleep tests each year.

Because he is board-certified, Maxwell is qualified to interpret the results of home sleep tests, and thus able to bill for all three components of the testing process-test administration, interpretation, and CPAP initiation and management Consequently, he says, each patient treated for sleep disorders brings about $1,500 in revenue to the practice, compared with approximately $360 for other patients.

Some patients initially resist taking a sleep test or using CPAP, but Maxwell usually is able to persuade them. ? lot of it is salesmanship," he says. "You start talking about how the heart is damaged by long-term obstructive sleep apnea, and they get the picture pretty quickly. And I've been in practice long enough (26 years) that my patients trust me and will go in the direction I try to steer them."

For PCPs thinking of offering sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment as ancillary services, Maxwell advises including sleep-related questions as part of the screening process for routine medical care, partnering with a reputable sleep lab that employs licensed technicians, obtaining continuing medical education credits on sleep diagnosis and treatment, and learning the appropriate billing codes for polysomnograms and CPAP titrations.

Barrett Tilley, MD, began offering home sleep testing in his Fremont, California family practice in 2011. The practice already offered in-house testing for cardiac, lung, and a variety of other diseases and conditions, so when medical device manufacturer Mid-mark asked to use his practice as a test site for at-home sleep testing equipment, Tilley readily agreed.

Tilley sends test results to a board-certified sleep specialist for interpretation, but his practice is paid for the test administration component of the service and, where needed, for initiation and management of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Treating Sleep Disorders Can Wake Up Your Bottom Line
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.