WASHINGTON – Providers say a recent draft report on the effectiveness of CPAP is questionable, but they worry it could still impact everything from patient confidence in the therapy to adequate access and payment for equipment and services.
The report, released in April by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, states that published studies show little evidence of long-term benefits of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular and other health outcomes.
“I think it was a fairly biased study that selectively reviewed certain data that supported a viewpoint that was maybe predetermined,” said Gary Sheehan, senior vice president, regional operations, for AdaptHealth New England. “It’s hard to know what’s its purpose was, and I don’t think it’s a good representation of the complete long-term benefits of treating OSA.”
It was CMS that asked the AHRQ to evaluate the evidence on the improvement of long-term clinical health outcomes with CPAP treatment, as well as the validity of the criteria used as surrogate outcomes.
There has already been pushback against the draft report by the sleep community, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, but providers say they hope patients hear the full story, too.
“I think the public is very quick to side with whatever (comments become public) instead of doing research,” said Robyn Parrott, president of Detroit, Mich.-based Sleep Solutions. “It’s on Facebook, so it must be true. Whereas if they take the time to ask their physician, the physician will be able to set them straight.”
Stakeholders are concerned that such a report could, ultimately, impact coverage of CPAP therapy for Medicare and beyond.
“The results of this study will drive the decision making not only for the Medicare program but also other federal health insurance programs like Medicaid, as well as commercial payers,” stated AAHomecare in the comments it submitted to the report. “This is critically important in terms of protecting patient access to CPAP, which is the recognized gold standard of care for OSA in the United States and worldwide.”