Commercial Drivers Deserve Better Costs For DOT Testing
CPAP America was recently featured on Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com to discuss how sleep labs, insurance companies, and hospitals are holding commercial drivers hostage to unreasonable pricing tactics, and what you can do about it.
In the wake of the deadly crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed his friend, James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, the issue of trucker fatigue has once again been brought to the national forefront.
Kevin Roper, the driver of the Walmart tractor-trailer that hit Morgan’s limo bus, admitted that he was sleepless for 24 hours prior to the accident. It is undetermined as to whether Roper was simply suffering from driver’s fatigue, or if there were underlying issues that contributed to the accident.
One of the contributors to driver fatigue and drowsiness is sleep apnea. “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) goal is to reduce commercial vehicle related fatalities and injuries. A FMCSA study found is that an estimated 28% of Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders suffered from some form of sleep apnea ranging from mild (17.6%), to moderate (5.8%) to severe (4.7%).”
If you hold a CDL, you may be required by your employer or doctor to be tested for sleep apnea. Depending on the company policy, you might be required to use their company doctor for your DOT physical exam. If this is not a company requirement, you may go to the certified healthcare provider of your choice.
“The current DOT regulations include BMI and neck size as key indicators for sleep apnea that medical examiners will be looking for during recertification physical exams. The DOT currently wants anyone with a BMI of 35 or greater to have a sleep study performed as well as anyone with a neck size of 17 inches or greater (for males) and 16 inches or greater (for females) to have a sleep study done.” The medical examiner will furnish one copy of the results to the person who was examined and complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate. Because “recommendations” were released last year, medical practitioners are erring on the side of caution. Licensed medical practitioners can be held liable for negligence if they suspect sleep apnea but fail to treat it.
The good news is that if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is readily treated and may help prevent and improve such diseases as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Getting tested and treated for sleep apnea is important for driver safety, health and well-being, and livelihood. Having the right treatment and support for sleep apnea can change your life.
Sleep companies and hospitals are fully aware of all of this — and many are holding truckers hostage because of it.
It all starts with a sleep test, which can cost thousands of dollars in a hospital lab setting. Moreover, most insurance companies will only pay a portion of the cost. Depending on your coverage, the remaining portion could cost the average person up to $3,000 for one overnight test, and if you haven’t met your deductible, you can tack on another two or three grand for the second “CPAP trial” test.
Because insurance companies usually have a set group of labs they use, patients typically do not “shop around” based on price because they often feel they have no other choice. You can, and must shop for the best deal! Call other accredited sleep labs in your area, give them your insurance information, and see what your out of pocket costs will be. If you are paying cash, negotiate!
CPAP America works closely with commercial drivers.
While sleep apnea can contribute to CDL drowsiness while on the road (in addition to impacting driver general health and well-being), it is a treatable and preventable condition. Sleep apnea has been linked to a variety of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and most notably, obesity. Commercial drivers getting tested and treated is important to both driver safety and driver health. If you hold a CDL, or are required by your employer or doctor to be tested for sleep apnea, contact CPAP America for all of your testing and treatment needs.
You can buy CPAP Machines, tubing and all of your CPAP supplies at CPAP America, 707 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, NJ 08096. Feel free to contact us at 1-800-569-0167.
You can also reach us via email here.