Financial Analysis of an Intensive Pediatric Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Program

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Abstract

Study Objectives:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in children, but adherence to therapy is low. Our center created an intensive program that aimed to improve adherence. Our objective was to estimate the program's efficacy, cost, revenue and break-even point in a generalizable manner relative to a standard approach.

Methods:

The intensive program included device consignment, behavioral psychology counseling, and follow-up telephone calls. Economic modeling considered the costs, revenue and break-even point. Costs were derived from national salary reports and the Pediatric Health Information System. The 2015 Medicare reimbursement schedule provided revenue estimates.

Results:

Prior to the intensive CPAP program, only 67.6% of 244 patients initially prescribed CPAP appeared for follow-up visits and only 38.1% had titration polysomnograms. In contrast, 81.4% of 275 patients in the intensive program appeared for follow-up visits (p < .001) and 83.6% had titration polysomnograms (p < .001). Medicare reimbursement levels would be insufficient to cover the estimated costs of the intensive program; break-even points would need to be 1.29-2.08 times higher to cover the costs.

Conclusions:

An intensive CPAP program leads to substantially higher follow-up and CPAP titration rates, but costs are higher. While affordable at our institution due to the local payer mix and revenue, Medicare reimbursement levels would not cover estimated costs. This study highlights the need for enhanced funding for pediatric CPAP programs, due to the special needs of this population and the long-term health risks of suboptimally treated obstructive sleep apnea.

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