Almost everyone who uses home oxygen therapy equipment is aware of the changes affecting their products and services.
Medicare has identified Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT) as the most expensive category for home equipment and is actively changing reimbursement to Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers to reduce its cost.
Consequently, home care providers are evaluating options to lower their expenses by focusing on oxygen equipment that need minimal services. Oxygen users want products that meet their needs, and HME providers should find ways to stay in business. So what do you do if you are an oxygen user? Become consumer savvy.
The savvy consumer needs to be aware of the capabilities, limitations, and applications of a home oxygen system to ensure that the device they are using is providing the quality and quantity of oxygen they expect. Complications will occur if the patient is not receiving therapeutic oxygen from the device.
Wearing oxygen and not oxygenating (in other words, not getting enough oxygen) is costly for both the patient as well as those paying for the oxygen.
Consumers can take responsibility for their oxygen therapy by understanding how their equipment works. They should talk to their health care providers to evaluate their oxygen system at all activity levels to ensure saturation stays above 90 percent. In addition, patient consumers should ask questionslots of questionschallenging what they are getting, why they are receiving a certain oxygen system and available alternatives. The savvy consumer cannot assume the clinicians, providers or the medical system are watching out for their best interests related to a quality of life with LTOT.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) have home Oxygen; more Than Just a Piece of equipment By: Robert McCoy RRT FAARC, Managing Director, Valley Inspired Products, Inc. become a popular option for patients as they are learning about these devices through consumer advertising. These devices are an excellent option if used correctly. Oxygen production from most concentrators occurs through a process called pressure swing adsorption (PSA). Room air is pulled into the concentrator and run through a sieve material that filters out nitrogen. It is the most efficient method of making oxygen in the home, and all concentrators (stationary or portable) use this technique.
The catch is that the amount of sieve determines the amount of oxygen produced in a minute. POCs range in size based on the amount the POC, the less amount of oxygen the device can produce. The smallest POCs make the least amount of oxygen. If a patient needs more oxygen than a POC can produce, the device is not defective: the choice of POCs is the problem.
If you plan on using the POC with air travel, make sure you are not at the highest setting on the device while on the ground. You will need to increase the setting when the plane is at altitude as the cabin is pressurized at 8,000 feet which is like breathing on top of a mountain (thin air). Many patients believe that if their oxygen saturation drops while using a POCs at their prescribed setting, it is their disease that is responsible; however, many times it is the device that has a limited oxygen production or an inappropriate label for oxygen setting.
Again, the savvy consumer needs to investigate and solve problems by learning about the capabilities of the product they are using.
Effective oxygen therapy can breathe new life into a patients lungs that have been damaged through disease. Prescribed correctly and delivered efficiently maintaining adequate oxygen saturations at all activity levels, oxygen can improve the quality and quantity of life and prevent many complications.
Patients need to be their own advocates by learning as much as they can about their disease, the devices they are prescribed andall options for treating their disease.
Now is the time to be a very savvy consumer of health care products and services.