Saskatchewan government alters approach to helping patients with sleep apnea
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REGINA, United States — The Saskatchewan government is adjusting plans announced in this year's budget to restrict help for some patients suffering from sleep apnea.
It now says that starting Oct. 1, patients requiring continuous positive airway pressure — or CPAP — machines will be able to purchase them at a discount made available through the government's bulk purchasing process.
That means patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea won't have to pay the full retail price of about $1,500 for a CPAP machine but will be able to receive one on loan at a cost of $275 for the life of the machine.
The government had announced in the budget that it would only provide CPAP coverage for low-income residents receiving Supplementary and Family Health Benefits.
It says it has decided to change its approach following consultations with respirologists and a review of processes in other jurisdictions.
Health Canada describes sleep apnea as a serious disorder that causes breathing to stop repeatedly while a person sleeps.
It says untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, motor vehicle collisions, depression, work-related injuries and decreased sexual function.
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