Buying a new CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea and snoring can be overwhelming and confusing. Though patients often focus on cost and coverage, patients don't know the important questions to ask when making a decision where to buy their new CPAP machine.
Here's a top 5 list of questions to ask prospective sleep labs, durable medical equipment (DME) sellers, and online CPAP equipment companies:
- Is your CPAP machine new or used equipment?
- Is your CPAP machine's warranty from the manufacturer or the seller?
- Is your CPAP machine's warranty coverage for replacement or repair?
- What is your Texas state license number?
- Is my CPAP machine serviced locally in Austin or by call center?
"Is your CPAP machine new or used equipment?"
Some companies resell used or refurbished CPAP machines and may not, necessarily, disclose this upfront. The fact that a machine is used or refurbished by the sleep lab or Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company may be buried somewhere in a mountain of paperwork.
The problem with used or refurbished CPAP machines is similar to buying a used car: used equipment may have partial, expired, or voided manufacturer warranty coverage. When you buy a used car, dealers are required to provide you with certain plain-language disclosures and supplemental coverage. Not every sleep lab or DME company will provide that disclosure on used CPAP machines.
So, if you are buying a CPAP machine from a sleep lab, DME, or online company, make sure to ask them if the CPAP machine is brand new and unopened. Insist on the company only opening the machine from its original manufacturer packaging in your presence to ensure you are receiving an unused medical device.
"Is your CPAP machine's warranty from the manufacturer or the seller?"
Warranty coverage is critical for CPAP machines because of the cost, expense, and hassle of getting a new one if your equipment breaks or stops working. Because of the serious health risks of untreated obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, nightly usage of your CPAP is critical. Therefore, your CPAP machine's warranty coverage is critical to understanding now before you make your purchase to ensure uninterrupted therapy and treatment in the event something happens to your machine.
Many sleep labs, DME companies, and online medical equipment resellers offer limited warranty coverage from their company. In other words, if something breaks, you contact the company you bought the machine from for repair. The problem with this is obvious: if that company is closed or goes out of business, you have no warranty coverage on your CPAP machine. Now you have to go through the time, hassle, and cost to find another company to repair your unit (often out of your own pocket), or worse, buy a new CPAP machine altogether.
In the nearly two decades SleepSomatics has been operating as Austin's top-rated sleep lab, we have seen more sleep clinics and practices close or cease operations then have opened new. In fact, there are very few remaining sleep disorders testing and treatment center practices that were open in 1999 when SleepSomatics opened that are still in practice today. A prominent practice closed unexpectedly in Pflugerville just last year alone, and when these clinics close, their patients often don't find out until it is too late.
So, if you are buying a CPAP machine, make sure to confirm if the warranty coverage is from the manufacturer or the seller. The manufacturers are large, often-public traded corporations in business for decades, and that provides patients more assurance that they can get help if something breaks on their CPAP machine.
"Is your CPAP machine's warranty coverage for replacement or repair?"
How your CPAP machine's warranty is services is as important as who is servicing the warranty itself. "Replacement" Warranties (like the ones SleepSomatics exclusively uses with our CPAP machines) mean that if your equipment breaks in the warranty period, the manufacturer replaces the entire CPAP machine outright. Simple, effective, and fast.
However, "Repair" Warranties entail that the CPAP machine is returned to the seller (or manufacturer) for repairs that can sometimes take days of shipping and weeks of repair and return shipping time. If you have obstructive sleep apnea and oxygen less, the risks to your health from a heart attack or stroke (not to mention the sleepiness and brain fog when trying to drive) are almost as problematic as the disruptive, loud snoring that is now disturbing your spouse or bed partner. Waiting weeks for repair and shipping are not viable options.
So, when purchasing your CPAP machine, make sure to ask if the manufacturer warranty is a "Replacement" Warranty for fastest service and care.
"What is your Texas state license number?"
Texas sleep labs, sleep clinics, and DME are not necessarily required to obtain a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) license from the State of Texas. However, licensure does subject a company to strict oversight from the state, including (most importantly), a requirement that the company maintain serial number logs in the event of manufacturer recalls or safety alerts.
So, when you are selecting a sleep lab or company to purchase a CPAP machine from, consider working only with a Texas Licensed device distributor to ensure recall notifications and safety notices are filed and you are notified if there are issues with your medical equipment.
"Is my CPAP machine serviced locally in Austin or by call center?"
Sometimes you have problems with your CPAP machine. Whether something breaks, stops working, your snoring returns, or your kids play with (and potentially change) the prescription settings, problems with CPAP often arise. When there are problems, you want to know if you'll be working with a local, Austin-based clinical team, or a rotating, out-of-state call center for your ongoing needs.
So, when purchasing a CPAP machine (particularly if purchasing it from an online vendor or internet-based company), be sure to find out how ongoing servicing of your equipment is handled.
"I need help buying my CPAP machine."
Buying a CPAP machine can be confusing, but deciding on a sleep disorders testing and treatment center is simple. Consider Austin's top-rated sleep clinic servicing central Texas since 1999, SleepSomatics Diagnostic Center.
The benefits of SleepSomatics CPAP:
- SleepSomatics only sells brand new, unopened CPAP equipment.
- SleepSomatics CPAP warranties are from the manufacturer.
- SleepSomatics CPAP come with full, manufacturer replacement warranties.
- SleepSomatics CPAP is licensed by the State of Texas Department of State Health Services as a licensed Device Distributor (#1001125).
- All SleepSomatics CPAP services are provided locally, on-site in Austin, and face-to-face with the same clinical team that was awarded a 2016 'Best of Yelp' Service Award.
If you want help, give SleepSomatics a call at (512) 323-9253. Or, schedule your first appointment through our website at www.sleepsomatics.com/schedule today.