Testing and treating Sleep Apnea is one way the VA is providing high-quality medical care, but more veterans need to take advantage of it. 

Many of our country’s servicemen and veterans suffer the effects for sleep disorders and could benefit from treatment.  Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are increasing in this country, and our military personnel are at even higher risk.  An article earlier this year explains their increased risk.  Thankfully, our government has recognized the need for our veterans to receive high quality medical care for sleep disorders as well as other medical conditions, and they created the VA Community Care Network to take care of our veterans.  

The VA Community Care Network (CCN) was created to provide veterans with high-quality care in a timely manner, withing reason proximity, and with the current medical approaches.  It is comprised of a many medical providers with many types of services to take care of patients in all states and territories.  It allows veterans located anywhere in the country to receive the medical treatment they want and need without having to pay for it themselves or drive long distances to VA hospitals to receive it.

Home sleep testing is one of the services that the VA has recognized can, and often should, be provided by a group outside the VA. Testing companies, such as Millennium Sleep Lab have joined the Community Care network and offer veterans a simple, low or no cost way to find out if they have sleep apnea.  Once diagnosed, the VA will then pay from treatment, and the veteran may even qualify for a service-related disability.

Testing for sleep apnea can usually be done in the patient’s home. Most sleep apnea is OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), meaning the airway is collapsing during sleep and causing breathing to stop for at least 10 seconds multiple times and hour. OSA is usually diagnosed with a home sleep test (HST) with a small testing device (about the size of a smart phone) wore at night in the comfort of home.

The VA covers sleep testing and recognizes the importance of treating OSA because it can lead to many other conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, atrial fibrilation, and stroke. The VA has even classified the sleep testing as a service than can be performed by an outside company.  To make it even more simple, some testing companies, like with Millennium Sleep Lab, ship the testing device to the veteran anywhere in the country. In that situation the distance to medical provider is 0 miles, because the veteran doesn’t need to leave his or her home! 

Once a sleep test shows a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the VA will pay for treatment which is usually pressure therapy with a CPAP, although it can often be treated with an oral appliance to pull the jaw forward and keep the airway open.

Millennium Sleep Lab is proud to part of the Community Care Network (CCN) to test our veteran for sleep apnea and get them on the road to better sleep. This means that a VA provider (in a medical center or at a remote facility) can order a home sleep test through the CCN network. If Millennium is selected, the test will be scheduled for a convenient date. Equipment will be shipped to patient’s home and Millennium will provider personal instruction via phone or teleconference.  The test will be billed to Optum or TriWest, and the patient will pay nothing. Millennium is also a Tricare provider and in-network with most commercial insurance plans to offer a quality test with minimal cost to the patient.

If your partner complains about your snoring or you are tired of feeling tired, ask your doctor to order a home sleep test. If you are a veteran, let them know you want a CCN provider like Millennium Sleep Lab that is a CCN provider in all 48 states (CCN regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 in their terminology). Veterans should not have to drive for miles just to pick up or return equipment when there is company that will send it to their doorstep!