Testing for sleep apnea is becoming big business. Insurers want people to know that snoring doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a danger lurking in the bedroom. Although apnea can lead to serious problems, some think that over-testing is underway:
Each night at a hospital sleep lab can cost $1,900 and is usually mostly covered by a patient’s health insurance. Some patients end up spending two nights at the lab — one to test for apnea and the second to try the CPAP machine.
It’s no secret that the sleep business can be lucrative for physicians. A website for Aviisha, a sleep testing company, has a special page for physicians showing a picture of a doctor with a stack of money in his lab coat pocket. And in February, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is offering a seminar on the “business of sleep medicine for physicians” at a golf resort in Arizona.