Categorized | Sleep Apnea

What Happens During a Sleep Study

Here is the complete process from beginning to end for a patient when a doctor refers for a sleep study:

  1. Referral is sent from your doctor’s office to a sleep lab
  2. The sleep lab then obtains the authorization from the insurance company to bill your insurance for the study
  3. The sleep lab will call you to schedule a time to come in for a consulatation
  4. After the initial consultation with the sleep doctor, they will schedule you to come back for the full overnight sleep study
  5. You go back for the actual study and sleep in a bed in a room, with an overnight lab technician watching you
  6. They connect you to 12 or more nodes on different points on your body to monitor many different “channels”
  7. If you show signs of having a sleeping disorder called sleep apnea, they will wake you up halfway through the night
  8. At this point, they will give you CPAP equipment to test if that helps your sleep apneas
  9. In the morning, you are able to go home
  10. Next, the sleep doctor comes into work, and reads the report that was recorded from your sleep and interprets the data
  11. The sleep study results are then sent back to your primary care physician

I know this sounds like an awfully long and drawn out experience, AND IT IS.  But it relatively inexpensive, only about $3,000-4,000 usually, sometimes as high as $7,000 or maybe more at places like big University Hospital Sleep Labs or large medical foundations polysomnography tests, but that is only because they want to bill your insurance as much as possible to increase their revenues.  Especially watch out if you have a PPO plan, in that case the sleep labs are likely to bill you for as many office visits as they can, and they may want you to actually spend two nights at the lab.  One night for the initial test, and the second one for using the CPAP therapy equipment.  I know this all sounds much like some type of medical insurance scam, and unfortunately it has somewhat turned into that for the sleep medicine world, and the sleep doctors in particular who own sleep labs themselves.  But after reading this, please know that you are at least warned of what is going on out there.  Best of luck and sweet dreams.

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