For Our Veterans

Navigating Sleep Apnea Care

Scenario 1: Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and Have a CPAP Machine You’re Not Using

  1. Contact Your Doctor: Reach out to your VA-contracted primary care provider (PCP) or a VA sleep physician. Inform them that you seek treatment with an oral appliance for your diagnosed sleep apnea.
  2. Specify TDSS Provider: Mention you’d like to be referred to a Texas Dental Sleep Services (TDSS) provider. Choose the TDSS provider nearest to you.
  3. Explain CPAP Issues: Explain why you’re not using the CPAP machine, whether it’s due to discomfort, leakage, or other reasons. If you never received a CPAP machine because you knew you wouldn’t use it, inform your doctor about this as well.
  4. Potential Re-Evaluation: Be prepared to undergo another home sleep test if your physician deems it necessary for treatment authorization.
  5. Telemedicine Option: TDSS is developing a telemedicine program. This would allow for consultations at home or office, mailing the home sleep test to you, and treatment at a TDSS dental office instead of a VA hospital.

Scenario 2: Suspecting Sleep Apnea but Not Diagnosed

  1. Reach Out for Evaluation: Contact your VA-contracted PCP or a VA sleep physician if you suspect you have sleep apnea.
  2. Undergo a Home Sleep Study: You’ll likely need an evaluation and a home sleep study to confirm the diagnosis.
  3. Oral Appliance Option: If diagnosed with sleep apnea, and you prefer an oral appliance over CPAP, it’s covered under your VA benefits.
  4. Request Referral and Authorization: Ask your physician to request treatment authorization and refer you to a Community Care representative.
  5. Choose a TDSS Provider: Request a referral to a VA-contracted TDSS provider near you.
  6. Benefits of Oral Appliance: Research indicates that for some patients, an oral appliance can be more effective than inconsistent or no use of CPAP.
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