Monday, August 8, 2011

C-Pap for Kids: Not Much Fun

Mr. Bear tries out the C-Pap

I took a little jaunt down to the Home Healthcare Company today - the respiratory therapist there set us up with Nolan's C-Pap machine.

She was rather flummoxed when she saw how tiny Nolan is: he is almost four, but he has that blasted flat nasal bridge and is on the small side for his age. There is a mask for toddlers, but the nasal mask is a bit too big. She is going to do some research online to see if she can find anything smaller (she can't - I've already looked). She did mention using a high-flow nasal cannula: this is what they do for premature infants, since they are too small for the typical C-Pap masks. We're not sure if this would work with an almost-four year old child's breathing method, though (infants breath entirely through their nose - a four year old is more likely to open his mouth and lose the pressure splinting open the airway).

Insurance will cover 50% of the machine. The rest will be paid by us, on a monthly basis. C-Pap machines are sold on a rent-to-own platform. Our first bill will be the highest, since that includes the disposable items like the hose, mask, filters, etc. Insurance will cover the rest. Maybe.

The "maybe" comes in the form of a little blue chip that sits inside the machine.

This chip is our police officer. It records exactly how long Nolan uses the machine each night. If he doesn't use it for a minimum of 4 hours each night, the insurance company will refuse to pay for the machine. Then we'll get stuck with the entire bill.

The monitoring chip was the brainchild of insurance companies, who got tired of adult patients requesting a C-Pap and then not using it because it is uncomfortable. Of course, children are a different scenario entirely. Due to other health concerns in young children, frequent congestion or colds may make wearing the C-Pap difficult at times. Let's face it: it is pretty rare for a 4 year old to require C-Pap, and most kids who do require therapy have complex medical issues.

So if Nolan gets sick on the C-Pap and can't wear it for a few nights, insurance won't cover any of the bill. Mr. Blue Chip says so.

He starts using the C-Pap tonight. We'll see how he does. He's been refluxing like crazy since Friday, and has a rattling cough. He may get too sick on C-Pap to make the entire enterprise feasible. In which case we can just stop the rent-to-own deal and we'll only be out $500.

Of course, if C-Pap doesn't work, we're left with a fundoplication and revision supraglottoplasty as our only options.

Despite the hassle and money involved, I really hope this works. We need our little one to grow!


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Praying all goes well!


rouchi said...

Wishing you luck Leah, hope all is well.