Sask. changes stance on sleep-apnea machines
Provincial budget initially limited services to low-income families, machines will now be available on loan
Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health is altering its stance on sleep-apnea machines.
Starting Oct. 1, the province will allow patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea to receive a machine on loan at a cost of $275 for the life of the machine.
In the provincial budget released this spring, the province said it would only offer continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to low-income people receiving health benefits.
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"Following consultation with respirologists and review of processes in other jurisdictions, we've determined that the same annual savings could be achieved from an alternate approach," Health Minister Jim Reiter said in a media release Wednesday.
"This approach will reduce costs for patients and allow better access for those who need it, while still achieving the same savings for the province."
The machines allow a steady airflow to people who have difficulty breathing while they sleep. Sleep apnea has been linked to everything from obesity to depression.
The province said the full cost of a CPAP machine totals around $1,500.
This isn't the first time the provincial government has changed its stance on cuts made in the 2017 budget.
After cutting funding for funeral services for people on social assistance, the Ministry of Social Services changed its policy and will now pay a maximum of $700 on top of the $2,100 flat fee that will be provided for burials.