In June 2021, medical device manufacturer Philips recalled many of its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines. These devices, which are critical for treating conditions like sleep apnea, put patients at risk of serious health problems because of the sound abatement foam used in the machine.
Many Medicare beneficiaries rely on Philips CPAP devices. When the insurance program alerted its patients to this issue, chaos ensued due to poor communication and a lack of cohesion with medical professionals.
Does Medicare Cover CPAP Devices?
Medicare is a federal healthcare program for people aged 65 or older and persons with certain disabilities. Depending on the type of coverage that a beneficiary holds, Medicare will pay for various medical services, including hospital stays, hospice care, and routine doctor’s appointments.
If you have Medicare and were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you may receive some coverage for CPAP therapy. This coverage will begin with a three-month trial, which will include treatment, devices, and accessories.
After the trial period is over, Medicare will continue to pay for CPAP therapy if your doctor evaluates your condition and concludes that the treatment is helping your sleep apnea. There are some out-of-pocket expenses associated with this treatment, but Medicare will cover the majority of the costs.
Why Were Philips CPAP Machines Recalled?
Philips CPAP machines were recalled due to the degradation of PE-PUR sound abatement foam. This foam helps reduce the sound and vibration that CPAP machines often make, helping patients sleep easier. However, it was discovered that the foam may degrade and release particles into users’ airways, leading to serious consequences.
Degraded foam and toxic gases from these CPAP machines can contain dangerous and potentially cancer-causing chemicals. When these particles enter the human body, they can cause serious health problems, such as the following:
- Damage to the kidneys, liver, and other organs
- Problems with the respiratory tract, such as asthma and inflammation
- Cancer in any part of the body
Medicare’s Response to the Philips CPAP Recall
When a CPAP machine is found to cause devastating health effects, the patients using the device deserve to know about the problem as quickly and clearly as possible. Additionally, they deserve to understand their options for what to do next. Unfortunately, Medicare failed to provide an adequate response, leading to confusion and frustration.
Medicare issued an alert to inform beneficiaries about the recall, but this message was sent to patients who do not use CPAP machines as well as sleep apnea patients. According to this alert, if the equipment is less than five years old, Philips is responsible for performing the repairs or providing a replacement at no cost. If your machine is more than five years old, Medicare will help pay for a replacement or repairs.
However, the alert included language that made it sound like healthcare providers had replacement machines ready for patients to claim. Unfortunately, physicians did not have these machines available, and obtaining a replacement could take months.
As a result, these medical professionals were overwhelmed with calls from angry and scared patients looking to replace their CPAP devices. Had Medicare included clearer and more accurate language in its initial alert, this situation could have been avoided.
What to Do If You Use a Recalled Philips CPAP Device
If you use a recalled Philips CPAP device and receive coverage from Medicare, you are eligible to receive a replacement or repair. You should register your device on Philips’ website to determine whether your machine is affected by the recall and initiate the repair and replacement process. This process can take up to 12 months to complete.
In the meantime, you should meet with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Because sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition, you should not stop using the machine entirely. While you are waiting for a repair or replacement, your doctor will likely recommend that you continue to use your device if the benefits are greater than the risks.
Your doctor may also recommend a CPAP machine from another company. You may also undergo alternative treatment, such as sleep apnea surgery, weight loss initiatives, or nasal decongestants.
Your Legal Options as a Philips CPAP Consumer
The Philips CPAP device recall has affected thousands of people who rely on these machines, leading to devastating health problems. Replacing a CPAP device not only takes a long time, but it can also be very expensive and stressful, even for Medicare beneficiaries. In these situations, you deserve justice.
If you develop health problems because of your CPAP device, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer for the losses that you suffered. By filing a claim against Philips, you could recover financial compensation to help pay for:
- Past and future medical expenses associated with your health condition
- The out-of-pocket cost of replacing your CPAP device
- Lost wages and a loss of future earnings and benefits
- Disability accommodations that you require for your condition
- Pain and suffering, such as chronic pain, permanent disability, emotional distress, and the loss of quality of life
As long as you can prove that the machine was defective and that the defect caused your health condition, you could recover a financial settlement for your losses. Evidence like medical records, expert testimony, and scientific evidence can help prove your right to fair compensation.
Speak to a Philips CPAP Recall Attorney
It can be difficult to navigate the aftermath of the Philips CPAP recall, especially if you are a Medicare beneficiary. If you find yourself in this situation, you need a lawyer who can guide you through the process, connect you with relevant medical experts, and help you recover the compensation that you deserve.
A Philips CPAP recall attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your right to a settlement and craft a compelling case in your favor. He or she can also calculate the full extent of your potential damages and use this information to advocate for your highest possible award.
With this level of legal support, you can reduce the stress and complexity of the process and make progress toward justice. After your diagnosis, contact a Philips CPAP recall attorney to discuss your legal options.