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Dr. Vivian Asare Awarded AASM Foundation Community Sleep Health Grant

October 27, 2022
by Sarah L. Spaulding

Vivian Asare, MD, assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine); associate medical director, Yale Centers for Sleep Medicine; and vice chief, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine), has been awarded the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) Foundation Community Sleep Health grant to provide funding for the Yale Compassionate CPAP Service. The program will provide uninsured and underinsured patients equipment and assistance to offset costs of sleep apnea therapy.

For patients with sleep apnea, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is a device that can be prescribed to treat the condition, which causes people to stop breathing when they are asleep.

Previously reliant on charitable programs for assistance in obtaining refurbished CPAP machines for a lesser cost, patients in the New Haven, Conn. area in need of sleep apnea therapy faced major challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic as these programs were forced to discontinue CPAP distribution in the face of supply issues and overwhelming demand.

The AASM Foundation Community Sleep Health Grant will fund the provision of CPAP machines and supplies to uninsured and underinsured patients who otherwise cannot afford therapy over the next 12 months, until charitable mechanisms through durable medical equipment providers and CPAP manufacturers are restored.

The funding will allow any patient reporting financial hardship as a barrier to proceeding with CPAP therapy to be referred to the Compassionate CPAP Service to receive a device, associated supplies, and an education bundle. The bundle includes patient information on a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, educational materials, helpful tips, instructional videos on how to use, clean, and maintain CPAP machines, a “who-to-call-when” patient flow sheet, and a “CPAP Survival Guide.”

Asare expressed her gratitude for the award. "Unfortunately, the cost of CPAP equipment and supplies remains a barrier to treatment for many uninsured or underinsured patients, a problem that has only worsened in recent years due to the pandemic and the Philips CPAP recall. The resources provided by this grant will pay for equipment and supplies for patients in need, helping to ensure equitable access to compassionate care regardless of financial circumstances and insurance status,” she said.

Naftali Kaminski, MD, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Professor of Medicine (pulmonary) and section chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, is excited for the care that will be made possible by the grant. “This work highlights our commitment to expand the access to care for obstructive sleep apnea, an important and relatively undiagnosed and treated condition in populations of need. Dr. Asare has been a champion of these efforts, and I have no doubt that her commitment, dedication, and resourcefulness will continue to expand access and help our community,” said Kaminski.

The Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is one of the eleven sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about Yale-PCCSM, visit PCCSM’s website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Submitted by Julie Parry on October 27, 2022