Man sleep soundly with CPAP machineBy Jena Williams

A recent report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine analyzed the health insurance and sick day costs of drivers who had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and found that leaving the condition untreated could prove costly to employers.

The researchers compared the costs of those with OSA who received treatment and those who did not. They found that the annual savings in medical and disability costs was more than $6,000 per driver if they were treated, compared with those who were not.

Lost workdays due to short term disability were significantly lower in the first year of treatment, an average of 4.4 days, compared with untreated drivers. This finding suggests that OSA that is left untreated will cause a driver to need more time off from work. Medical costs were also significantly reduced in the first and second years after the beginning of treatment for sleep apnea related costs.

The drivers in the study who received treatment used either a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP) or Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) treatment.

The study, “The Long-Term Health Plan and Disability Cost Benefit of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Population,” was conducted by Benjamin Hoffman, Dustin D. Wingenbach, Amy N. Kagey, Justin L. Schaneman and David Kasper.  It was published in May 2010 and is free to subscribers.

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