What to know about sleep apnea
Before heading to orientation for Prime Inc., you may have questions regarding sleep apnea and screening measures to ensure Prime Drivers are safe and ready for the road. Prime Inc. partners with Cardinal Sleep to offer onsite sleep apnea testing, solutions, and equipment. Cardinal Sleep helps answer some of the most common questions from new drivers below.
Frequently asked questions
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when your breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two types of Sleep Apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is the more common of the two and is caused when the soft tissue in the back of your airway collapses during sleep. This causes an Apnea. Apnea stands for absence of breathing. Apneas can cause the oxygen level in the blood to drop, depriving your brain and organs of oxygen. When the brain is deprived of oxygen it can cause disruptions in your sleep cycle. These disruptions can keep you from getting restorative sleep or REM sleep. Unlike Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath resulting Apnea. Leaving Sleep Apnea untreated puts your body at risk for stroke, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and Type II diabetes.
Why is it a safety concern for truck drivers?
A study sponsored by the FMCSA and conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that 28% of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe Sleep Apnea. In addition to the health risks associated with Sleep Apnea, leaving it untreated can cause daytime sleepiness, fatigue, vision and focus problems, and a delay in response and reflex time. All these symptoms can put you and the motoring public at risk. Keeping you and the public safe is our first priority.
Who is required to take the sleep study?
All drivers are not required to have a sleep study. Currently, the FMCSA has guidelines as to who should be referred for a Sleep Assessment. You can learn more here on the FMCSA website. If the DOT physician refers you for a sleep study on your physical or if you have a sleep assessment done at Cardinal Sleep and the physician determines you need to have a sleep study, then you will be required to take one. If you have Sleep Apnea, the Physician will determine if you need to be placed on therapy.
What happens if I have sleep apnea?
The most common treatment for Sleep Apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or PAP therapy. It a small machine that provides positive airway pressure via a mask, which keeps your airway open and allows you to breath normally so the oxygen level in your blood stays within a normal range and does not cause disruptions in your brain activity or deprive your organs of oxygen.
Do I have to pay for the sleep study & CPAP MAchine?
You will be responsible for the sleep study and equipment costs if it is determined you need them. If you choose to use Cardinal Sleep, the onsite sleep service provider at Prime Inc., the cost can be put through payroll deduction and broken into weekly payments.
Cardinal Sleep has a contract with Prime Inc. which helps keep costs lower than a study in a hospital setting. If you test in a normal range and there is no indication of Sleep Apnea, Prime will pay for your sleep study, and there is zero cost to you.
Do I have to use Cardinal Sleep?
You do not have to use Cardinal Sleep for your sleep study or equipment. However, the contract with Prime allows them to keep their cost much lower than the hospital setting and they will price match on any replacement equipment through licensed DME providers. Cardinal Sleep has Board Certified Sleep physicians who Interpret your sleep study and have the results to you within 24 hours so you can get back out on the road. If you choose to go through another provider for your sleep study and equipment, the equipment must be compatible with Cardinal Sleep so you can be monitored for compliance.
Note: Home Sleep Tests are not accepted by Prime Inc. or Trinity Healthcare (DOT Physician’s Office onsite at Prime Inc.).
What compliance is required to drive for Prime?
Cardinal Sleep reports weekly and monthly compliance to safety on a weekly basis. To drive for Prime Inc, compliance is defined as using your CPAP a minimum of 4 hours each night for at least 70% of the time reported. If new to Prime Inc, you must have at least 30 days of usage with at least 70% of the time reported.