Employer-driven sleep apnea program now available

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Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics, creators of a sleep apnea detection and treatment program targeted toward the commercial vehicle industry, announced today, Aug. 23, full availability of its solution for enhancing truck driver safety and lowering health care costs for motor carriers. The announcement follows completion of nearly three years of design and testing of Precision Pulmonary’s patent-pending online screening tool and sleep apnea detection and treatment program.

In conjunction with Schneider National, Dr. Mark Berger, president of Houston-based Precision Pulmonary, reported that all necessary aspects of research and development were covered. In addition, Houston-based Sysco Corp., a North American foodservice marketer and distributor, will begin the program in the fall. “Working with Schneider to fine-tune our program was, and continues to be, a great opportunity,” Berger says. “We are very pleased with the results they have experienced so far and look forward to working with Sysco.”

Sysco will begin using the online screening tool with a select number of drivers in the fall; pending the results from the initial testing, additional areas of the company will begin testing as well. “We recognize sleep apnea as a problem that we can address in a proactive manner,” says Sandra Carson, assistant vice president of safety and crisis management for Sysco. “From what we have seen, Precision Pulmonary’s program is designed to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat our employees, and we are looking forward to getting started.”

“When government and industry-led sleep apnea studies showed that 28 percent of truck drivers were at risk, we knew this was an area in which we needed to focus,” says Wendy Sullivan, RN/occupational health manager at Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National. “Precision Pulmonary’s program is designed for trucking. They understand the drivers’ world of ‘don’t take me out of service’ and ‘don’t make me wait’. That was very important to us and to the success of the program.”

According to Angela Fish, Schneider National director of benefits, post treatment for the 778 drivers that were found to have sleep apnea and treated for it, Schneider National is realizing:

  • A savings of $500-$708 in health care costs per treated driver per month;
  • A 30 percent reduction in accident frequency due to eliminating driver fatigue; and
  • A 1.9 times improvement in driver retention.
  • “In partnership with Precision Pulmonary, we reduced our healthcare costs an average of 58 percent for our treated drivers,” Fish says. “This program has been a huge success for us.”