I need advice… and an update.

Living On Oxygen for Life

I’m alive!!! I know… It’s been since November 2018 that I’ve written on my blog. There’s huge reason for that. We all know that the holidays are difficult being that it’s stressful and cold, not to mention, it’s also flu season. So, I stayed indoors a lot. K got me a PUPPY! I love her but she is super energetic and wore me out for the first month. Who am I kidding… she still wears me out but it’s not as bad as it was when we brought her home. FYI: She gets car sick. UGH! For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram know most of this. In fact, if you don’t follow (which is totally ok!), I have a section down on the bottom of the right column of my blog that shows my Facebook and Instagram feed! Yay how convenient, right? No need to have the app!

I also ended up in the hospital in January due to severe shortness of breath and inflammation of my lungs and the doctors couldn’t figure out what caused it. That is so frustrating, am I right? I’m sure you can see me rolling my eyes. haha! When I got home from the hospital, I felt good but a week later, I started feeling worse than when I went into the hospital. You can imagine how nervous and scared I became. Don’t worry though. I put my thinking cap on as well as had a CT Scan with Contrast and a Echocardiogram that showed NO PULMONARY EMBOLISM (Yay!) but it did show that my Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction (LVEF) was 35%. Normal is 55% – 70%. That means my left ventricle (bottom left chamber of my heart) is have a hard time pumping out oxygenated blood to my body. YIKES!

I noticed with my SOB, since my doctor increased my Thyroid medicine, Syntroid, back in November, my breathing became much worse over the course of 2 months time. So, without telling my doctor after I started getting worse again in February, I split the pill in half. I do NOT recommend doing medicine adjustments without discussing it with your doctor. I plan on telling him. Within a weeks time, I started breathing better. K and I started becoming optimistic about my future again. My cardiologist started my on Entresto. He sent my home with samples and asked me to ask my Pulmonary Hypertension doctor to check into any possible interactions it might have with Tracleer/bosentan because he’s not super familiar with Tracleer. It took my PH doctor nearly a week but she gave me the green light to start taking it. I’ve been on it for a week and a half and I think it is causing a moderately annoying side affect of itching on my head, face, shoulders and the back of my neck. So, now I need to call my cardiologist about that. *sigh*

But all of this is NOT what I need advice on. Sorry! I’m getting to it. *grin*

Last Tuesday, I received a phone call from my DME company, Lincare, who services my LIQUID OXYGEN. They told me, as of April 1, 2019, they are stopping all liquid oxygen service. I freaked, even though I was warned by one of my wonderful blog readers, Cindy. Thank you so much Cindy! Lincare gave me the names of 4 companies in my area who still service Liquid Oxygen. One of which I’ve used before years ago and one of them is a Nationwide company called Apria.

What I need help with is: Can any of my readers, who have had experience with Apria, tell me your thoughts of this company. If you have an opinion, please don’t just say that you like them or don’t like them… Please tell me why in the comment section. This could potentially help so many people who use Lincare for their liquid oxygen and have high flow oxygen use that won’t typically benefit well from switching to e-tanks for portability purposes.

To go on vacations, we loved Lincare because they also are a Nationwide company who arranged refilling my liquid oxygen reservoirs at our vacation destinations as long as they had a shop there. Selecting a local company for my future liquid service would definitely make it difficult for any future road trips which is crushing to K. Ok, me too but K REALLY loves the beach!

So, if you can help me with your opinion of Apria, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you so much! *HUGS*

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “I need advice… and an update.

  1. Oxygen dependent ,live in Denver Colo. Apria is my oxygen company, and was the provider for 90% of my clients. Retired home care provider ,other than an occasional glitch ,I have never heard of any problems with Apria. They are efficient, timely and still people oriented, one of the few companies where I feel important (to me that’s priceless) .Happy Breathing to You

    • Thank Michelle. Is it difficult to get the exact or close to kind and the amount of liquid oxygen reservoirs I need? I definitely need a small 50 or 75lb for my van and the ones in my house along with a concentrator that goes up to at least a 5L continuous flow. Need 2 portable continuous flow as well to maintain my lifestyle and be able to go to doctor appointments. *hugs*

  2. Christine:

    No answer here, but I wanted to share a statistic that might be explanatory. I just read some stats about liquid oxygen use. CMS (Medicare) claims data shows that in 2009 (the year competitive bidding began) over 45,000 Medicare recipients were on liquid oxygen. In 2015, there were only about 8,000 on liquid oxygen.

    Now, some of that is certainly because of improved technology with portable oxygen concentrators. But a significant amount of it can be “blamed” on declining reimbursement for oxygen by Medicare. With competitive bidding, companies compete by trying to find the least expensive system that will work for a patient.

    Sadly, that means that patients that need liquid oxygen systems because of flow rates and usage have a hard time accessing liquid.

    That’s no excuse and probably not much help, but thought you’d be interested in the stats. Good luck and God bless!

    • Hi Steve. Thank you so much for your information. Yes, Lincare said they are having to stop servicing liquid oxygen because of they’re losing money on it. I have a feeling that it’s not just Medicare being cheap but most all insurance companies because liquid oxygen isn’t reusable and affordable. My opinion on that.

      Technology just isn’t improving fast enough for us high flow users. I currently use 7 1/2 – 8 LPM now.

      *hugs*

  3. If they are still providing liquid in your area, you might want to ask them if they continue to plan to provide it in the future. I know they discontinued liquid O2 in my area (Boston) 5 years ago. I hope it works out for you!

  4. Hi Christine,

    I’m so glad you are feeling a bit better and hope you can get back to status quo.

    I have lots of experience with Apria. They have been the primary DME for me since about 2003. I’ve only used other companies when they didn’t have something I needed. You know how it goes, once your locked into a contract. On the positive side, they are a national company, they have offices everywhere. I’ve never had any trouble traveling. I’ve gone out of state multiple times, I even had oxygen delivered to Kauai on time, as requested. But unfortunately there is a But …

    The “But” is they are so large the operate using call centers. Their customer service seems to come out of India and it’s difficult to communicate with them. I’ve developed a working relationship with a couple of people in the local branch and they are as nice and professional as can be. They also cannot give me (or any patient) their branch phone number. This means any problem no matter how large or small goes through the call center. The branch location is also not very conducive to just showing up. Although I have done that a time or two. They have also stopped doing as many home deliveries as they used to. I have had to go pick things up, whereas they used to deliver everything. I’ve never had a serious equipment problem not addressed. But I have nearly lost my mind with them over small issues such as replacement bipap equipment, oxygen tubing, and portable oxygen concentrator maintenance. I’ve wasted more hours than I’m willing to count over billing. We are currently going back and forth over a bill and they tried to refuse me replacement bipap equipment over the outstanding balance. I had to get stern, but I got my equipment.

    In all, I would give them a 2 out of 5 stars. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I think it’s important to note that I’m in California, not Texas, and also that I do not use liquid oxygen. I hope this information helps you.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

    – Chastity

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Chastity, thank you so much for your help. There are a few red flags from what you’ve told me. I don’t like the call center in India idea, the fact they frown on showing up at the local office, or the fact I’d have to possibly pick up equipment.

      With Lincare being nationwide, they have local offices and I can call the local office anytime for refills or equipment problems. They are really good to their customers. I’ll miss them.

  5. If it is not one thing it is another. LOL. ;o/ So glad you figured it out and are feeling better! I just started infusions of Xolair and am noticing side effects. Itching is one of them. Which I had already with the Lupus. LOL. And I have had a few bloody noses. So now I need to figure that out. LOL 🙂 So awesome to have a love bug. I miss mine. Can’t really have pets now. Happy days to you!

  6. I’m late coming in, but have experience with Apria. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. I used to get my oxygen equipment from a local pharmacy when I lived in North Carolina and they met all of my needs and I never had any billing issues. When I moved to Texas my only choice was Apria. I’ve been off oxygen for about 2 years now and am still receiving bills from them from almost 3 years ago. My insurance company said I don’t owe them and to have them call them but they refuse to and the numbers keep changing. Apria also wouldn’t give me a reference number for the bill because they said their system is different from my insurance company. It was a hassle getting my deliveries also that I had to start driving to pick them up myself. The rules changed often about how many tanks I could have and when my delivery date was. It’s a big inconvenience when you need it!

    I found your blog when I first went on oxygen and was scared and didn’t know much. I like checking in and seeing how you are doing. Phew this summer weather… I mean spring… fellow Texan… I can imagine you are keeping inside! *hugs*

    • I’m glad you left your comment about Apria. It makes me feel better about not going with them after all. They had told me that they still serviced liquid oxygen in my area but then told my doctor when they contacted Apria, they do not provide liquid to my area.

      We only wanted to go with them because they had 10LPM concentrators and could provide me with both concentrator & liquid. Makes traveling on vacations a lot easier. Requires less liquid to go with us. Now I’m on all liquid with a local company that I have been with before and are really good to me.

      It sounds like Apria can be a real pain for some people. I was very nervous about a company using India for their call center. That greatly disturbed me.

      Welcome to Texas Spring weather for the next week and then it’s all Summer Summer Summer until Winterish kicks in. 😁 I stay inside a lot. *hugs* ❤️

Thank you for posting a comment. All comments will be reviewed for spam before being posted on this blog. It's only to prevent a spam overload. Thank you! .... Christine

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s