Tracy store teams with national program to help those with sleep apnea

TRACY – For those who need help regulating their breathing at night but can’t afford the expensive equipment, help is near.

Second Wind CPAP in Tracy is helping to supply a donation program for the Sleep Apnea Association. Second Wind CPAP is a store where people can buy slightly-used equipment, but owner and licensed respiratory therapist Mark Seger said he saw a need for getting equipment to people who couldn’t afford it.

Seger said there are homeless people or people living in temporary shelters who need continuous positive airway pressure machines.

“The American Sleep Apnea Association, a not-for-profit organization, provides CPAP and BPAP equipment for people with indigent status and no discretionary income,” he said.

Seger said the ASAA, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., took over his program and administers the nationwide charity.

“It has been evolving over the last few years,” he said of the donation program.

Seger said the equipment is expensive if the person doesn’t have insurance or if insurance doesn’t cover it.

“It averages about $1,000,” he said.

The need for sleep apnea or other sleep breathing disorder equipment is on the rise, he said.

“There is an upward arc of diagnosis,” he said. “And a lot of people are falling through the cracks. The breathing problems affect their quality of life and if it is severe enough, could be a matter of life or death.”

The ASAA processes the applications for the equipment which Seger has in Tracy. He has gently-used equipment from people who tried it out, but couldn’t get it to work for them.

“The success rate is 50 percent,” he said. “Some people just can’t tolerate it. The positive pressure is difficult to acclimate to.”

Seger said technology has improved and the comfort level has improved, but the success rate is not improving.

Seger said people needing equipment or have equipment to donate should visit to apply. Volunteers are needed to help facilitate the program, he said, because funding is limited.