A new study shows significant savings in health-care expenditures for commercial carriers when their truck drivers’ sleep apnea is treated, according to a new study presented at CHEST 2006, the annual scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Between January 2003 and December 2005, researchers from Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota analyzed 339 commercial truck drivers with newly diagnosed sleep apnea. All drivers received a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for treatment. Data were collected before and after CPAP intervention and included rates of hospital admission, emergency department, office visits, and total health-care spending.

Researchers found that after CPAP intervention, there was an average savings of $538, per member per month, or a 57.4% reduction in per-member-per-month total health-care costs. In addition, inpatient hospital admissions showed a reduction of 91% after CPAP was used. Researchers conclude that companies can enjoy large reductions in corporate health-care by attempting to identify and treat employees with sleep apnea.