Not all hyperbaric centers are equal. When choosing a treatment center for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), it is important to understand and consider your options. This guide will outline the attributes of different centers to help you make your decision. Learning about the differences and advantages of certain centers will be well worth the effort.
Here are four Features to consider when CHOOSING A hyperbaric oxygen treatment center:
(Spoiler Alert: Hyperbaric Medical Solutions meets all these criteria.)
TEAM OF HIGHLY SKILLED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
A hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment center’s medical team is a critical component for successful patient outcomes and ensuring safety in the facility. Additionally, having an experienced and knowledgeable staff creates a valuable rapport with both patients and their primary and referring physicians. Furthermore, the treatment center should always have a physician or physician extender (PA or NP) prescribe your protocol for HBOT and be present during every treatment session. So look for a team comprised of proficient, thorough and HBOT certified physicians, physician assistants and technicians, who specialize in treating patients with HBOT.
To help your research, ask your primary care physician and contact the treatment center itself, and be sure to ask about its medical team.
USES MEDICAL-GRADE Hyperbaric CHAMBERS
An HBOT center should use medical-grade hyperbaric oxygen chambers, as opposed to soft, or mild, chambers. Medical-grade chambers, also called hard hyperbaric chambers, offer more benefits, as they encourage increased oxygen absorption in the bloodstream in excess of 1,200 percent. This leads to more oxygen reaching body tissue, lymphatics and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain.
More oxygen means more effective healing, as the vital nutrient has been shown to:
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
- Stimulate stem cell and blood vessel growth
- Increase circulation in the body
- Strengthen the immune system and its ability to fight disease and infection by revitalizing the production of natural antioxidant superoxide dismutase
- Enhance mitochondrial function and regeneration
Learn more about the different types of hyperbaric chambers.
If you’re interested in going to a specialized treatment center, whether for HBOT or any other treatment, there’s a good chance you've looked for a referral from your primary care physician or another specialist. Such recommendations can be very helpful, especially if you don’t know anyone who’s received HBOT, and are not completely sure where to start your search. Furthermore, if your care providers are recommending an HBOT treatment center, that likely means they've had good experiences with that center in the past and trust the medical professionals to oversee your care and work together to optimize your outcomes.
TREATS A RANGE OF CONDITIONS
Many HBOT centers, like those found within or associated with hospitals, will only see patients who have a condition in which HBOT has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Use of HBOT to treat these conditions is often referred to as "on-label." On-label conditions, including diabetic foot ulcers, failed skin grafts and flaps, and delayed radiation injury, are generally covered by Medicare and insurance. However, receiving HBOT in a hospital-based center may result in multiple, or very high, co-pay/co-insurance responsibilities by the patient. Free-standing centers who accept insurance can greatly reduce this out-of-pocket expense for patients since their costs are generally far less than those of a hospital setting.
Other HBOT centers treat on-label conditions, as well as certain off-label conditions, not yet approved by the FDA for treatment, and thus, considered experimental—where research and experience has demonstrated positive outcomes. These off-label conditions include concussion, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and several autoimmune, chronic pain and neurological conditions. Many of these off-label conditions are successfully treated with HBOT in many countries around the world. Several studies are underway in the U.S. to support the efficacy of using HBOT in the treatment of such conditions. While off-label conditions are not generally covered by insurance or Medicare, many private HBOT centers, like Hyperbaric Medical Solutions, offer flexible payment plans for the treatment of off-label conditions.