Nope, actually, this machine belongs to Kaiser and will not be mine under any circumstances. It's just a loaner. They don't loan out the humidifier tanks because it's a pain to clean them on return.
They have a bunch of machines and when you have been diagnosed with SA they send you home with a trial machine so they can determine what the prescription and settings need to be. Once they determine your prescription, they arrange for you to get your own machine. The loaner goes back, gets cleaned, and sent out with the next group of individuals in the trial phase. They must diagnose about 30 people per week so these machines are well used. Fortunately, the machine I got for a trial is brand spanking new. I think it would bug me to know someone else had used it no matter how well they clean it.
The masks are samples marked "for short term use only" on the package. I was thinking that they clean them and reuse them (yuck!), but they don't (thank goodness!). They must have some sort of arrangement with manufacturers. When you return everything they throw away the used sample masks and include the mask on the rx for the DME provider.
I did find out that they do have a contracted DME provider after all, but you can't get any machine except the one Kaiser orders anyway. There is a single contracted DME provider for the entire Kaiser region, and you never see them personally. Kaiser does all the fitting and determinations, and you pick up your final machine at Kaiser after they set it up for you.
Kaiser will not pay unless the machine is exactly what is ordered because they want everyone standardized so they only need one type of software to read data, one type of machine to provide group education to patients, and to make standardized treatment recommendations. In terms of economy of scale it works for them, and probably most patients they see. If it doesn't work for an individual, it's really tough to fight Kaiser to get what you need. Most people give up.
I don't think Kaiser can argue if you buy and use your own machine (and I don't think they can withhold a prescription), but that's certainly not an affordable option for me right now. I think I'll be fine with the Respironics machine they use, but it does bug me not to have access to useful data so that I can be an active partner in my treatment. I'm not someone who can be happy being a sheep.