How Much Do Vents Cost in the Subacute Setting?

Readmissions, reimbursements, reputation, and quality of care — they’re more interconnected than ever.

More skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and long-term acute care hospitals (LTCHs) are taking on higher acuity respiratory patients. As a result, more facilities are exploring subacute ventilator options. But how much of an investment does that require?

Different ventilator feature options can impact your cost — like advanced settings, built-in compressors, and portability. So can factors such as oxygen consumption or proprietary consumable requirements.

Ventilator reimbursement can influence cost, and reimbursements vary based on the patient’s coverage. For more information on ventilation reimbursement, take a look at our Quick Guide to Coding, Coverage, and Payment here.

It’s important to focus on three things as you research the cost of portable ventilation in the subacute space:

  • Acquisition cost of the ventilator
  • Overall cost of ownership
  • Reimbursement

Related: Can a ventilator filter choice help protect clinicians from contagious respiratory pathogens? See the lessons learned from two Canadian hospitals managing viral outbreaks.

The Acquisition Cost of the Ventilator

Think of ventilators as customizable pieces of equipment. It’s similar to how you might customize a new car. Portable ventilators cost from $5,000 (for simple vents) to $15,000 for advanced vents. Basically, the more bells and whistles you add, the more it will cost.

Prescribers consider these factors as they research a ventilator purchase:

  • Patient acuity level
  • Patient demographics
  • Facility logistics requirements
  • Patient mobility and ADL needs

Subacute ventilators can be divided into two categories:

  • Low acuity portable ventilators
  • Medium acuity ventilators

Overall Cost of Ownership

The overall cost of owning subacute ventilators can be impacted by factors such as:

  • Service warranty options
  • Consumable burn — breathing circuits and filtration
  • Oxygen consumption

Service Warranty Options

You may require either a low or high-use service warranty based on how large your facility is and how many patients are cared for at once. Service warranties often cover routine maintenance for three to five years and may include on-site service or depot (mail-in) service.

Service warranties range in cost from $500 to $5,000 per contract. The range depends on:

  • Coverage for low or high-usage
  • Duration of the service contract
  • On-site versus depot offerings
  • Required service parts for preventative maintenance or coverage for larger repairs

Consumable Burn

Breathing circuits and filtration also influence the cost of ownership of a subacute ventilator. Circuits and filters are disposable single-patient products and need to be changed often — even on the same patient. Patient filters range from 40 cents to $3 dollars. A new circuit and filter are required if the equipment is reused on a new patient.  


Reimbursement impacts the cost of both acquisition and ownership of equipment like portable ventilators in different ways. The rate depends on the type of facility and payer. Check out some of our quick guides for more information on Medicare reimbursement and for portable ventilation specifically:

For more information about Medicare reimbursement, visit or give our reimbursement hotline a call at 877-278-7482.

Related: We are responding to the current crisis by making the design files for the PB560 ventilator system available to the public. Register to access the specifications for the ventilator.


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About the Author

April De Crescentis is a Market Strategist at Medtronic, focusing on the Long-Term Care, Homecare, and EMS markets. Previously, April was the product and marketing manager for tracheostomy and ventilation products.

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