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Will Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit enhance physical & cognitive health? Probably – if people go

The annual wellness visit: An opportunity to improve revenue and patient care (PhysBizTech):

“Medicare recently introduced the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) to keep Medicare beneficiaries healthy, or help Medicare beneficiaries become healthier, by promoting positive health habits and a healthy lifestyle. Unlike much of medical care, which is primarily directed at treating acute and chronic illnesses, the AWV aims to prevent the onset of disease and disability or to slow the progression and exacerbation of existing illnesses… less than six percent of Medicare beneficiaries received an AWV in 2011 (Editor’s bold). Many beneficiaries do not know to ask for the AWV, and providers frequently do not promote it. The reality is, however, that AWVs can be efficiently delivered by non-physician practitioners (NPPs) in a fraction of the time required for a traditional “physical” through the use of innovative software. While most physicians believe they offer wellness services, the reality is that most do not offer the AWV. A true Medicare AWV involves not only a review of medical history and medications, but also a conversation about the patient’s functional ability and lifestyle issues that impact health. A list of risk factors, conditions and treatment options must be established. Cognitive function must be assessed, and a 5-10 year preventive screening schedule created.”

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