An Ounce of Prevention
A Kaiser Health News (KHN) article tells the story of Medicare beneficiary Beverly Dunn. She scheduled her annual physical exam, believing that Medicare would cover the checkup. Then Dunn received the bill and quickly learned the shocking piece of information many patients discover: Medicare does not cover annual physical exams.
The importance of utilizing preventive medicine to improve the health and ultimately lives of patients is widely recognized. However, for this potential to be reached, medical practices must be able to provide preventive care services in a financially sustainable way. We’ll share more about this later in the article.
Preventive care is the way healthcare practitioners can identify and address any health risks in Medicare eligible patients. This was a primary motivator behind the introduction of Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) in 2011.
Medicare Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) are an important part of the process of keeping patients healthy. However, the required procedures surrounding AWV appointments can be complex, so it is common for providers to inadvertently miss steps or leave requirements incomplete. If you miss a requirement once, it may become the norm for your staff to skip that step in the AWV process. For instance, you may create a care plan for the patient, but not give it to them. Or create the service schedule, but neglect to personalize it to the patient.
One of the most important steps in a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, or any preventive health screening, is the completion of a health risk assessment. These questionnaires give providers valuable information as they strive to make informed decisions about the potential health needs of individual patients. However, few patients are enthusiastic about completing these forms and may view them as a tedious chore instead of an essential step toward remaining healthy.
As the healthcare industry continues to look for ways to improve patient health while also controlling the ever-rising cost of quality healthcare, preventive screening has become an increasingly important topic.