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.
Depression is usually a silent illness. Sufferers of depression often don’t realize that the symptoms they are experiencing are even related to depression. Patients may notice changes in sleeping habits, experience weight gain or unexpected weight loss, or have complaints of physical pain symptoms such as back pain or headaches. Given the diversity of depression symptoms, it is common for a patient to go to their primary care provider without realizing that their physical ailments may stem from a mental disorder such as depression. Due to this, primary care providers are well-positioned to be the first to recognize and diagnose depression in their patients.
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.
CMS recently finalized its Medicare coverage changes for 2020 and we’ve found a little something to be excited about. Officially dubbed Principal Care Management (PCM), this new program will allow medical providers to bill Medicare for providing care management services to beneficiaries who have only one high-risk qualifying condition or diagnosis.
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.
Are you missing out on Advance Care Planning opportunities in your practice? One of the most challenging topics to bring up with your patient is Advance Care Planning (ACP). This touchy subject brings to light the recognition of aging and dying, which is not usually something people want to think about, whether they are sick or healthy. Being able to provide valuable information to your patient will help ensure that they can make informed decisions regarding their preferences about the healthcare they wish to receive during the critical final stages of their life.
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.
The medical world turned its eyes to CMS on July 29th for the release of its proposed changes to Medicare for 2020. While there are quite a few positive proposed changes, the consensus seems to think there are still areas that could use some work. With the document content looming over 1700 pages, we went through and picked out some of the stand-out topics for your review.
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.