As Healthcare evolves from the volume-based model to the value-based model, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has instituted various programs to remedy gaps in care. One of these programs is the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). Instituted in 2011, the AWV is 100% covered by Medicare, and involves several screenings and tests that culminate in personalized prevention plan.
The AWV is separate from a normal physical, and can only be conducted once over a 12 month period. Additionally, the AWV does not encompass care for a problem-oriented visit. Rather, the AWV is specifically for discussions and screenings of the patient’s current condition, as well as steps the patient can take maintain or improve their health.
There are clear benefits for a patient engaging in the AWV. For one, the visit reviews the patient’s personal and family medical history, along with a discussion of potential complications the patient is at-risk for. The visit also involves a cognitive screening, a depression screening, and other routine health measurements such as weight, height, and blood pressure etc. Most importantly, during the AWV, the medical professional will detail any future screenings, and create and discuss a care plan for the future. This highly personalized care plan gives the patient access to incredibly valuable health advice from their physician or other qualified medical professional. Additionally, the AWV can also include Advanced Care Planning, which can help a patient plan out their healthcare if they are unable to speak for themselves.
The AWV also presents great benefits for the practice as well as the patients. First of all, the AWV is fully covered by Medicare, as well as various other private payers. But, more importantly, the AWV increases a patient’s compliance with a provider’s advice, prescriptions, and care plan. The subsequent result will both improve a patient’s health as well as a patient’s happiness, and ultimately lead to more referrals and more patients coming to a practice. The AWV also gives a provider the opportunity to a get a more complete picture of their patient’s health, helping their future diagnoses and medical advice.
The AWV provides immeasurable benefits for both the provider and the patient. Although Medicare pays for all AWV for Medicare patients, the visit also can help younger patients not enrolled in Medicare. Since other commercial payers cover wellness visit, younger patients can also receive the precautionary screenings and personalized care plans to improve their own health. All in all, the AWV can aid all patients who hope to improve or maintain their health.