Welcome to Medicare Exam vs Annual Wellness Visit

The Welcome to Medicare Physical Exam takes place in the first 12 months after Medicare Part B starts.  So if your Medicare Part B starts July 1, 2012 you have until June 30, 2013 to use that benefit.  During the Welcome to Medicare Physical Exam your health care provider will review your medical and social history, at a minimum they should obtain the following information from you:

  • Past medical/surgical history (experiences with illness, hospital stays, operations, allergies, injuries, and treatments)
  • Current medications and supplements (including calcium and vitamins)
  • Family history (reviews of medical events in the beneficiary’s family, including diseases, tha may be hereditary or place the beneficiary at risk)
  • History of alcohol, tobacco, and illict drug use
  • Diet
  • Physical activities

They should also review your potential risk factors for depression and other mood disorders as well as review your fuctional ability and level of safety.  At a minimum they should use screening questions or standardized questionnaires to review

  • Hearing impairment
  • Activities of daily living
  • Falls risk
  • Home safety

The examination should include:

  • Height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Visual acuity screen
  • Measurement of Body Mass Index
  • Other factors deemed appropriate based on your medical and social history

End-of-Life planning may also be discussed.  You as the beneficiary may ask to discuss topics such as an Advance Directive in the case that an injury or illness makes you unable to make health care decisions for yourself.

Next the physician may offer some counsel or refer you to educational programs outside of the physicians office based on the results of the review and evaluation of your examination and health and social history.

You should expect to receive a brief written plan of the appropraite screenings and preventative services you should receive.  Many of these are covered as sepearte Medicare Part B benefits.

The Annual Wellness Visit can occur anytime after the first 12 months that you have been on Medicare Part B.  This Annual Wellness Visit unclues a Health Risk Assesment which includes:

  • Demographic data
  • Self-assessment of health status
  • Psychosocial risks
  • Behavioral risks
  • Activities of daily living (ADL’s)
  • Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL’s)

Your provider should take information on your medical and family history:

  • Past medical and surgical history, including experiences with hospital stays, operations, allergies, injuries, and treatments
  • Use of or exposure to medications and supplements, including calcium and vitamins
  • Medical events in the beneficiary’s parents and any siblings and children, including diseases that may be hereditary or place the beneficiary at increased risk

The provider will also review your potential risk factors for depression, including current or past experineces with depression or other mood disorders.  A review of your functial ability and level of safety will also be included.  At a minimum the provider should discuss and screen for the following topics:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Ability to successfully perform ADL’s
  • Fall risk
  • Home safety

This visit should include an assessment of your:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • BMI
  • Blood pressure
  • Other routine measurements deemed appropriate, based on medical and family history

Your provider should ask for a list of your current providers and suppliers, many times several different providers are involved in your regular medial care, especially as one ages.

This visit will also include a screening for cognitive impairment.  Your provider will do this by direct observation with consideration given to information provided by you, or concerns raised by family members, friends, caretakers or others.

At the end of the visit your provider should provide a written screening schedule for the next 5-10 years.  The health screenings recommended will be in line with the United States Preventative Services Taks Force and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as well as your health status.

You should also receive a list of risk factors and conditions for which intervents are reccommended.  Your provider may also refer you to health education or preventative counseling services for programs aimed at:

  • Community-based lifestyle interventions to reduce health risks and promote self-management and wellness
  • Weight loss
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco-use cessation
  • Fall prevention
  • Nutrition

As you can see there are many similarities in the two benefits.  In many cases it is up to you to be the advocate for your health care.  By educating yourself on the similarities and differences in the two benefits you are able to ensure you receive the care you are entitled to.



Posted on May 30, 2012, in Medicare Part B and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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