3 Ways Providers Benefit from Boosting Annual Wellness Visits

Debra Shute, June 15, 2017

Some providers regard pushing the preventive benefit to Medicare beneficiaries as a "money grab," but executives at Bon Secours Health System, Inc., say the visits are improving patient health.

Dan Hager
Dan Hager

Since its 2011 inception, uptake for Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit, designed to address health risks in aging adults has remained slight. It is provided at no cost to beneficiaries, and aims to identify risks for falls and dementia.

For various reasons, however, it's not unusual for physicians to question whether the AWV offers any particular value not otherwise delivered during routine primary care.

Thus, when Bon Secours Health System began a system-wide initiative to increase AWVs among its patients on Medicare, the barriers were mostly cultural, according to Dan Hager, MHA, program manager for physician and ambulatory services for the multi-state system.

Hager co-presented about the topic at the American Medical Group Association's 2017 Annual Conference, in Grapevine, Texas, March 22–25, and followed up with HealthLeaders by phone.

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"A lot of providers, if their systems are wanting to push AWV, have a bit of resistance because it may seem like a money grab, or just a way to do an extra visit to get reimbursed for," he says.

"It was incredibly important that it not be about the money so much as it was about the value that we were driving for our patients, for our community, and even for our payer. CMS is asking us to be good stewards by making this available, and we want to make sure we're delivering the aims they intended when they created the opportunity to do an AWV."

Debra Shute

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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