Focus on Healthy Aging
Annual Wellness Visit provides a springboard to good health, fitness
By Mary Norman, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
As the regional medical director at Highland Springs, an Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas, I see firsthand how our residents can experience the best years of their life in retirement.
While some benefit from their great genetics, most others have taken a proactive approach to their physical, emotional and social wellbeing. It takes commitment, but now more than ever, health care providers have the tools for their patients to achieve successful aging.
Do you know what you should be doing daily to stay at your best? It’s an issue being studied.
In its March, 2011 report, New Preventive Medicare Benefits Begin, the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) reveals that Americans use preventive services “at about half the recommended rate.” Further, the report references a study estimating that “almost 80% of all health care spending in the U.S. can be attributed to potentially preventable chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.”
Consider making an appointment with your physician for the Annual Wellness Visit.
Unlike other physician visits that require co-payments and deductibles, this appointment is covered 100% by Medicare. The purpose of the Annual Wellness Visit is to develop your personalized health & wellness plan by setting goals for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, cancer screening and bone health.
Medicare covers the initial Annual Wellness Visit and subsequent Annual Wellness Visits every 12 months so that your personal health plan may continue to be refined. It is important to note that the Annual Wellness Visit is not the same as the “routine physical check-up” that some seniors may receive every year or two from their physician.
The good news is that the message of wellness planning is spreading. HHS announced that an estimated 32.5 million people with Medicare received at least one free preventive benefit in 2011, including the Annual Wellness Visit.
By setting goals now, we can work toward a healthier, happier 2012 and beyond.
Dr. Mary Norman is Vice President and Regional Medical Director of Highland Springs, an Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas. She can be reached at 972-232-8000 or email@example.com.