May-June 2012 Table of Contents

LETTERS

Fam Pract Manag. 2012 May-June;19(3):7-9.

Annual wellness visits don't provide added value

I can't begin to adequately express my frustration with the Medicare annual wellness visit (AWV). I tell my patients that their annual physical has three agendas: their agenda, my agenda, and Medicare's. I routinely have them go first and address their concerns. Then I do the AWV tasks, to get them out of the way. Then we get to my usual thorough history and physical. Note that the AWV doesn't really include a physical, nor does it actually foster chronic disease management. It seems Medicare intended that to be a whole separate visit, which would mean two long visits, the second one possibly subject to a deductible. Then there's the issue of glaucoma screening – the eye doctor's area of expertise, but not mine. It takes 30 minutes of nursing time to do all the screenings, provided that they are normal. Any follow-up screening is left to me, in addition to all of the above, which typically takes an hour. I fail to find the “added value.” There is one thing I know for certain: When I turn 65, I will categorically refuse anything resembling the Medicare AWV.

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Send your comments to fpmedit@aafp.org. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.

Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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