What Every Provider Should Know About the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

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The Annual Wellness Visit can help patients prevent disease and maintain good health as they age. The fact that Medicare recognizes the value of preventive services and is willing to pay for them is a win for both the patient and healthcare providers alike.

Having a separate yearly visit dedicated solely to wellness and prevention ensures sufficient time for a thorough discussion of each patient’s overall health, history and lifestyle. Medicare can be a complicated system to navigate, and it important to understand exactly what the Annual Wellness Visit entails.

The AWV visit includes a detailed discussion of a patient’s:

  • Health history
  • Health risk assessment (first visit)
  • Medications, vitamins, supplements
  • Weight and BMI
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Tobacco use/cessation
  • Functional abilities, safety and fall prevention
  • Vision/hearing screening
  • Depression and cognitive abilities screening
  • Review of care from other providers and specialists
  • Lifestyle tips on maintaining wellness and reducing risks for chronic diseases

The Annual Wellness Visit is covered by Medicare Part B if performed by a physician, qualified non-physician practitioner (a PA, NP, or CNS); or medical professionals such as health educators, registered dietitians, and nutrition professionals; or a team of medical professionals working under the direct supervision of a physician.

You can help your patient prepare for their AWV by encouraging them to bring medical and immunization records, family health history, list of medications/supplements and a list of current providers involved in the patient’s care.

More information on the Annual Wellness Visit can be found in this Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services pamphlet