If you are 65 years or older, or if you have loved ones who are, you may have heard about Medicare’s new, free benefit called the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). Because this benefit is so new, there is some confusion about what it is and why it is important.
Here are some things you need to know and what to expect during your Annual Wellness Visit:
The Annual Wellness Visit is NOT a physical. Rather, it is conversation between you and your healthcare provider to discuss your health history and any concerns you may have regarding your health. The goals of an Annual Wellness Visit are to create a complete personal and family health history and to help prevent future health problems.
What to bring to your Annual Wellness Visit?
- A list of all of your medications, including vitamins and supplements
- Names of all of your healthcare providers, including doctors, pharmacists, therapists, home health agencies, and non-traditional providers
- Your immunization records, including flu or pneumonia shots
The Annual Wellness Visit is performed either by a clinic nurse or a nurse practitioner. You can expect your provider to discuss with you your health history, medications, health risk assessment, wellness schedule, and immunization schedule.
Medicare requires a Wellness Schedule to be provided to patients during the Annual Wellness Visit. The Wellness Schedule is a list of all of the screenings your doctor recommends you should have during the next five-to-ten years based upon the information obtained during the visit. These screenings can include prostate exams, mammograms, and heart-related screenings. Many of these are free to the patient.
The Annual Wellness Visit gives you and your doctor a complete picture of your health and what you need to do to be healthier. The more you know about your health, the more likely you are to be your own advocate. So, schedule your Annual Wellness Visit, have a great conversation with your healthcare provider and stay healthy!
For more information or to make your Annual Wellness Visit, please call Pocahontas Medical Clinic at 870-892-4467.