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Medicare Annual Wellness Visit Association With Healthcare Quality and Costs



Analytics are essential when making decisions in health care.  When I was a young physician I was told the annual wellness visit for patients was a waste of time.   Today, not so !



In the context of 2 primary care physician–led accountable care organizations, Medicare Annual Wellness Visits were associated with lower healthcare costs and improved clinical care quality for beneficiaries. Although use of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is increasing nationally, it remains unclear whether it can help contain healthcare costs and improve quality. In the context of 2 primary care physician–led accountable care organizations (ACOs), we tested the hypothesis that AWVs can improve healthcare costs and clinical quality.


Between 2014 and 2016, we examined the association of an AWV with healthcare costs, ED visits, hospitalizations, and clinical quality measures. The sample included Medicare beneficiaries attributed to providers across 44 primary care clinics participating in 2 ACOs.

Results: Among 8917 Medicare beneficiaries, an AWV was associated with significantly reduced spending on hospital acute care and outpatient services. Patients who received an AWV in the index month experienced a 5.7% reduction in adjusted total healthcare costs over the ensuing 11 months, with the greatest effect seen for patients in the highest hierarchical condition category risk quartile. AWVs were not associated with ED visits or hospitalizations. Beneficiaries who had an AWV were also more likely to receive recommended preventive clinical services.

Conclusions: In a setting that prioritizes care coordination and utilization management, AWVs have the potential to improve healthcare quality and reduce cost.



Sources:

Periodic health visits by primary care practice model, a population-based study using health administrative data.

Evaluation of Pharmacist Involvement in Medicare Wellness Visits.

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.
Improvement in preventive care of young adults after the affordable care act: 
Practices Caring For The Underserved Are Less Likely To Adopt Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit.




Medicare Annual Wellness Visit Association With Healthcare Quality and Costs:

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