Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit: The benefit nobody knows
Since January 2011, Medicare has offered a benefit specifically designed to promote these healthy aging interventions, the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), which is free for patients (no co-pays or deductibles) and pays doctors nearly three times as much as an average office visit. Unfortunately, 68 percent of older adults surveyed had not heard of the benefit or were not sure if they had heard of it, and only 17 percent said that they had received their Annual Wellness visit. (In fact, the self-reported number may be overstated, as Medicare's records suggest that uptake is only 6.5 percent.)
"Older adults need to be made aware of this benefit, the opportunity it provides and the importance of wellness to ensure a good quality of life," said Tara Cortes, PhD., RN, FAAN, executive director of the Hartford Institute.
Strong support for geriatrics education:
Older adults in the survey also expressed strong support (93%) for requiring all medical and nursing students to take classes and training in caring for older people (which most are not presently required to do). Sixty-seven percent also said they believed they would "get better care" if their doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals had more geriatrics training.
"We couldn't agree more," said Chris Langston of the Hartford Foundation. "One of the goals of the Hartford Foundation's grantmaking is to ensure that everyone who cares for older adults, specialists and non-specialists alike, receives the training required to understand and meet their unique health needs."
|Contact: Tara Cortes, PhD, RN, FAAN|
New York University