Annual Wellness Visits to Capture Attributable Lives and Care Opportunities
Volume 4 of 10
One of the easiest ways to implement a Population Health program is by engaging a process to engage your Medicare qualifying patients to seek their Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) benefit. This covered benefit was put in place by CMS to focus on preventative care and the measures taken for disease prevention as opposed to disease treatment. Surprisingly, less than 10% take advantage of this service. While many providers may look at this visit process as a burden, it can be quite simple if the steps are put in place to help identify and capture these visits that have benefits to all involved.
The Wellness Visit process should be set up to identify eligible patients prior to the office visit. This is usually done by Health Coaches, Navigators, and the nursing team in coordination with a tracking mechanism in place. Most of these visits can be done in conjunction with an office visit or med check appointment. The nurses complete a majority of the paperwork or EHR intake prior to the visit. It must be remembered that the AWV does not require a hands-on physical. The provider time is minimized to reviewing the information, signing off on the care plan, and ordering necessary tests and immunizations that need updating.
The benefits to the providers are numerous, including an increase in RVU’s and increased pay for minimal time invested, many of the ACO metrics are met by default, and the gained ability to capture preventative care that is often overlooked or missed during a chronic care visit. Oftentimes patient satisfaction scores go up. The patients are given a care plan and become engaged in their own health by receiving quality care.
Hospitals and specialists will see an increase in ancillary revenue generated by lab, mammograms, and colonoscopies. Attributable lives are increased to benefit the ACO. Revenue produced supports the Population Health Department and allows them to grow and tackle other initiatives. In a time where organizations are struggling to find revenue streams, this is a great place to start.
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