The benefits of the Annual Wellness Visit are numerous. Patients benefit from the “delay, detection, and prevention of serious illness.” It also encourages return visits and a prevention mindset. “You get them think about prevention and what they can do,” Kate said. In addition, the customized plan gives specific information about what services can be utilized; the majority of these had copays removed by Congress, making it an affordable solution to health concerns.
These improved patient outcomes also benefit doctors; “this is what the doctors are trying to do – that’s why they practice medicine.” The detail and optimization that goes into the Annual Wellness Visit also allows for more focused follow-up visits, which helps save doctors’ time. Lastly, doctors have increased profits, “now that we don’t have to compete for more money out of the budget,” Kate said.
Unfortunately, less than 18% of individuals on Medicare had an Annual Wellness Visit in 2016, with 47 million people failing to take advantage of this opportunity. Why? There are numerous obstacles, such as a lack of time, low priority, no system, and low capacity.