Dr. Thomas Coburn has successfully used Annual Wellness Visits as a tool to close gaps and improve care for his patients at greatest risk. We spent a few minutes with Dr. Coburn to talk about how the visits are making a difference in his practice. He shared how his office has hardwired these 5 best practices:
1. Schedule patients for their Annual Wellness Visit while they are in your office.
“Not only do I discuss and encourage Annual Wellness Visits while I am seeing my patients, our office staff reinforces that I recommend a yearly wellness exam to plan their care for the year. As patients check out, we check to see if they have had a wellness visit in the past year – if not, we schedule them before they leave. We explain to patients that Annual Wellness Visits are ‘routine maintenance,’ like an oil change for your car or new air filter in your home.”
2. Annual Wellness Visits provide time to have a discussion with patients about prevention and validate that needed screenings are up to date.
“Patients often report their preventative studies such as colonoscopies and mammograms are up to date, but the reality is often different than what they remember. Having a set time to get a true picture of their needs, discussing their results, and emphasizing needed compliance can make a significant difference in closing care gaps.”
3. It’s totally acceptable to combine an Annual Wellness Visit with a follow up – you can bill for both.
“As long as your documentation supports both services, you can combine a follow-up visit with an Annual Wellness Visit. If you have questions about how to appropriately document, ask your fellow providers.”
4. Annual Wellness Visits are here to stay – use them to keep you and your patients on track.
“I believe that the culture of treating illness and emphasizing volume is slowly shifting to encouraging wellness and valuing quality. Annual Wellness Visits are a necessary part of that paradigm shift. People are living longer and healthier lives, and the focus on wellness is a change that is hopefully here to stay.”
5. KHP is an extension of your office team, not another sales rep! Take advantage of this benefit.
“It’s important that my patients know that I know and work with Adona, my RN Health Coach on a regular basis – and that she is part of my office team helping my patients. This helps me have better hospital follow-up, closer observation during recovery, and better patient outcomes. My high risk patients’ benefit from Adona’s help – reviewing needs, reaching out to me about care gaps, and offering recommendations. In short, the KHP care management team makes providers look better and help improve our outcomes and patient satisfaction.”