Take Care Clinics' Medicare wellness visits spell opportunity for retail clinics

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that Take Care Clinics now are offering wellness services for Medicare enrollees clearly demonstrates that there’s an opportunity for retail clinics to fill gaps in care, and promote wellness and better patient outcomes.

(THE NEWS: Take Care Clinics offering Medicare wellness visits. For the full story, click here.)

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed last year under healthcare reform, Medicare now offers preventive wellness visits to millions of seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B and select Medicare Advantage plans. Yet, according to CMS, only a little more than 6% of eligible seniors actually are taking advantage of this opportunity to receive screenings to help them stay well.

Why? Because of a combination of low awareness that they even have the option and a lack of access — not all physician’s offices will provide the services. And even if a patient’s physician does offer the wellness visit, how quickly could that patient get an appointment to see the doctor? After all, it is no secret that this country already is grappling with a physician shortage.

That’s why it is important that Take Care Health Systems now is stepping up to the plate to offer these patients convenient access through its more than 360 clinic locations that have convenient hours and no requirement for an appointment. Clearly this is yet one more indication that retail-based health clinics — and the healthcare professionals that work in them — play a significant role in today’s healthcare system.

Comments

- 9:16 AM
dajohnson says

I'm not sure this is a good idea. I applaud the concept of helping Medicare Beneficiaries fully utilize their benefits, especially those at no cost to them. However, as an NP providing the Annual Well Visits I worry this might be confusing for many patients. I am just hoping there is plenty of education regarding exactly what this benefit is and an attempt is made to get this service provided by the PCP first. If, like mentioned in the article the PCP is not providing the service or if there is a long wait to schedule the service then thank goodness for retailers that provide this AWV!! Anyone else out there share my concerns?

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