If you are 65 years or older, you are entitled to a Medicare annual preventive health exam that is covered at no additional cost. During this visit, we will review your social and medical history including family risks, tobacco and drug use, your diet and physical activities, current medications and nutritional supplements, as well as any hospital stays or surgeries.
We will also review if you have any risk factors for depression or other mood problems.
The overall purpose of a routine preventive exam is to identify potential health problems in the early stages when they may be easier to treat.
This exam is prevention focused, not problem focused. If you have a new health problem or other diagnoses that need to be addressed during your preventive office visit (high blood pressure, diabetes, skin rash, or headaches) we may bill part of the exam at 100 percent for your annual preventive exam, and part of your office visit for treatment of your diagnosis. The portion of your visit related to the treatment of your diagnosis would apply toward your deductible and coinsurance. If we feel that the majority of the time was spent with medical concerns, the entire visit may be considered a medical treatment visit and would not be billed as preventive and we will schedule another visit as preventative.
At our preventative visit, we will also review appropriate screening tests that need to be scheduled including:
- Colonoscopy: a screening test that looks for pre-cancerous cells in your intestine.
- Mammography: an x-ray test that looks for early breast cancers
- Bone Density Study: an x-ray test that checks the strength of your bones
- Prostate Specific Antigen: a blood test that estimates your risk for prostate cancer.
- Ultrasound Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Screening for dementia, depression, alcoholism
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Screening
- Cardiovascular Disease Screening Blood Tests
We may also discuss “Advanced Directives.” This is where we talk about your wishes as it relates to end of life care. Obviously, this talk is best done when you are NOT at the end of your life, and any decisions you make are not binding . . . in other words you can always change your mind or put off making a decision. It is always good to know your options.
The annual preventive health exam is a great time to clarify any questions about prevention, screening, advanced directives and more.
Ask questions and get answers!
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