Medicare Annual Wellness Visits Less Likely to be Adopted by Practices with Underserved Populations

February 12, 2018

Practices providing care to underserved populations have been less likely to adopt Medicare’s Annual Wellness visit, a study authored by HCP associate professor Ateev Mehrotra, professor J. Michael McWilliams, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Health Affairs reports.

These wellness visits, which were introduced in 2011 to address health risks of aging adults and offer primary care physicians a way to increase revenue and attract healthier patients, have produced uneven results.  In 2015, 51.2% of practices did not provide annual wellness visits, while 23% provided such a visit to a quarter or more of their patients.

Those practices that did adopt the program saw an increase in their revenues; however visit rates were lower in practices servicing underserved populations.

The study team suggests that policy makers consider ways to encourage these visits, or create mechanisms that promote preventative care in underserved populations.