Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing quality of life. Beth Alvey, accountable care organization coordinator for Ephraim McDowell James B. Haggin Hospital, is trying to get the word out about a free wellness visit available to medicare patients of the Haggin Primary and Dedman Primary offices.
Alvey said most seniors aren’t aware that traditional Medicare and some Humana Medicare plans offer a free annual wellness visit for those 65 and older.
“A lot of people are unaware they get this free visit. This helps keep on top of preventative screening and get the information they need,” she said.
She said the process is easy from start to finish and is beneficial for both the patient and their physician. Appointments are made through either clinic and Alvey meets the patient at their appointment and goes over medicines, past medical history and screenings and along with health improvements goals.
Alvey said the one-on-one time is important because it enables her to make sure patients are taking their medicines properly, to help teach things like how to use a blood pressure cuff and to make sure that patients and physicians are all on the same page.
She began her role as an accountable care organization coordinator—more commonly referred to as a patient care navigator—in the fall. She said she is pleased with how the program is going so far.
Alvey said her goal is “not about adding years but adding life back into the years.”
Another important aspect of the wellness visit is screening for depression. Depression is often overlooked, but she pointed out when it is successfully treated in the elderly, other health problems become more manageable.
“Annual wellness visits are very important,” she said, “It’s for people that are healthy, not so healthy and those having health issue.”
Whether the patient has just turned 65 or getting ready to turn 95 there are always improvements that can be made.
Alvey said some may have lost the ability to do daily activities that they want to regain and some are trying to prevent those losses and the wellness visits help set a plan in motion to achieve those goals.
“It’s about adding back quality of life, no matter what the age,” Alvey said.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.