To Your Health: Take advantage of your Medicare wellness visit benefit
BY DR. KAVEH RAHMANI Family Practice Physician/Ingalls Care Center, Crestwood August 19, 2014 8:48AM
Dr. Kaveh Rahmani | Supplied photo
Updated: September 21, 2014 6:16AM
It’s no secret that Americans are living longer than ever before.
In fact, the first of the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) turned 65 in 2011. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of senior citizens will increase dramatically between now and 2030 — growing to 72 million, more than twice the number from 2000.
Good health is important at any age, but if you truly want to enjoy your senior years, the best way to stay healthy is to lead a healthy lifestyle. You can do that by exercising, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and having a yearly physical.
Eating the right foods and the right amounts of foods can help you live a longer, healthier life. Research has proved that many illnesses — such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure — can be prevented or controlled by eating right. Getting the nutrients you need, such as calcium and iron, and keeping your weight under control can help.
Another important way to stay healthy is through exercise. Physical activity can help prevent at least six diseases: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity (excess weight), diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental disorders, such as depression. Physical activity also helps you feel better and maintain a healthy weight.
Research suggests that brisk walking can be just as good for you as jogging. To maximize the benefit, try to do a total of 30 minutes of constant physical activity, such as fast walking, most days of the week.
And if you smoke, quit. Smoking causes more major diseases than any other personal habit, including cancers of the lung, mouth, bladder and throat; heart and lung disease; and strokes. If you stop smoking, you can help avoid these diseases.
Even if you’ve smoked for many years, it’s never too late to stop. Half of all people who have ever smoked have quit. But quitting isn’t easy; you may need help. Talk to your doctor or health care provider to see what’s available to you to be successful in giving up smoking for good.
Another great way to stay on top of your health is to have regular check-ups with your health care provider.
The good news is that Medicare can help. Medicare pays for many preventive services to keep you healthy. Preventive services can find health problems early, when treatment works best, and can keep you from getting certain diseases. They include exams, shots, lab tests and counseling. They also include programs for health monitoring, and counseling and education to help you take care of your own health.
Medicare wellness visit
If you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, you’re entitled to a FREE annual wellness visit. During this exam, your provider will review your current health and medical needs, and with your help, create a prevention plan just for you.
Depending on your general health and medical history, you’ll get advice, education and counseling to help you prevent disease, improve your health and stay well. As part of this visit, your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a Health Risk Assessment. Answering these questions can help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit.
The annual wellness visit also includes a review of your medical and family history; developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions; height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements; detection of any cognitive impairment; personalized health advice; a list of risk factors and treatment options for you; and a screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services.
To get the most benefit from your annual wellness visit, plan to bring your medical and immunization records if you’re seeing a new doctor (call your former doctor to get copies of these); your family health history to help your doctor determine if you’re at risk for certain diseases; and a list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you currently take, how often you take them and why.
At Ingalls Care Center in Crestwood, our team of board-certified family nurse practitioners, who work in tandem with our primary care physicians, are ready to see you now for your annual Medicare wellness visit. Now’s the time to get the most out of your Medicare benefit. All you have to do is call us at (708) 915-2727 or book your appointment online by visiting Ingalls.org/InQuicker.
Your good health is important to you and the ones you love, so call today.
Dr. Kaveh Rahmani is a family practice physician at Ingalls Care Center in Crestwood. Ingalls Health System is a member of the Southland Health Alliance.