Chung S, Romanelli RJ, Stults C, Luft H., Prev Med. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.08.018, 2018 Aug 23
Cheryl Stults, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist
Preventive visit rates are low among older adults in the United States. We evaluated changes in preventive visit utilization with Medicare's introduction of Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) in 2011. We further assessed how coverage expansion differentially affected older adults who were previously underutilizing the service.
The study included Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 to 85 from a mixed-payer multispecialty outpatient healthcare organization in northern California between 2007 and 2016. Data from the electronic health records were used, and the unit of analysis was patient-year (N?=?456,281). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess determinants of “any preventive visit” use.
Prior to the AWV coverage (2007–2010), Medicare beneficiaries who were older, with serious chronic conditions, and with a fee-for-services (FFS) plan underutilized preventive visits such that odds ratio (OR) for age groups (vs. age 65–69) ranges from 0.826 (age 70–74) to 0.522 (age 80–85); for Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) (vs. 0 CCI) ranges from 0.77 (1 CCI) to 0.65 (≥2 CCI); and for FFS (vs. HMO) is 0.236.
With the Medicare coverage (2011–2016), the age-based gap reduced substantially, but the difference persisted, e.g., OR for age 80–85 (vs. 65–69) is 0.628, and FFS (vs. HMO) beneficiaries still have far lower odds of using a preventive visit (OR?=?0.278). The gap based on comorbidity was not reduced.
Medicare's coverage expansion facilitated the use of preventive visit particularly for older adults with more advanced age or with FFS, thereby reducing disparities in preventive visit use.