Preventive Care Matters

Posted by Jason Wilson, RN, MBA

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Aug 24, 2016 8:28:59 AM

Preventive care is key in helping you stay healthy.

If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, you’re not alone. Keeping up with your regular routine, let alone that particular day’s personal and professional commitments, can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This makes any unexpected surprises, like a sinus infection or a cold, hard to pencil in, and finding time for a visit to the doctor, even for important clinical preventive services, seem nearly impossible. But the fact is making time for preventive healthcare can help protect you from illness that could rob you of days, weeks, months, or even years. And that’s time worth spent.

What Are Clinical Preventive Services?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), clinical preventive services include things like screenings for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, immunizations for diseases such as influenza and pneumonia, and counseling about personal health behaviors. These services can prevent disease or detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.

Who Should Be Using These Services?

To put it simply, everyone. Clinical preventive services can have a significant, positive impact on an individual’s health. In fact, according to the CDC, if everyone in the U.S. received recommended clinical preventive care, we could save over 100,000 lives each year!

With services as beneficial as that, it’s surprising to learn how often they are ignored or underused. In fact, a study from the CDC found only 25% of adults 50 to 64 years old are up to date on clinical preventive services and less than 50% of adults 65 years or older are up to date.

These numbers are discouraging, especially when these services are generally covered, in part or completely, by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Action Is Needed

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, Medicare has placed an added emphasis on preventive care, acknowledging that it can reduce the out of pocket costs for older adults, increase reimbursement to healthcare providers, and save money on healthcare costs overall.In addition, several organizations are starting to play an expanded and vital role in the improvement of adult health. Some of these organizations are aging services providers, community health centers, public health departments, and organizations such as the YMCA. The CDC is working with community providers like these to deliver preventive services outside of the usual clinical settings so individuals have greater access to this potentially life-saving care.

Take advantage of clinical preventive services such as blood pressure screenings.

Healthy Aging Program

The CDC has also created a Healthy Aging Program to help older adults live longer, high-quality, productive, and independent lives. This program focuses on multiple ways to address these goals, but two of the biggest have been on expanding efforts to incorporate public health and aging services, and promoting the need for and use of clinical preventive services.

This effort has become especially important as the fastest growing age group, baby boomers (adults born between 1946 and 1964), continue to retire. Many baby boomers have medical conditions that require attention every day and have faced or will face multiple hospitalizations as they age.

Unfortunately, this group is at a higher risk for developing chronic conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart failure, and it is estimated that 37 million of them will be managing more than one chronic condition by 2030. The good news is many of the health issues baby boomers are expected to face can be better managed or even avoided by taking advantage of regular preventive services.

Are You Up to Date?

Learn more about the preventive care recommended for your age group with a complete list of recommended services from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). And visit the Healthy Aging Program home page for a variety of healthy aging resources and information about how preventive services can help you avoid the unexpected.

Are you a CareSync™ member? Your CareSync team can help you schedule and keep on top of the clinical preventive services that may help detect a problem or provide an opportunity for early intervention so a problem doesn’t become more serious.

Not yet a CareSync member? You can be! Click here to learn more. If you’re a Medicare patient with two or more chronic conditions, ask your doctor to prescribe CareSync for chronic care management, a healthcare benefit Medicare wants you to have.

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