by Jeff Barnhart, CEO, Hereford Regional Medical Center

Kicking off the new year with a long list of resolutions to lose weight, be more active and get healthier is a time-honored tradition. But, keeping those resolutions can be hard. Only about 8 percent of people succeed. Having a support system can help.

For people with Medicare, part of that support system is the Annual Wellness Visit.

Medicare introduced this benefit in 2011, and it’s unique. It’s free and it’s designed to create a personalized wellness plan built around your current health status, risk factors and needs.

There are actually two Annual Wellness Visits.

The first is for new Medicare enrollees. Within the first 12 months of getting Medicare Part B coverage, you are eligible for the one-time Welcome to Medicare Visit. It includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services such as certain screenings, shots and referrals for other care that is needed. Your provider will ask you to fill out a Health Risk Assessment. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a plan to stay healthy and get the most out of your visit. The visit is a great way to get up-to-date with your care providers about how to stay healthy.

Then, once a year, you are eligible for the Annual Medicare Wellness Visit. Like the initial visit, you can discuss your health goals and get up-to-date on needed prevention care and services. You’ll review your medical and social history and discuss any health changes or concerns.

With both visits, the goal is prevention. Keeping you healthy. Your care provider may recommend additional tests or services, depending on your needs.

For folks who want to get healthier in 2020, Hereford Regional is committed to helping. We’ve built a dedicated Medicare Wellness Center because we want our community to have access to local and comprehensive preventive care focused on YOU! Our Medicare Wellness Center is staffed with physicians and nurse practitioners ready to support you in achieving your health goals.

I encourage you to learn more about us by visiting our website and making an appointment for your Annual Wellness Visit today.