Preventive Services and Health Care Reform

November 25, 2011

I sent the following message to many of my patients age 65 and older, and thought it worth posting here:

11/24/11

To my patients,

The Affordable Care Act (AKA health care reform) provides incentives for doctors to utilize electronic health records.

Doctors who do not will soon be penalized by Medicare.

While they really aren’t quite “ready for prime time,” electronic records should ultimately  confer some meaningful advantages for the quality of health care.

One requirement in the law  is that doctors must be able to  demonstrate “meaningful use.”   One of the many criteria for such use is to send reminders to their patients for “preventive and follow-up care.”  Such reminders do not include regular appointment messages.

While my practice does not focus on these services, I believe that it is worthwhile to provide you with access to information regarding such services.

If you are receiving this email, you are either 65 years of age or above, or have a child who is 5 or less.

For general information on Preventive Services, focusing on what is actually useful based on evidence from studies, please see the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  The home page is http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/prevenix.htm

The following link is very useful in that you can enter your age and sex and get a list of recommended and non-recommended services:  http://epss.ahrq.gov/ePSS/search.jsp

For information regarding Preventive Services available through Medicare, please see:  http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/manage-your-health/preventive-services/preventive-service-overview.aspx

As you know, my website, www.drshevin.com has articles on various aspects of health and disease, including some that deal with prevention (such as the article on influenza).

As you also know, a strong feature of my philosophy of health care is that attaining a state of health is a crucial aspect of preventing future disease.  It is fair to say, however, that even the healthiest individual may benefit from preventive services.  Again, the search link given above will give you data regarding appropriate services, including the evidence base for them.

Services like periodic blood pressure readings, monitoring weight, cigarette cessation, PAP smears, etc., have proven benefits, and there are others.

Some services are more controversial.

Thank you for your time in reading this email.

As there is no personal health information in this communiqué, I can send it by non-secure email.

But for those of you who wish to communicate with me regarding your medical care, please use my secure portal at www.telehealthconnect.com

For those of you who missed the invitation to join the secure portal, which probably wound up in your junk mailbox, please contact Donna (donna@drshevin.com) and request that she send a new  invitation.

Please also follow the journal page on my website for updates on the flu (nothing really happening yet) and other health-related matters that I consider timely and important.

I also provide a separate alerts notification (see the forms page of my website) that you can subscribe to.