Under proposed rules announced Tuesday, in 2005 Medicare will begin covering initial comprehensive physical examinations for new Medicare beneficiaries and will expand coverage for cardiovascular and diabetes screening. Previous legislation expanded Medicare coverage for a number of cancer screening tests, immunizations, and other preventive services proven to save lives and improve the health of seniors.
"Prevention is common sense, and it's good policy," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, chair of Partnership for Prevention. "Chronic diseases that afflict millions of Americans and drive up the cost of health care can be reduced in incidence and severity by evidence-based preventive measures. The more Medicare covers preventive services that have been proven to save lives, the better for the health of beneficiaries and the better for taxpayers. This new provision is an important step in a longer, overdue journey to modernize preventive care for America's seniors."
Coverage of a comprehensive clinical evaluation as beneficiaries enter the Medicare program, as proposed under the new rules, provides an opportunity for physicians to identify and address health habits, such as smoking, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, which are the leading underlying causes of death in the United States. The proposed rules would cover education, counseling, and referrals regarding these risk factors and other issues identified during the comprehensive clinical assessment. The visi
Contact: John M. Clymer
American College of Preventive Medicine