(HealthDay News) — Documentation rules for annual wellness visits (AWVs) for Medicare differ from those for preventive visits, which are not covered by Medicare, according to an article published August 5 in Medical Economics.

Measuring the body mass index and the patient’s depression are about the only elements that AWVs and preventive physicals have in common. AWVs require a Health Risk Assessment that needs to be filled out first by the patient and reviewed with the physician.

According to Medical Economics, AWVs also must include a patient history, including family history, current medications and supplements, and other current providers; a basic physical assessment (i.e., height, weight, blood pressure); assessment of cognitive function; review of age-appropriate screenings; identification of current risk factors; and personalized health advice. However, they are not head-to-toe physicals.

The article advises practices to “make sure appointments are clearly marked for the AWV, so the patient fills out the appropriate paperwork and the physician uses the correct documentation template.”

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