From Couch to 5K for Seniors

Spring is here, and good weather is a time to think about recommitting to fitness, especially at community events.

Now would be a good time to start training to participate in a community walk, which is a great way for people to get moving, whether they are new to walking for exercise or trying to get back on the exercise bandwagon.

Getting on the exercise bandwagon, and then staying on it, can be a constant work in progress. That is why when patients mention their difficulties with exercise, we can say with assurance that “The struggle is real!”

There is good news, though. Research shows that for older adults, exercise is better than no exercise. Even one minute of exercise can help improve mobility and physical function. The bottom line is this: It is never too late to start exercising, and you can begin with small steps!

Using a “Couch to 5K” program or another beginner walking program is helpful in providing guidance and takes the guesswork out of “how to go about it.” Try this Walk/Run Plan tailored for beginners to get started.

Tips Before Starting an Exercise Regimen

  • After finding a program to get you started, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the safety of the program before you begin.
  • Spend time looking for footwear with proper cushioning, comfort, and stability. The fit should be a thumb’s-width of space between the end of your longest toe and the end of your shoe. Your heel shouldn’t slip when you walk or jog, and your foot shouldn’t be spilling over the edges of the shoe. If your shoes are not comfortable when you first try them on, they won’t be comfortable when walking or jogging.
  • If you need to use an assistive device for balance or safety, such as a cane or walker, use it! Your safety is most important, and those devices will help you keep your independence.
  • Slow down the program if you find it is too much for you. It is okay to spend 12 weeks completing a 6-week program.
  • Make a public commit to complete the program. Making yourself accountable to someone, whether on social media or to a fitness buddy, can make it easier to keep going, even when you don’t want to.
  • Consider listening to music, nature sounds, a podcast or audiobook to accompany you while you train.
  • Don’t forget to stretch after warming up and definitely after finishing your workout.

And finally, feel proud of yourself for every minute that you exercise because you are one step closer to better health.

Trinity Health Michigan and Detroit Red Wings Team Up to Give Fan Experience to Oxford High School Student

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland patient Kylie Ossege had the unique opportunity to participate in a fan experience, courtesy of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and the Detroit Red Wings.  Kylie enjoyed a night out recently at Little Caesars Arena (LCA) with friends and family, where she got to take in a game between her hometown team and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

During the night, Kylie received a Dylan Larkin jersey, gift card and a Red Wings goodie bag.  She had her photo taken near the St. Joe’s Bench, located inside LCA, and rode the team Zamboni.  She even appeared on the LCA jumbotron during the game.

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland patient Kylie Ossege was photographed above on the Little Caesars Area jumbotron

Following what has been a very challenging year for her, the evening’s activities offered Kylie and her family a reprieve and a chance to create shared memories.

Since arriving to Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland on Nov. 30, with injuries sustained from the Oxford school shooting, Kylie has made a tremendous recovery.  In the months following her admission to the hospital, Kylie was cared for by many hospital colleagues from across different units and different medical disciplines. 

“We are forever grateful to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and their incredible staff for their amazing dedication and care for Kylie,” said her mother, Marita Ossege.  “From our friends in the ICU to the rehab team, you all have touched our lives in a manner we will never forget.”

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a verified trauma center by the American College of Surgeons, which means it can provide first responders, patients and the community with increased access to highly specialized care during emergency situations.  The verification ensures that patients with severe injuries receive priority access to the full spectrum of resources, including in-house coverage for trauma surgery, anesthesia, critical care and radiology, as well as cardiology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, vascular and thoracic care.

Fabian Fregoli, MD, chief medical officer of Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, met with Kylie and her family several times during her stay in the hospital.

“Witnessing Kylie and her family’s courage has been an inspiration to me and our entire team” said Dr. Fregoli.  “To recall where she was when she arrived through our doors and compare that to how well she is doing now, she’s had a truly remarkable recovery and I couldn’t be happier.  She is thriving and we’re all rooting for her.”

Improve Your Sleep in 3 Simple Steps

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our overall health and well-being. Sleep deprivation leaves the brain exhausted, causes sluggishness, low attention span,

decreased sociability, depressed mood, insulin resistance and decreased performance. Chronic sleep deprivation is strongly correlated with behavioral health issues, such as depression, anxiety and substance use, as well as a weakened immune system.

The body profoundly needs sleep, and when a person is not getting enough quality sleep it impacts all systems of the body. A lot of people view sleep as a passive activity, but to set ourselves up for a restorative night of sleep takes preparation. Here are a few simple steps to take during the day to help set the stage for better sleep:

Preparation: Sleep is not passive; it requires a proactive routine.

  • Get regular physical activity in the morning or afternoon: Exercise promotes quality sleep. Exercise in morning makes it easier to fall asleep/wake up. Exercise in evening is ok if done on a regular basis and not immediately before bed.
  • Outdoor light exposure: Early morning light is best way to keep circadian rhythm synchronized.
  • Control caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol consumption: Minimize caffeine later in the day as it can prevent you from falling asleep. Limit alcohol consumption to 2 drinks/day for men and 1 for women and not after 3 hours before bed. Alcohol can cause you to wake up in the night and it causes sleep to be fragmented. Nicotine is a stimulant that is best avoided entirely.
  • No bright/blue light 2 hours before bed: Blue light can decrease melatonin production and increase cortisol. You can purchase special light bulbs or install an app/filter on your phone to reduce blue light exposure. Of note, phones/computers/TV, etc. are stimulating even if they do not emit blue light.

Environment: Craft your surroundings to support optimal sleep.

  • Use the bedroom for sleep and intimacy only: No TV, laptop, tablet, etc. in bedroom. Recommended no pets or children in bed.
  • Turn thermostat down: Ideally between 60-67F. A drop in core body temp is a sleep signal for the body that it is time to sleep
  • Dark room: Try black out curtains or an eye mask. No nightlight, and cover clocks and other things that emit light.
  • Quiet: Try earplugs to help if your sleep is disrupted by external noises/partner snores, etc. White noise can also help to cancel out distracting noises that can disrupt sleep.

Timing: Establish a regular sleep schedule.

  • Establish a sleep-wake routine: Stick to a routine, even on weekends. Any routine that has a bedtime before midnight and allows for 7-8 hours is reasonable.
  • Don’t eat for at least 2 hours before bed: Your body needs time to begin metabolizing and absorbing food.
  • Keep naps to 20-30 minutes in the early to mid-afternoon: Research shows that naps (even 9 minutes long) can be restorative. Short naps prevent person from going into deep sleep, which can extend the duration of the nap, result in the person feeling sluggish, and interfere with nighttime sleep. If you have sleep problems like insomnia, naps can add to the problem especially if taken late in the day. Naps do not make up for chronic sleep loss or poor-quality nighttime sleep.

For more information, check out this Lifestyle Medicine Sleep Fact Sheet.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Do You Know Your Numbers?

DeAngelo Banks

We know how many gallons it takes to fill our cars…
But when it comes to our bodies, we don’t know our numbers.

Nearly half of the adult American population has high blood pressure and most don’t even know it or the health risks of not knowing.

DeAngelo Banks, 46, admits he didn’t know his numbers. He had no symptoms. He thought he was completely healthy. The truth is, he was walking around with hypertension—a major cause of premature death. That didn’t surprise him as his father had hypertension. But it was worse than that. Only after he finally reached out to a doctor did he find out he was in dire straits. He had no idea. He was caught completely off guard. DeAngelo was at risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and other life-threatening complications. By the time he got to the emergency department at St. Mary Mercy Livonia, he found out he needed immediate surgery to repair his heart. His numbers indicated he didn’t have long to live. During recovery from his life-saving surgery, DeAngelo and the St. Mary Mercy Livonia Cardiac Rehab team worked together to get him feeling healthy again. Today, he’s feeling great and much younger than his actual age.

His message: Talk to your doctor. Find out what your numbers are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your health. Even the embarrassing questions.

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a St. Joe’s doctor near you and take control of your health.

St. Joe’s Helps Keep Rod Jenkins Young at Heart

After receiving treatment from Michigan Heart Ann Arbor for his Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), in late 2020, Rod Jenkins is now back to fly fishing, hiking, biking and most importantly, being able to keep up with his two-year-old granddaughter.

“She’s a bundle of energy, but now I can be part of her life and it feels great,” said Rod. “I’m also able to explore new trout streams to try out this spring… For the first time in 15 years, I’m back up to speed and off all medications.”

Rod is certainly not alone in facing the challenges of AFib.

What is AFib?

AFib is the most common type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, impacting up to 6.1 million people in the United States. AFib is an electrical problem of the heart that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

When someone has AFib, the electrical signals in the top chambers of the heart (or atria) have become irregular which can lead to a faster heart rate in the bottom chambers of the heart (or ventricles). When the heart isn’t effectively pumping blood through the body, normal activity can become tiring, make breathing challenging, or potentially cause dizziness.

Risk Factors of AFib

Common risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, and heavy alcohol use. People can also develop AFib even if they don’t have any of these risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is why early treatment is the key to managing AFib. As an active, fitness enthusiast, Rod’s condition was unexpected, but he was fortunate to have a key ally in the team at Michigan Heart. They remained supportive through the years and kept pursuing new treatments that eventually resolved his AFib.

Rod’s path to recovery began in 2006 when he started experiencing classic AFib symptoms including being light-headed, shortness of breath and fatigue. Once diagnosed at Michigan Heart, he first attempted to manage his symptoms with medication and a common treatment that involved cauterizing or scarring the inside of the heart. This procedure sought to stop the electrical pulses that triggered his irregular heartbeat and caused many of the AFib symptoms he was experiencing.

That initial treatment did not deliver the desired result for Rod. He then turned to Jihn Han, MD and Robert Lyons, MD from Michigan Heart, who performed a hybrid convergent ablation procedure, an innovative, minimally invasive treatment that involves cauterizing both the inside and outside surfaces of the heart to halt uneven electrical pulses that were causing Rod’s AFib. Michigan Heart provided an additional tune up procedure to ensure Rod’s heart was performing perfectly.

“Over the past 15 years our ability to help patients with AFib has come a long way,” said Dr. Han. The development of procedures such as hybrid convergent ablation is a game changer.”

While medical progress and innovation continues to move forward, there is still no substitute for paying close attention to what your body is telling you and getting the necessary help as soon as an issue arises.

“The first line of defense against AFib is understanding the symptoms, but there are many people who don’t know the warning signs,” said Dr. Lyons. “That’s why it’s crucial to get regular check-ups to stop AFib before it stops you.”

The benefits of catching AFib early and getting effective treatment are life-changing.

“I’m so happy with the results and my quality of life right now and it’s all because of the Michigan Heart team at St. Joe’s,” said Rod. “I was being held hostage by AFib. I have my life back, which is wonderful!”

What causes AFib?

As people get older, their risk for AFib increases. Some people who lead a healthy lifestyle and don’t have any other medical conditions can still develop AFib. However, AFib has some common causes and risk factors. Such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart muscle problems
  • Heart valve problems
  • Lung disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Scarring of the atrium
  • Extreme physical stress
  • Genetics
  • Abnormal mineral levels
  • High thyroid levels/Overactive thyroid
  • Toxins – including alcohol and some drugs

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms tend to occur when the heart rate is too fast. A person may have no symptoms when the heart rate is normal. Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable and cause concern, they are not usually life threatening.

Only 60% of people with AFib have symptoms. The other 40% do not have symptoms.

Common Symptoms:

  • Irregular and fast heartbeats
  • Heart palpitations (a pounding feeling in your chest)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness or almost passing out

*If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack or medical emergency – call 911.

Ready to get back to your rhythm?

Schedule an appointment with one of our heart doctors today.

Delicious Appetizer, Healthy For Your Heart

Rainbow Frittata

Diabetic Living Magazine
This delicious frittata is loaded with heart-healthy, omega-3 enriched eggs and a medley of colorful vegetables. Start cooking the vegetables on the stove and finish them up in the oven with the egg mixture. To serve, top with avocado slices, grape tomatoes and a touch of sriracha.
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 219 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup 1/2 inch pieces sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup 1/2 inch pieces yellow sweet pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
  • 8 omega-3 enriched eggs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 avocado halved, seeded, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 5 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • Sriracha Sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat an oven-going 10-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add sweet potato, sweet pepper and broccoli; cook and stir over medium 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, basil, thyme, salt and black pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set on bottom and around edges. Using a spatula, lift egg mixture so uncooked portion flows underneath.
  • Transfer skillet to oven; cook 5 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Remove from oven. Let stand 2 minutes. Top servings with avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle with sriracha.

Notes

Nutrition Facts

1/4 frittata (3/4 cup)
 
219 calories; protein 13.9g; carbohydrates 7.7g; dietary fiber 3.3g; sugars 2.2g; fat 15g; saturated fat 3.9g; cholesterol 372mg; vitamin a iu 2112.2IU; vitamin c 25mg; folate 90.8mcg; calcium 70.7mg; iron 2.2mg; magnesium 30.2mg; potassium 455.8mg; sodium 226mg.
2 lean protein, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1 fat
Keyword bone health, dairy free, gluten free, healthy aging, healthy immunity, low calorie, low carbohydrate, low sodium, nut free, soy free, vegetarian
Tempeh Tacos
A delicious and heart healthy meal for any day of the week.
Check out this recipe

Tempeh Tacos

Tempeh Tacos

A delicious and heart healthy meal for any day of the week.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 tacos

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes (with juice) or low sodium salsa
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 package tempeh, finely chopped
  • 8 soft corn tortillas (4 inch diameter)
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add one (1) tablespoon of water to a skillet and sauté pepper strips and diced onion until soft.
  • Then add diced tomatoes (with juice), cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and oregano.
  • Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add chopped tempeh and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until the tempeh has absorbed some of the sauce.
  • Serve over corn tortillas. Top with cilantro lime slaw or other toppings like jalapeno, low sodium hot sauce/salsa, lettuce, avocado slices (optional).

Notes

Chef’s Tip:  Use a food processor to easily chop the tempeh. Be sure not to overmix.
Keyword heart healthy, tacos, tempeh, vegetarian
Rainbow Frittata
This delicious frittata is loaded with heart-healthy, omega-3 enriched eggs and a medley of colorful vegetables. Start cooking the vegetables on the stove and finish them up in the oven with the egg mixture. To serve, top with avocado slices, grape tomatoes and a touch of sriracha.
Check out this recipe

Medical Weight Loss: The HMR Difference

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it’s a commitment to a lifestyle change. Altering habits can be difficult and many people struggle to stick with a new routine. Having a goal can provide focus, like qualifying for a needed surgery or going on a vacation pain free.

The good news is, if you want to lose weight and begin working towards your best self you don’t have to do it alone. With so many weight loss programs to choose from, how do you know what program is right for you?

In order to choose the best option for you, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Are you ready to start changing your lifestyle habits?
  2. Would you prefer to have a support group you can lean on? Or would you prefer to forge your own path and do it by yourself?
  3. Do you like to cook/be in the kitchen? Or does a structured, pre-packaged meal plan sound better to you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, the HMR Medical Weight Loss program might be right for you.

What is medical weight loss?

Medical weight loss is the process of losing weight with the support, coaching, and guidance of a healthcare professional, like a doctor.

The HMR Medical Weight Loss Program uses experienced health educators that focus on teaching you the behavioral skills needed to manage your weight, for life. Our team uses their knowledge and medical experience to create an individualized and realistic plan that meets your unique circumstances.

What are the meal plans like?

The program offers two meal plans to choose from, the Decision-Free Plan and the Healthy Solutions Plan. The Decision-Free Plan is very structured; participants are medically supervised and only use the HMR prepared meals and shakes. The Healthy Solutions Plan is more flexible, allowing participants to use both the HMR prepared foods as well as some fresh fruits and vegetables. (This plan is not medically supervised.)

Decision-Free Plan

  • HMR Foods Only
  • Medically Supervised
  • NO Grocery Store Foods
  • Daily Calories = 800

Choose from a nutrition plan of 5 shakes daily or 3 shakes and 2 entrées daily.

Healthy Solutions Plan

  • HMR Foods + Fruits & Vegetables
  • NOT Medically Supervised
  • Daily Calories = 1,200

Nutritional plan includes 3 shakes, 2 entrées, and a total of 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily.

Participants have benefited from this program not only losing weight but many are able to stop taking certain medications and get back to living life. Read what our participants have to say about the program:

“I have removed all my diabetes and blood pressure medications, controlling both conditions with diet and exercise. There have been many positive benefits that I have enjoyed with the HMR program. The staff understands the struggles that come along at different times during your journey, and they have strategies to help you through. I would highly recommend the HMR Program to anyone who is committed to making this the time they lose the weight for good!”

Anthony B., lost over 130 pounds

“In the 18 months I have continued in the program I have learned and practiced how to deal with the ups and downs of weight maintenance. I no longer take diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol medications. Good health and weight control is a conscious decision. I will always work at maintaining my weight and health. HMR gave me the opportunity to start living in the same but new and improved version of me.”

Rebecca C., lost over 65 pounds

Our program accepts people age 18 and older and can support participants with complex medical issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure. A referral from your doctor isn’t required to join the program, however, they are accepted and encouraged.

HMR has received the US News World Report Badge for ‘The Fastest Weight Loss Program’ for the 7th year in a row.

Ready to begin your weight loss journey?

Connect with a health educator today and call 734-712-5540.

5 Easy Overnight Oats Recipes

5 easy overnight oats recipes –

Easy make ahead breakfasts are very important to many people who do not have time to prepare a healthy breakfast every morning. With these easy and healthy overnight oats you to can plan your breakfast for the week. Whether you prefer Blueberry Overnight Oats, Chocolate & Banana Overnight Oats or Tropical flavors like Pina Colada Overnight Oats, here you will find your favorite flavors.

Blueberry Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (45g) Rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup (45g) blueberries
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Almond milk or any milk of your choice
  • slivered almonds and blueberries for topping

Chocolate & Banana Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (45g) Rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Maple syrup, optional
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Almond milk or any milk of your choice
  • 1/2 Banana
  • Chocolate shavings and banana slices for topping

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (45g) Rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Almond milk or any milk of your choice
  • 1/2 Apple, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons Honey/maple syrup, optional
  • Walnuts 

Pina Colada Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (45g) Rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 2oz (60g) Pineapple
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Honey/Maple syrup *optional
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Coconut milk or any milk of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon Desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Pineapple chunks and desiccated coconut for topping

Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (45g) Rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Almond milk or any milk of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Fruit jam of your choice
  • Crushed peanuts and natural peanut butter for topping
DIRECTIONS

1. Place all ingredients into a large glass container/bowl and mix until combined.

2. Transfer to a jar or a glass. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

3. Top with fresh fruits/nuts/seeds and serve.

Source: theCookingFoodie.com

Medicare and Annual Wellness Visits

Including a Glossary of Helpful Terms

Taking time to schedule an annual visit with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) could be life-changing because prevention is often the key to living longer, healthier lives.

Even if seniors are feeling well or taking very few medications, getting an Annual Wellness Visit can help your PCP identify symptoms and conditions early.

Q: Does Medicare require patients to visit their PCP annually?

A: Medicare does not require patients to visit their PCP annually. However, they do encourage patients to schedule an Initial Preventive Physical Examination (“Welcome to Medicare Visit”) within the first 12 months of part B enrollment to review medical and social health histories as well as preventive services education.

Medicare also encourages an “Annual Wellness Visit” every 12 months to develop or update a personalized plan for prevention of illness and perform a health risk assessment. During an Annual Wellness Visit, vitals are obtained, but a complete physical exam is not performed.

Q: Are “annual physicals” covered by insurance providers, including Medicare?

A: Medicare covers the Welcome to Medicare Visit and the Annual Wellness Visit, with no co-pay or deductible, but Medicare does not cover routine annual physicals during which more detailed exams are performed and which often include routine lab and screening tests.

Some supplemental insurance plans may cover routine annual physicals, with applicable co-pays and deductibles. Medicare will cover services for specific diagnoses with necessary labs/testing, but co-pays and deductibles will apply.

Q: What tests are typically part of an annual physical?

A: Tests are determined based on a patient’s age, medical history, family history, risk factors and presenting complaints. Often, labs are ordered to monitor blood sugar, electrolytes, kidney and liver function, blood counts, cholesterol, and thyroid function. Screening for osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer are also discussed and ordered as appropriate.

Q: Are these tests usually covered by insurance?

A: Many preventive services are covered by health insurance plans; however, patients are encouraged to check with their insurance companies before completing any lab or testing to see if it is covered, and how much out-of-pocket cost there will be.

Q: For people who are looking for a PCP, is there a trusted online resource for checking to see how a physician is rated?

A: There is a lot of information available online, but the most reliable, trustworthy resources would be a patient’s insurance company review or local hospital websites. These sources have firsthand information about physicians who have gone through rigorous credentialing processes and are highly recommended.

A Glossary of Helpful Terms Regarding Medicare and Checkups

Annual Physical An annual physical exam is an assessment of your body’s overall health. The primary purpose is to look for health problems.

During the exam, your doctor uses his or her senses to evaluate how your body is performing. Based on the evaluation, your doctor may ask you to have tests to determine or rule out possible health problems.

 The list below shows some actions your physician may take during a physical exam.

  • Visually check your body for signs of existing health issues
  • Look into your eyes, ears, nose, and throat for potential problems
  • Listen to your heart and lungs to detect irregular sounds
  • Touch parts of your body to feel for abnormalities
  • Test your motor function and reflexes
  • Complete pelvic and rectal exams
  • Measure your height, weight, and blood pressure

Medicare does not cover an annual physical. The exam and any tests your doctor orders are separate services, and you may have expenses related to these depending on your Medicare plan.

Annual Wellness Visit A Medicare Wellness Visit is an overall evaluation of your health and well-being. The primary purpose is prevention and involves either creating or updating your individual prevention plan. Medicare covers a Wellness Visit once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last Wellness visit), and you are eligible for this benefit after having Medicare Part B for at least 12 months.

During the exam, your primary care provider combines information from the visit with your medical record to assess your risk for common preventable health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Based on the evaluation, your doctor creates your individual prevention plan with a checklist of screenings you need to have.

The list below shows actions your provider may perform during a wellness exam.

  • Review your health risk assessment (questions you answer about your health)
  • Confirm your medical and family history
  • Document your current prescriptions and providers
  • Measure and document your height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Look for signs of memory loss, dementia, or frailty
  • Record your health risk factors and treatment options
  • Provide personalized health advice
  • Develop a schedule for the preventive services recommended for you

Medicare Part B covers an annual wellness exam and several preventive screenings with no copay or deductible. However, you may have to pay a portion of the cost for some recommended tests or services.

Copay An amount you are required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctor’s visit, hospital outpatient visit, or prescription medication. This is generally a flat dollar amount rather than a percentage.

Coinsurance An amount you are required to pay as your share of the cost for services after you pay any deductibles and is usually a percentage.

Deductible The amount you are required to pay for health care or prescriptions before Medicare, your prescription drug plan, or any other insurance will pay.

Preventive Services Health care to prevent or detect illness at an early stage. Preventive services include pap tests, certain vaccines, and screening mammograms.

Routine Labs and Screenings Testing or services recommended by a health care provider that allow potential health problems to be prevented or addressed early enough for a better overall outcome of a patient’s health.

Supplemental Insurance Plan (also known as Medigap) refers to numerous private health insurance plans used to supplement Medicare. Medigap insurance provides coverage for many of the co-pays and some of the co-insurance related to Medicare covered services

————————————————————–

Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) A waiver that a physician or supplier should give a Medicare beneficiary when providing an item or service for which Medicare is expected to deny payment.

If you do not receive an ABN before you get the service from your physician or supplier, and Medicare does not pay for it, then you probably do not have to pay for it (unless it is a statutory exclusion).

If the physician or supplier does provide you an ABN that you sign prior to receiving the service, and Medicare does not pay for it, then you will have to pay your physician or supplier for it.

ABNs only apply if you have Traditional Medicare. They are not applicable if you are in a Medicare Managed Care Plan or Private Fee-for-Service Plan.

Coordination of Benefits (COB) Method for determining the responsibilities of two or more health plans that have some financial responsibility for a medical claim.

Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Statement from your health insurance detailing what costs will be covered for medical care or services received. This generally will include the total cost of the care received as well as any out-of-pocket expenses that the patient may incur.

Statutory Exclusion Services or supplies never covered by Medicare. Some examples are dental services, routine foot care, and cosmetic surgery.

Schedule an annual visit with your primary care physician today

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Find a St. Joe’s doctor near you and take control of your health.

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