Objective: Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to receive free Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) for assessing preventive care needs, identifying care resources, and scheduling visits. We previously reported that AWVs are associated with increased use of preventive care for patients with diabetes. In this study, our objective is to conduct a case-control study to examine whether AWVs are associated more strongly with preventive care use in the Diabetes Belt than in surrounding areas.
Methods: We used a sample of ∼900,000 Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries who lived in the Diabetes Belt and surrounding areas in 2014 - 2015. We identified patients who have used an annual foot exam, eye exam, A1c test, and microalbuminuria (MA) test and those who did not in 2015. We used the dates of service receipt and the last day of the year (12/31) as the event date for users and non-users, respectively. We looked one full year before the event date to identify any AWVs. We used propensity-score stratification to estimate log odds of 4 preventive care use of annual foot exam, eye exam, A1c test, and MA test.
Results: For all four services, AWV users had significantly higher preventive care use compared to non-users. In 3 preventive services, AWVs were more strongly associated with preventive care use in the Belt than in the surrounding areas (foot exam, ORs = 2.38 vs 2.16, p < 0.001; A1c test, ORs = 1.44 vs. 1.36, p = 0.002; MA test, ORs = 1.70 vs. 1.44, p < 0.001; eye exam, ORs 1.22 vs. 1.19, p=0.063) .
Discussion: AWVs appear to have stronger effects on preventive care use for patients with diabetes in the more healthcare resource-poor Diabetes Belt than in the surrounding areas. AWVs may help to reduce disparities in the use of recommended preventive care for patients with diabetes.
M.Sohn: None. T.L.Mcmurry: None. H.Kang: None. S.Kim: None. J.M.Lobo: n/a.