Effects of screening for geriatric conditions and advance care planning at the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

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Background: The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) requires screening for geriatrics conditions and can include advance care planning (ACP). We examined (1) the prevalence of positive screens for falls, cognitive impairment, and activities of daily living (ADL) impairment, (2) referrals/orders generated potentially in response, and (3) the increase in ACP among those with two AWVs. Methods: In this retrospective analysis, we used electronic medical record data from a Mid-Atlantic group ambulatory practice. We included adults age > 65 who had ≥1 AWV (n = 16,176) in years 2014–2017. Analyses on high-risk prescribing were limited to those (n = 13,537) with ≥3 months of follow up and ACP to those (n = 9097) with two AWVs. We used responses from the AWV health risk questionnaire to identify screening status for falls, cognitive and ADL impairment and whether an older adult had an ACP. For each screen we identified orders/referrals placed potentially in response (e.g., physical therapy for falls). High-risk medications were based on the 2019 Beers Criteria. Results: Positive screening rates were 38% for falls, 23% for cognition, and 32% for ADL impairment. The adjusted odds of having an order placed potentially in response to the screening were 1.8 (95% CI 1.6–2.0) for falls, 1.4 (1.3–1.7) for cognition, 2.8 (2.4–3.3) for ADL impairment. The adjusted odds of a high-risk prescription in the 3 months after a positive screen were 2.1 (95% CI 1.8–2.5) for falls and 1.9 (95% CI 1.6–2.4) for cognition. Of those with two AWVs, 48% had an ACP at the first AWV. Among the remaining 52% with no ACP at the first AWV, the predicted probability of having an ACP at the second AWV was 0.22 (95% CI 0.18–0.25). Conclusion: Our results may indicate positive effects of screening for geriatric conditions at the AWV, and highlight opportunities to improve geriatrics care related to prescribing and ACP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-584
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • prevention
  • primary care
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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