Impact of medicare annual wellness visits on uptake of depression screening

Elizabeth Pfoh, Ramin Mojtabai, Jennifer Bailey, Jonathan P. Weiner, Sydney M. Dy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Depression screening is a required part of an initial annual wellness visit (AWV), a benefit for Medicare Part B beneficiaries. It is uncertain whether AWVs will increase depression screening. This study assessed whether patients with an AWV were more likely to be screened for depression than those with a primary care visit. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of electronic health record data was conducted for 4,245 Medicare patients who had at least one primary care visit at one of 34 practices within a large multisite provider network between September 2010 and August 2012. Quota sampling was used so that half of the participants had an AWV and half had a randomly selected primary care visit during the study period (the index visit). Multilevel logistic regressions were used to determine whether patients with an AWV had increased odds of depression screening compared with patients with a primary care visit, after adjustment for physician and clinic clustering. Results: Fifteen percent of patients with non-AWVs and 10% of patients with AWVs received depression screening. After accounting for clustering, there was no statistically significant difference in depression screening by visit type. There was a strong site effect, with one site conducting screening during 78% of AWVs and 82% of non-AWVs. Six sites screened none of their patients. Conclusions: Overall, depression screening during the index AWV was uncommon. By itself, the AWV benefit does not appear to be a strong enough incentive to increase depression screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1212
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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