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The Value of Preventative Health Care

This is brief introduction to preventative health visits between a patient and doctor, or what is commonly called an "annual exam".

Preventative health visits are an important tool between a patient and their primary care physician, or "PCP," as they establish continuity of care, allow review of health records and also chart future care for patients. Major commercial insurance, as well as Medicaid and Medicare allow for this to be reimbursed 100 percent. Some employers will want preventative health care done for the benefit of their employees' health care. Benefits of annual visits are numerous. First, it screens for diseases that could otherwise affect a person - such as breast cancer and cervical, colon and lung cancer screenings. It also allows for an opportunity to review vaccinations that may be important to consider to prevent pneumonia, influenza, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis which are all on the rise. In older patients, the shingles vaccination has become important addition after age 60.

Your visit with a doctor allows for counseling and advice for screening depression, cholesterol and tobacco use, as well as screening for cardiovascular diseases. For Medicare beneficiaries, it is now important to discuss a living will, power of attorney, and wishes and values with your doctor so that your care is personalized and respected. Consider an annual visit as an important method for you to avoid future health care costs of late or undiagnosed diseases that could have been detected earlier by a visit which included asking questions, a physical exam and diagnostic tests and vaccines.

Dr. Patel is currently Board Certified both in Geriatric and Family Medicine, focused on elder and primary care in Sierra Vista, Arizona, with New Era Family Practice. He also provides subacute medical care for patient post hospitalization at Life Care Center and Hacienda Care Center of Sierra Vista. Dr. Patel received medical degree from Guys Kings and St. Thomas Medical School London, UK, in addition to attending University College London, UK, for his Bachelor of Science, BS with Honors. He is a University of California Los Angeles – UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine Fellow in Geriatric Medicine, with practice experience in research, multidisciplinary team care, nursing home care, home visits care, ambulatory clinic care, end of life care and palliative and hospice medicine. He completed his Family Medicine Residency at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Erie County Medical Center. Dr. Patel is a Fellow of American Academy of Family Physicians and oversees patient care for Valor Hospice Care Sierra Vista Team. For further information, please contact Dr. Patel at (520) 439-0115.

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