Medicare’s Free Wellness Visit Can Prevent Diabetes Amputation | Health News

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By By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

MONDAY, June 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Annual wellness visits covered by Medicare reduce diabetes patients’ risk of amputation by greater than one-third, a latest study finds.

“Our results confirmed our hypothesis that Annual Wellness Visits are related to a reduced risk of major lower-extremity amputations, highlighting the importance of connecting patients to preventive care services,” study creator Jennifer Lobo said in a University of Virginia news release. She’s a researcher within the university’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

Lobo and her colleagues analyzed 2006-2015 data on Medicare recipients within the so-called “Diabetes Belt:” 644 U.S. counties within the South and Mid-Atlantic states with elevated rates of diabetes.

States within the Diabetes Belt include Mississippi in addition to portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

People within the Diabetes Belt had a 27% greater risk of lower-extremity amputation than those in counties surrounding the belt, the study found.

Irrespective of where they lived, the chance of amputation was 36% lower for Medicare recipients who went to their free annual wellness visit than amongst those skipped it, in response to findings recently presented at an American Diabetes Association meeting, in Recent Orleans.

Research presented at meetings is often considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The lower risk of amputations amongst patients who had their annual wellness visit may owe to several aspects, researchers said.

Those folks may receive earlier diagnosis of diabetes-related foot complications that may result in amputation. They may be more engaged of their care, which can reduce the chance for serious complications.

The authors also found that Black Americans had significantly higher rates of diabetes-related amputations than white folks, each inside and outdoors the Diabetes Belt.

That shows the necessity for measures comparable to increased education or the usage of patient navigators that guide patients through the health care system to assist Black patients with diabetes get the preventive care they need, in response to the researchers.

SOURCE: University of Virginia, news release, June 15, 2022

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