F A L L 2 0 2 1 5
THE FACTS ON PHYSICALS
The benefits of regular visits with your care provider
“The more we do to prevent health problems, the better,” says Justin
Glassford, MD, physician at Valley Health Family Medicine | Hedgesville
in West Virginia. In fact, preventing and catching problems early is one of
the main reasons patients schedule appointments for routine care. Below
are answers to questions about different types of care visits and how they
benefit patients of all ages.
Q: IF I FEEL HEALTHY, WHY SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR?
A: “During a routine checkup often called an ‘annual physical’ for adult
patients, we monitor medications, do blood work, check blood pressure,
make sure vaccines are up to date, and have a conversation to review preventive
steps and screenings patients should take,” continues Dr. Glassford.
He adds that most private insurers cover a yearly appointment, so for many
there is no co-pay or out-of-pocket expense.
An annual well-child visit for children and teens offers providers the
chance to monitor growth and development and update immunizations,
along with giving patients and their parents a chance to get accurate
answers to health questions.
Q: WHAT IS AN ANNUAL WELLNESS VISIT AND HOW DOES IT
DIFFER FROM AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL?
A: An annual wellness visit (AWV) is a yearly medical assessment for
patients on Medicare. As defined by Medicare, it does not include a provider
physical examination. During this office visit, usually with a nurse or
medical assistant, a patient answers questions about general health, including
history of screenings, exercise and mobility, memory loss, hearing and
vision, and other health factors. Based on the answers given, the assessor
works with the patient to develop a care plan, which could include appointments
for screenings, specialty care (cardiology, for example) or home
“Based on current evidence, Medicare beneficiaries who have an annual
wellness visit appear less likely to be admitted to the hospital in the year
following the AWV,” notes primary care physician David Switzer, MD,
medical director, Population Health. “They are less likely to go to the ER
and have a better completion rate for important tests and vaccinations.”
Q: WITH COVID-19 IN THE REGION, IS IT SAFE TO
GO TO MY PHYSICIAN’S OFFICE?
A: Yes. Valley Health has adopted protocols and practices
to sanitize hospitals and offices, and screens all caregivers
daily for COVID. “It is more important than ever to get
back to regular care,” Dr. Glassford reminds us. “Seniors,
in particular, should make sure they’ve had COVID,
pneumonia, flu, and shingles vaccines.”
Another benefit of routine medical care for both adults
and children: Building a lifelong relationship with your
provider means you have a trusted professional to guide
you in making care decisions for lifelong good health.
→ Valley Health has 29 locations offering family and
primary care. Visit valleyhealthlink.com/primarycare
or call 833-VHS-DOCS for more information.