Take Care With a Preventive Care Visit

Health Minute

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Scheduling a preventive care visit with your physician each year is an important part of maintaining your health and well-being.

A preventive care visit – also known as a well check, a check-up, or a physical – serves as a time for your doctor to check in on your overall wellness, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Your doctor or a nurse will likely start the visit with some questions called a health risk assessment, according to the HHS. Your answers help your doctor have a better picture of your current health and your family history.

During a preventive care, according to the HHS, your doctor might:

  • Review your health risk assessment with you
  • Use your height and weight to calculate your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a tool used to determine is your amount of body fat compared to your weight and height. Carrying extra body fat rather than muscle can put you at greater risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke
  • Check your blood pressure
  • Complete a routine physical exam
  • Provide any immunizations you need
  • Order any lab tests or health screenings you might need, including mammography, colonoscopy, cervical cancer screening, prostate cancer screening or osteoporosis screening

Depending on your insurance coverage, you might only be able to get a well preventive care visit once a year. Once a year can mean once every 12 months or once within a calendar year, according to the HHS.

Your preventive care visit is also an opportunity to talk with your doctor about any healthcare concerns you have. Your doctor might ask you to come back for a follow-up visit for some of the issues to give them appropriate attention, according to the HHS.

You will also want to talk to your doctor about some important paper work during your visit. Some of these documents can be handled by your doctor and some need to be taken care of by your attorney. According to the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA):

  • Living Will – In this document, you state your wishes about life-sustaining medical treatment if you become terminally ill, permanently unconscious or enter the end-stage of a fatal illness.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney – This document authorizes another person to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. The person you name as your healthcare power of attorney will be required to make decisions consistent with your wishes, will be in effect as your healthcare decision maker when you can no longer make decisions about your treatment, and cannot overrule a living will, if you have completed both documents.
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) – This document requests to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) done if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. Other advanced directives do not include a DNR order, so you need to fill this out separately.

Talk with your physician at your preventive care visit to determine when would be the right time for you to fill out these medical directives.

Depending on your insurance coverage, your preventive care visit will likely be free, or cost you no more than your co-pay, according to the HHS.

Call your physician’s office to set up your next preventive check.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.