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Chronic diseases cause 70% of deaths each year. Yet the onset of most chronic conditions can be delayed or limited in progression with behavioral interventions, such as avoiding risky behaviors, increasing physical activity, and obtaining life-saving screening services [1]. Under new provisions in the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 31 million individuals enrolled in new employer plans and 10 million in new individual plans are expected to benefit from fully covered preventive services sometime in 2011[2].

While the changes to Medicare coverage for preventive services will present challenges to providers, the expansion of coverage is a great opportunity for patients and clinicians to receive and offer, respectively, better preventive care [3,4]. Medicare is now completely covering an annual wellness visit, in addition to a number of screening tests and counseling activities. Reimbursement for these activities is set for a few, but for the most part are determined by intermediaries. The following gaps in knowledge and practice have been identified, through needs assessment research, to exist among clinicians and medical staff, and are covered in the CME activities that follow:
 
•    Gaps in Screening and preventive care exist for HIV, osteoporosis, cancer, alcohol addiction and depression

•    Gaps in risk reduction exist for Cardiovascular Health

•    Uneven application of pediatric and adult immunization guidelines

•    Gaps in knowledge and application of  information regarding office systems to improve preventive efforts

1.    Clarke JL. Preventive medicine: a ready solution for a health care system in crisis. Popul Health Manag. 2010; 13 Suppl2: S3.
2.    Background: The Affordable Care Act’s New Rules on Preventive Care. Heathcare.gov web site. July 14, 2010. 
3.    Terry K. Trendspotter: Preventive Services in Reform Law Benefits Doctors and Patients. Physicians Practice web site. September 1, 2010.
4.    Hughes C. What you need to know about the Medicare preventive services expansion.  Family Practice Management 2011;18: 22-25
 

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