Medicare Annual Wellness Visits

Many people consider a yearly trip to the doctor for a “physical” part of routine care. Some may think of a physical as a head-to-toe assessment of health. We may expect tests, screenings, X-rays and other procedures.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes a physical exam as studying the body to determine if there is or is not a physical problem. NIH goes on to say that it usually includes:

  • Looking at the body (inspection)
  • Feeling the body with fingers or hands (palpation)
  • Listening to the body’s sounds (auscultation)
  • Producing sounds, usually by tapping on areas of the body (percussion)

Notice there is no mention of specific tests or procedures. The provider gathers information through his or her senses—what is seen, felt or heard. Tests may be ordered based on this information, but they would not be covered under the cost of the physical exam.

Medicare does not cover an annual physical exam, as such. This may be confusing, so let’s look at what Medicare does cover.

Welcome to Medicare Visit

Medicare Part B covers a Welcome to Medicare Visit.

This visit is also called an Initial Preventive Physical Exam (IPPE). You are eligible for this benefit once, within the first 12 months that you are enrolled in Part B. During the visit your provider will:

  • Record and evaluate your medical and family history, current health conditions and prescriptions.
  • Check your blood pressure, vision, weight and height to get a baseline for your care.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date with preventive screenings and services, such as cancer screenings and shots.
  • Order further tests, depending on your general health and medical history.
  • You do not pay a copayment for your Welcome to Medicare Visit. The Part B deductible does not apply to the cost of the visit either.

After the visit, your provider will give you a personalized prevention plan or checklist with the screenings and preventive services recommended for you. These services are not part of the Welcome Visit. You may have to pay a co-payment for the recommended services when you get them. Your Part B deductible may also apply.


Medicare Wellness Visit

Medicare Part B also covers an annual Wellness Visit. You are eligible for this benefit once each year, after you have had Part B for at least 12 months. Medicare will cover an Annual Wellness Visit once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last visit).

The purpose of the Annual Wellness Visit is to develop or update your personalized prevention plan. The visit includes:

  • A health risk assessment (questions you answer about your health)
  • A review of your medical and family history
  • Developing or updating a list of your current providers and prescriptions
  • Documenting your height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements
  • Looking for signs of memory loss or dementia
  • Personalized health advice just for you
  • A list of risk factors and treatment options for you
  • A screening schedule (like a checklist) for the preventive services recommended for you
  • You pay no copayment for your Annual Wellness Visits, and these visits are not subject to your Part B deductible. However, you may have to pay a share of the cost for certain recommended tests or services.


The bottom line is that the Welcome to Medicare Visit and Annual Wellness Visits are important Medicare benefits that help you and your doctor stay on top of your health. While these visits are not “physical exams,” in many ways they accomplish the same thing.



Physical Exam or Wellness Visit? What Medicare Covers

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Back To School – Backpack Safety

  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. 
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10% to 20% of your child’s body weight. Go through the pack with your child weekly, and remove unneeded items to keep it light. 
  • Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at your child’s waist.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers. And review backpack safety with your child.



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Back To School – First Days

Making the First Day Easier

  • Parents should remember that they need not wait until the first day of class to ask for help. Schools are open to address any concerns a parent or child might have, including the specific needs of a child, over the summer. The best time to get help might be one to two weeks before school opens. 
  • Many children become nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. This may occur at any age. If your child seems nervous, it can be helpful to rehearse entry into the new situation. Take them to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. Remind them that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. If your child seems nervous, ask them what they are worried about and help them problem solve ways to master the new situation.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school to create positive anticipation about the first day of class. They will see old friends and meet new ones. Talk with them about positive experiences they may have had in the past at school or with other groups of children.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school or ride on the bus.
  • If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day. Bring the child to school a few days prior to class to play on the playground and get comfortable in the new environment.

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What is Medical Ear Piercing?

LPWC now offers medical ear piercing using the trusted Blomdahl products


Then you have come to the right place – this is exactly what Blomdahl offers. Using sterile products, hygienic methods and skin friendly jewellery, we always put your skin and your health first. Out of special consideration for children, we have developed medical simultaneous ear piercing in order to speed up the piercing process without compromising safety.

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We Now Offer Massage !

Laramie Physicians for Women and Children is proud to offer massage with our very own Certified Massage Therapist!

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.

Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.

Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.


Benefits of massage

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

Anxiety; Digestive disorders Fibromyalgia; Headaches; Insomnia related to stress; Soft tissue strains or injuries

Hot Stone





Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.

Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.



Risks of massage

Most people can benefit from massage. However, massage may not be appropriate if you have:

·         Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication

·         Burns or healing wounds

·         Deep vein thrombosis

·         Fractures

·         Severe osteoporosis

·         Severe thrombocytopenia

Discuss the pros and cons of massage with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or you have cancer or unexplained pain.

Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn’t ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come fr

om too much pressure during massage.

What you can expect during a massage

You don’t need any special preparation for massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, your massage therapist should ask you about any symptoms, your medical history and what you’re hoping to get out of massage. Your massage therapist should explain the kind of massage and techniques he or she will use.

In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loose-fitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you’re comfortable. You generally lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. You can also have a massage while sitting in a chair, fully clothed. Your massage therapist should perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.

Depending on preference, your massage therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.

A massage session may last from 10 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage and how much time you have. No matter what kind of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage.

If a massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Occasionally you may have a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot. It’s likely to be uncomfortable while your massage therapist works it out. But if it becomes painful, speak up.

The take-home message about massage

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever. 

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March is Endometriosis Month

Endometriosis happens when the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus. It may affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44.1 It is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s and may make it harder to get pregnant. Several different treatment options can help manage the symptoms and improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Endometriosis, sometimes called “endo,” is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis happens when this tissue grows outside of your uterus and on other areas in your body where it doesn’t belong.

Most often, endometriosis is found on the:

  • Ovaries 
  • Fallopian tubes 
  • Tissues that hold the uterus in place 
  • Outer surface of the uterus 
  • Other sites for growths can include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. Rarely, endometriosis appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.

Symptoms of endometriosis can include:

Pain. This is the most common symptom. Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain. These include:

  • Very painful menstrual cramps. The pain may get worse over time.
  • Chronic (long-term) pain in the lower back and pelvis
  • Pain during or after sex. This is usually described as a “deep” pain and is different from pain felt at the entrance to the vagina when penetration begins.
  • Intestinal pain
  • Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods. In rare cases, you may also find blood in your stool or urine.

Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods. This can be caused by something other than endometriosis. If it happens often, you should see your doctor.

Infertility, or not being able to get pregnant.

Stomach (digestive) problems. These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.



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Facts About Heart Disease in Women

Do you know what causes heart disease in women? What about the survival rate? Or whether women of all ethnicities share the same risk?

The fact is: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!

But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.

There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason. In this section, we’ll arm you with the facts and dispel some myths – because the truth can no longer be ignored.  



Know your risk:

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Robotic Assisted Surgery

Is a gynecologic condition affecting your health and quality of life? Many conditions can impact your well-being and daily life, such as:

·        Severe pelvic pain

·        Abnormal or very heavy bleeding

·        Fibroids

·        Pelvic prolapse (falling/slipping of a pelvic organ(s))

When lifestyle changes, medicine or other options do not ease your symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgery. Surgery can include:

·        Open surgery: done through one large incision

·        Minimally invasive surgery: laparoscopic  or robotic-assisted da Vinci Surgery

Both laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgery are forms of minimally-invasive surgery.  In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon performs the procedure holding rigid instruments and views the surgical area through an endoscopic camera that is projected onto a monitor.  The tools used in laparoscopy have four degrees of movement.

Robotic-assisted surgery is performed through small incisions. During a da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical procedure, the surgeon sits at a console while viewing a high-definition, 3D image of the patient’s target anatomy. The surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements made at the console are translated into precise, real-time movement of surgical instruments attached to three or four robotic arms.

For more information click here or contact our office to schedule an appointment.




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Influenza? the facts

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
CDC 2017

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Hepatitis B Vaccine

​​​​Hepa​titis B is an infection of the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause lifelong HBV infection and can lead to liver cancer or permanent scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).

More than 1 million people in the United States are living with lifelong HBV infection. Anyone can get infected with HBV, including your child. The hepatitis B vaccine is the best way to ­protect your child from becoming infected. 

How is hepatitis B virus sp​read?​  

Hepatitis B virus is spread by blood or body fluids.


Here are ways exposure to these fluids can happen:

  • During birth (if the mother has HBV) 
  • Sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes, with a person who is infected
  • Having unprotected sex with a ­person who is infected 
  • Injecting or shooting drugs using a needle with infected blood — Infection through direct contact with infected blood may occur. 
  • Some children may also become infected with HBV while living in the same household as a person with a lifelong form of the infection.   

Why is my child at risk?

You may feel your child will never be exposed to HBV in any of these ways.


Here are some facts about HBV to think about:

  • One-third of people who are infected with HBV in the United States don’t know how they got it. 
  • Some people with HBV do not even know they are infected. 
  • A person, especially a child, with HBV may not feel or look sick. 
  • Nearly half of the more than 5,000 adult Americans who die from hepatitis B each year caught their infection during childhood. 
  • People with HBV can pass it to others who aren’t protected. Immunizing your child against this virus will protect her now and when she is older and exposed to more people. 

Is the hepatitis B vaccine safe?

The vaccine is very safe. No serious reactions have been linked to this vaccine. Side effects are usually mild and include fussiness or soreness where the shot was given. Symptoms usually go away within 48 to 72 hours. Keep in mind that getting the vaccine is much safer than getting the disease. 

When should my child get the hepatitis B vaccine?

Your child needs at least 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine to be fully protected.

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