One-Year Effect of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit on Detection of Cognitive Impairment: A Cohort Study

Nicole R. Fowler, Noll L. Campbell, Gerhardt M. Pohl, Leanne M. Munsie, Noam Y. Kirson, Urvi Desai, Erich J. Trieschman, Mark K. Meiselbach, J. Scott Andrews, Malaz A. Boustani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the effect of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) on the detection of cognitive impairment and on follow-up cognitive care for older adults. Design: Retrospective matched-cohort study. Setting: United States. Participants: A 5% random sample of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries continuously enrolled for 12 months before and after an index ambulatory visit occurring from 2011 to 2013 with no claims evidence of cognitive impairment before index. Measurements: Outcomes include 12-month post-index visit claims-based measurements of cognitive impairment, including new Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD) diagnoses; medications for ADRD; and cognitive care-related diagnostic examination such as neurobehavioral testing, brain imaging, and blood tests for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), serum B12, folate, and syphilis. We also measured changes in burden of anticholinergic medication. Results: There were no clinically relevant differences between the AWV and control groups in the rates of incident ADRD diagnoses (6.16% vs 6.86%, p<.001) and initiation of ADRD medications (1.00% vs 1.08%, p=.15), although there were differences favoring the AWV group in rates of TSH (39.80% vs 28.36%, p<.001), B12 (9.41% vs 6.97%, p<.001), folate (4.76% vs 3.72%, p<.001), and neurobehavioral (0.75% vs 0.55%, p<.001) testing. Conclusions: Although the AWV is correlated with an increase in some measures of cognitive care, such as laboratory testing for reversible causes of cognitive impairment, it does not appear to substantially increase recognition of undetected ADRD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-975
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • assessment
  • case control studies
  • cognitive aging
  • cognitive disorders
  • dementia
  • health services research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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