This year, VHAN has placed a sharp focus on Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) and Medical Risk Adjustment (MRA) coding. Recently, the network held a moderated discussion on both vital topics, using the VHANtage Point discussion forum.

Over the course of four weeks, a group of network clinicians, administrators and quality leaders convened to share challenges and opportunities to engage patients in AWVs and optimize HCC (Hierarchical Condition Category) recapture rates as part of these visits. Participants also talked about the resources, tools and patient education materials that would help support improvement in these areas. Here are five best practices collected from the discussion:

  1. Leverage EMR templates. Build AWV templates into your EMR to ensure proper documentation. You can also embed HCC tools and chart prep tools to support recapture during AWVs.
  2. Maximize patient visits. Bill AWVs along with additional services to provide more value to the patient and save time on future appointments. Take advantage of the time patients spend in your practice. Set an EMR notification to flag providers when a patient who is due for an AWV is in the office—then, try to schedule their next visit during check out.
  3. Use staff to the top of their license. Under CMS rules, nurses and nurse practitioners can perform the majority of an AWV. Educate your staff on how to perform an AWV to maximize the physician’s time. 
  4. Educate patients on the importance of AWVs. Take the time to explain to your patients how AWVs can specifically support their long-term health during other visits.
  5. Improve HCC recapture. There is a lack of data for capturing HCCs, and too often they aren’t being recaptured during sick visits. Educate staff on HCC coding processes to optimize your rates.

If you are interested in learning more about enhancing patient engagement and optimizing HCC recapture rates, VHAN staff are here to support you with personalized education from quality and coding experts. Click here to complete the assessment and interest form, and a member of our team will connect with you on next steps.

You can also find HCC coding and AWV on-demand education and resources on the VHAN Hub, including comprehensive coding guides, wellness and coding checklists, miniVHAN podcast episodes and quick reference guides.