New Medicare Benefits Close Prevention Gap for Seniors

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Medicare to pay for "Welcome to Medicare" physicals; measuring the health of our seniors can be done more efficiently and effectively with an online health risk assessment (HRA)

Medicare underscored its commitment to preventive care for seniors by announcing higher payments for preventive services to physicians this week. The program will begin paying for a “Welcome to Medicare Physical” and increasing payment rates to physicians for prevention, effective Jan. 1, 2005.

"This rule follows through on our commitment to make Medicare a prevention-oriented program," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson told reporters. “As a result of the new law, Medicare beneficiaries will receive higher quality care and value for their premium dollar,” he added.

The expanded benefits and increased payments are tied to the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, and couldn’t come at a better time to benefit enrollees, says Gregg Lehman, PhD, CEO of Gordian Health Solutions.

“We applaud Tommy Thompson and his forward thinking,” Lehman says. “Early screening can detect illness and trigger effective treatment so patients avoid serious complications and higher costs. It’s a much more effective use of the nation’s health care dollars.”

The “Welcome to Medicare Physical” is an overall assessment of the patient’s health and will give physicians an early chance to provide counseling and set at-risk patients on a healthy track. Medicare will also provide new coverage for screening for cardiovascular disease and for diabetes.

"Practicing physicians should now look at innovative ways to capture patient data, such as an online health risk assessment (HRA),” Lehman says. “An interactive HRA can serve as the foundation to pinpoint areas for health improvement, such as nutrition counseling, recommendations for physical activity or lifestyle and health management programs.”

Eris Survey Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gordian, was the lead developer in the creation of the nation's most widely distributed health risk assessment: the Healthier People HRA. This high-profile assessment tool was a joint project of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center and the National Centers for Disease Control.

About Gordian Health Solutions, Inc.

Gordian is a national population health management company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Gordian works with employers, health plans and hospitals to identify, control and manage health risk factors and their associated costs. Through targeted and tailored programs, and sophisticated tracking, monitoring and reporting capabilities, Gordian works with clients to measure program progress and cost savings. For more information about Gordian Heath Solutions, visit

Note to Editors: If you would like to schedule a time to speak with or interview Gregg Lehman, PhD, CEO of Gordian Health Solutions, contact Katherine Cappps, Health2 Resources at (703)319-0957 or

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.

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Karla Hurter