239026 Role of Cardiovascular Risk Factor Screening in Stimulating Medicare Preventive Services Use

Monday, October 31, 2011

Irene Pollin, MSW, PhD (Hon) , Founder and Chairperson, Sister to Sister Foundation, Chevy Chase, MD
Edward Roccella, PhD, MPH , National High Blood Pressure Education Program (Coordinator, ret), National Institutes of Health, Irvington, VA
Sandie Preiss, MPA , Strategic Health Policy, Abbott Laboratories, Lutherville, MD
A low-income population was surveyed to investigate barriers to receiving healthcare and provided free cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor screenings to determine whether this would subsequently increase the use of Medicare preventive services. African-American and Hispanic women and men residing in Washington, DC, who relied solely on Medicare for their healthcare insurance, were the studied population. Of the 206 people who participated in the CVD screening process, 51 met the study's eligibility criteria and completed the health usage survey. Cost, access, transportation, communication with doctors, and comprehension regarding medication instructions were not reported as problems and therefore do not appear to be barriers to controlling CVD risk factors in this population. Of the 51 eligible participants, 47 responded to a follow-up survey regarding their ensuing use of preventive services. Nearly half of these Medicare-only respondents stated that they had an appointment with their physician in the 2 months following the free CVD screenings, suggesting these free screenings stimulated health-seeking behavior. The traditional barriers to healthcare described in the literature were of little consequence. Instead, a feeling of good health as well as a lack of knowledge about the availability of preventive health services seem to be the main factors stopping this population from accessing Medicare preventive services. We conclude, instead of focusing on removal of traditional barriers to medical care, that free screening and more education about the nature of CVD risk factors and prevention services will promote health-seeking behavior.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the barriers to healthcare and barriers to receiving free cardiovascular disease risk factor screenings in an inner-city Medicare population.

Keywords: Health Care Utilization, Chronic (CVD)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I was the Coordinator (ret.) for the High Blood Pressure Education Program at the National Institutes of Health, and I serve as the Senior Public Health Advisor for the Sister to Sister Foundation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.