A new study by researchers at the University of Virginia found that people with type 2 diabetes who attend an annual wellness check are significantly less likely to require a major lower extremity amputation within the same year.
The research involved Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, who are now entitled to a free yearly healthcare visit. The research found that 36% of people with diabetes had decreased odds of amputation just by attending this free check-up.
Jennifer Lobo, a researcher from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, presented findings at the 82nd American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Session in New Orleans, Louisiana. She said that “People who made use of the new free annual wellness checks had diabetic foot issues diagnosed earlier than those who did not attend the wellness check.” She also suggested that, “Policymakers should prioritize incentives for having patients participate in annual wellness visits to improve preventative care and reduce major lower extremity amputations, particularly in the Diabetes Belt.”
The Diabetes Belt, where the study took place, is made up of 644 counties in the Southeastern and Appalachian USA. The study showed that people in the Diabetes Belt had a 27% higher risk of requiring a major lower extremity amputation when compared with surrounding counties.
Previous research from the team found that precisely one additional major lower extremity amputation per 1000 people was needed in the Diabetes Belt compared to other counties.
The study also found that there are significantly increased rates of diabetes-related amputations among non-Hispanic Black patients in comparison to non-Hispanic White patients. This is true for inside and outside the Diabetes Belt. Researchers suggest the discrepancy could be due to relatively low available resources in the Diabetes Belt area. In order to boost preventative care in this area, more resources need to be available soon.
“While Annual Wellness Visits are a free visit for qualified Medicare beneficiaries, additional incentives or resources to overcome systematic access to care barriers are needed to support patient attendance,” says Jennifer Lobo. “Patient education about the value of Annual Wellness Visits and preventative care could also help improve utilization of Annual Wellness Visits, hopefully reducing the rate of major amputations.”
The new FREE Annual Wellness Visits provided by Medicare will benefit millions of people with Type 2 Diabetes, but only if they take advantage of the free visit.
At Next Day Access, we encourage you to take advantage of this wellness visit. However, if you have recently had an amputation, we encourage you to visit your nearest Next Day Access. We provide many types of mobility equipment to help you get around safely and independently after an amputation. We sincerely hope you will never find yourself needing an amputation, but we are here for you if you do.