The CDC reports that healthcare costs for fall-related injuries will reach $43 Billion annually in 2020. This is due to the fact that 1 in 3 seniors will fall each year and 75% of those who do fall will fall repeatedly. This is a problem of epidemic proportion but what can the average Primary Care Physician do about it? The answer: an in-office diagnostic test of fall risk with powerful reporting and tremendous revenues for the practice.
Luckily, a high percentage of these seniors falling have a problem that is easily treatable with a very high success rate. Most people think seniors fall because they have a balance problem but studies show only 9% of seniors fall into this category. In actuality, most seniors have a vestibular dysfunction which can be easily diagnosed with a Vestibular Autorotation Test or VAT.
The Vestibular Autorotation Test can be completed in any exam room in less than 20 minutes while the patient is comfortably seated in a chair. Quick, non-invasive with powerful reporting, this test helps doctors diagnose the problem and put seniors on a clinical roadmap to recovery and independence. The patient simply wears a lightweight head strap that connects to five electrodes. These electrodes connect at various points around the eyes and forehead. At the sound of a computer-generated tone, the patient moves their head left and right, up and down in a series of simple tests. Immediately upon completion, a report is printed with graphing to easily show the Primary Care Physician where the patient is deficient. In most cases, the patient is instructed on some simple eye exercises they can do at home. Four weeks later the patient is re-tested to track improvement.
This diagnostic test is reimbursable by all insurance types with well-established CPT codes. At $250 per test, one patient per day would add over $5,000 in additional revenues each month to the practice. Two patients per day would contribute over $120,000 annually to the practice’s bottom-line. In the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, Primary Care Physicians are required to screen for fall risk. When indicated, the Vestibular Autorotation Test meets the requirement for assessing fall risk and pays the physician for his services. Combined with the prescribed eye exercises, this test is a powerful tool for satisfying PQRS requirements and Meaningful Use.
This Fall Prevention solution is the answer to helping seniors avoid falling and provides the practice a considerable revenue stream.