To evaluate the relationship between direct cognitive assessment introduced with the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) and new diagnoses of dementia, and to determine if effects vary by race.
Medicare Limited Data Set 5% sample claims 2003‐2014 and the HRSA Area Health Resources Files.
Instrumental Variable approach estimating the relationship between AWV utilization and new diagnoses of dementia using county‐level Welcome to Medicare Visit rates as an instrument.
Three hundred twenty‐four thousand three hundred and eighty‐five fee‐for‐service Medicare beneficiaries without dementia when the AWV was introduced in 2011.
Annual Wellness Visit utilization was associated with an increased probability of new dementia diagnosis with effects varying by racial group (categorized as white, black, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian based on Social Security Administration data). Hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for new dementia diagnosis within 6 months of AWV utilization were as follows: 2.34 (2.13, 2.58) white, 2.22 (1.71, 2.89) black, 4.82 (2.94, 7.89) Asian, and 6.14 (3.70, 10.19) Hispanic (< .001 for each). Our findings show that estimates that do not control for selection underestimate the effect of AWV on new diagnoses.
Dementia diagnosis rates increased with AWV implementation with heterogenous effects by race and ethnicity. Current recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force state that the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against screening for cognitive impairment in older adults.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods