Beth Grivett, lead physician assistant at Premier Physicians Medical Group in Laguna Niguel, which has 12 locations and one free-standing urgent care clinic in Orange County, said the group has found that their team-based approach that puts physician assistants in charge of preventive care for seniors builds trust with patients and helps physicians.
This approach not only frees up time for physicians to serve patients with medical problems, it also helps prevent medical problems from occurring in the first place, according to Grivett.
She said the group’s new team-based approach where physician assistants are replacing physicians for senior wellness visits, which is a preventive and covered service free of charge for the elderly, has been well received thus far.
“Our Medicare recipients weren’t used to having preventive services being covered,” Grivett said. “They were skeptical about what we were up to and why the care was free.” With all the healthcare changes going on, the physician assistants and other staff members can also play a vital role in educating seniors about the importance of preventive care.
At Premier one trained staff member reads from a script to help educate seniors and to encourage them to come in for their annual free wellness exam.
“The patients get a lot of one-on-one time with providers that can explain what tests are being done and why, which patients appreciate,” said Grivett.
Grivett created a complete annual wellness program for seniors, set up the procedures for billing and coding, made sure that the electronic medical record system was able to capture all the information and educated other team members on the new codes.
“All of these tasks will ultimately help physicians save time and dollars,” according to Grivett.
Premier has 100 providers, including 20 physician assistants and nurse practitioners.