Health Check

Holistic Health and Wellbeing - What does that mean?

Preventative health is a hot topic today and a big part of the Welltality mission. Preventative care is inclusive of health screenings, check-ups, or patient counseling and is a vital part of everyday health.  While traditional medicine is an essential component of health, there are also other areas to help foster wellbeing.

Unclaimed Annual Wellness Dollars

Recent Article Review From MedPage Today: January 1st 2011 primary care providers celebrated the victory of better Medicare payments with the introduction of 3 new billing codes! The codes were to encompass Medicare Part B beneficiaries and represented 33 M people, all who were going to have free access to “annual wellness” by their provider. Every beneficiary was given the opportunity to spend valuable time with a healthcare professional to discuss their history, review screenings, immunizations, cognitive and physical abilities, risk for falls, and needed tests or screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.  The patient would receive extra time and attention around their health and be provided a personalized prevention plan or an “action plan”. Not to mention this program represents billions of dollars that patients couldn’t bill for previously. Patient engagement, participation and action coupled with revenue for primary care doctors seemed like a very positive equation. However, due to physician bandwidth and patient awareness, less than 20% of recipients have participated as late as 2018. While the numbers are slowly rising, it’s obvious that physicians need help in getting these valuable visits done. While the incentives are great between collecting needed quality measures, traditional reimbursement, and most importantly having a healthier patient population, physicians should consider outsourcing components of this wonderful opportunity. Whether it’s licensing software or hiring a patient engagement team, thousands of PCP have found their way and have seen their patient utilization climb north of 80%.

Preventative Health Making An Impact On Medicaid Spend

A Recent Harvard Article: There is a great deal of conversation around preventative health and the impact it can have on the rising healthcare costs in the United States.  Providers and patients alike, debate both sides of the equation. One thought that has circulated: while prevention may delay death, it doesn’t reduce costs in the long run. However, many passionately argue that with early patient engagement and education, people will avoid unnecessary illness or heal faster. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to highlight one’s point on either side of the discussion. However, David Cutler, an Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied economics, and his team were able to prove that prevention is making a great impact financially on healthcare spending. In a comparison of 1995 to 2012, he shows a reduction on average of $3,000 per person. Looking at the whole Medicare population, the numbers add up to an impressive $120 B. Cutler urges that there is still a lot of runway in prevention and specific disease states need more attention, and that preventative efforts would be even more effective on the pre-elderly population.

How Mindfulness Keeps You Healthy

Thanksgiving is coming and provides a gentle reminder that there is no better time to be ‘mindful’ of how gratitude can have a positive impact on health. “Mindfully focusing on wellness in our lives builds resilience and enables us to thrive amidst life’s challenges.” Wellness is an all-encompassing process that benefits the small and large parts of our health. Mindfulness and mental wellness go hand in hand, as many of the tenants of mental care require focused attention on building healthy habits. The three main areas in which mental wellness is achieved are spiritual, emotional, and intellectual. 

Tips To Prevent Emotions From Taking A Toll On Your Health

October is a month filled with horror films and spooky events focused on scaring the public; mass media targeting emotions and the onslaught of research showing that technology correlates to increased anxiety and depression. As we continue to discuss the six dimensions of wellness, the second area of mental wellness is emotional wellbeing.  Emotional wellbeing focuses on our feelings; how we form them, accept them, control them, and learn from them. Throughout the journey of life, we experience a wide variety of emotions, from resentment to sheer joy and everything in between. This is essential to mental development and contributes to our overall outlook on life. 

Is Your Job Making You Sick?

Has your job ever made you sick? Occupational Wellness is an often overlooked aspect of one’s health. There are many factors that can influence holistic wellbeing, all typically reducing back to stress, but one’s profession can be the most dominant factor if it is not kept in check.  

Tips For Staying Healthy With Financial Wellness

Have you ever thought about the 6 Dimensions of Health and Wellness? How your money can impact your health? Financial Health may add to that dimension as one of the '7' Dimensions of Health and Wellness.  The current state of personal finances, financial health is typically measured by one’s spending history, savings, and credit standing. Financial health is important since it affects every aspect of daily life; and as such, it can have a very strong impact on one’s well being. 

Good financial health is achieved by people who make their credit payments on time, manage money well, and contribute regularly to their savings. When you are in good financial health you are able to stretch your income and take advantage of investment opportunities. However, when in bad financial health, your debts overtake your savings and planning for the future can be difficult. 

This is all extremely important to your psychological and physical well being because it can trigger enormous stress. A person in bad financial health experiences significantly more stress than normal. According to the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey, 62 percent of the nation reported being stressed about money as opposed to other areas of their lives. Of course this, in turn, weighs on mental health and stability, and can easily cause biological issues. Migraines, cardiovascular disease, and insomnia have all been linked to financial stress specifically. “Financial stress can be one of the most difficult kinds of stresses, particularly because people can adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms as a result,” says Nancy Molitor, behavioral sciences professor at Northwestern University. 

To stop this cycle, small self-care steps must be taken. First, you must take a breathe and commit to changing your lifestyle to a healthier and happier one. 

Dr. Molitor coined these four recommendations - the easiest way to get financial and physical health back on track. First, assess your situation; identify what habits drove you to this point. By doing so, you can recognize what specifics behaviors need to be changed! Then, determine your financial purpose, and analyze your relationship with money. This means figure out what your reason for working hard is. Do you do it to be able to provide for your family? Or because you want to be able to search for luxury? Ultimately the goal is to see that money does not bring you happiness, but your responsibility with it does. Also, ask for help and do research. We are not all accountants, but it might help to start to think like one! Finally, make a budget and stick to it. A plan of action is important in preparing for the future. 

Staying informed about your health, and taking the proper steps to stay on top of it is crucial to wellbeing and an important part of the dimensions of wellness. Visit our Instagram and Facebook for more tips and tricks to taking care of your mind and body! 


Staying Healthy With Seven (Not Six) Dimensions of Wellness

Many times when we think of wellness, we tend to focus on health issues but there are many factors that impact our health and wellbeing.  The National Wellness Institute promotes Six dimensions of wellness which build a holistic approach to living.  Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute developed the Six Dimensions. 

Wellness has long been studied and has many different definitions.  However, there is a common consensus that Wellness is ‘a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential, multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment and is positive and affirming’.  The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”  The Six Dimensions include emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. However, at Welltality, we believe there is a seventh dimension which also influences health and wellbeing - financial.  Over the next few months, we will address the seven Dimensions of Wellness to help provide further insight into the interconnectedness of each dimension and how they all contribute to overall health and wellbeing.  

The National Wellness Institute developed three questions that can help evaluate wellness initiatives.  When evaluating programs for your health, ask yourself - Does this help me achieve my full potential? Does this recognize my whole person? And Does this promote positive qualities and strengths?

Applying a wellness approach can be beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.  For more information on how you can take a proactive stance for your health, Welltality works directly with providers to create healthy initiatives at little to no cost to you.